Wednesday 21 February 2018

Kelly: Louth 'crying out' for two-tier championship

Tipperary 3-21 Louth 0-7

Tipperary’s Ger Mulhair has his effort blocked down by Louth’s Pádraig Rath during Saturday’s qualifier
Tipperary’s Ger Mulhair has his effort blocked down by Louth’s Pádraig Rath during Saturday’s qualifier

Jackie Cahill

Louth boss Colin Kelly is backing calls for a two-tier championship following his side's 23-point mauling against Tipperary at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

Kelly described his side's display as "awful" as the Wee County bowed out in alarming fashion in Thurles.

They managed just one second-half point, had Eoghan Lafferty dismissed with a black-card and let in a horribly soft goal to cap a miserable afternoon.

Tipp won at their ease, with 12 players on the scoresheet, to bounce back from their six-point defeat to Kerry in the Munster semi-final.

This morning, Tipp will learn their round 3B opponents as manager Peter Creedon hopes for a home draw next Saturday.

In two of the previous three seasons, Tipp have reached the last 12 of the All-Ireland series and while a repeat performance is not beyond the bounds of possibility, they'll meet infinitely better opposition next weekend.


Creedon is planning without George Hannigan, who's ruled out for the remainder of the season, and midfield sidekick Steven O'Brien, who could be out for another three weeks with a hamstring injury.

For Louth, it's back to the drawing board and this one was done and dusted at half-time, with Tipp 2-10 to 0-6 clear.

First-half goals from Ger Mulhair and Conor Sweeney (penalty) helped to establish a ten-point interval lead before Colin O'Riordan's speculative long-range effort in the 40th minute was fumbled into his own net by Louth goalkeeper Craig Lynch.

Kelly reflected: "It's the same old story. We make those errors and mistakes all the time. We were awful today."

Kelly was reminded that it's just five years since Louth were denied a Leinster title by that controversial Joe Sheridan goal against Meath.

But he countered: "(That was) with a different set of players. Twenty years ago we had a different set of players.

"Kerry won All-Irelands in the 80s, so you can't compare five years ago. It's just not comparable. We had nine debutants this year and every young guy that comes into the team is facing a torrid time."

Kelly indicated that he wishes to continue in the role, having come through a difficult first season: "I was given a three-year term, why would I think about walking away?"

But this was abject stuff from Louth, who scored 0-16 against Westmeath and a healthy 1-17 in their previous qualifier victory over Leitrim.

He added: "It's an awful performance but it's not something we're new to - that's the frightening thing. We're crying out at length for a two-tier championship."

Despite the margin of victory Creedon was well aware Saturday's performance won't be enough the next day.

"Louth weren't good on the day and we were no world beaters either. We'll have to improve," the Tipp boss insisted.

Scorers - Tipperary: K O'Halloran 0-7 (4f, 2 45s), C Sweeney 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), C O'Riordan 1-1, G Mulhair 1-0, P Acheson, M Quinlivan & P Austin 0-2 each, S Kennedy, L Casey, J Lonergan, B Fox & B Grogan (f) 0-1 each. Louth: D Byrne & R Burns (1f) 0-2 each, P Smith, C Judge (f) & R Holdcroft 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY - E Comerford 7; J Feehan 7, P Codd 7, C McDonald 7; S Kennedy 7, R Kiely 7, A Campbell 7; C O'Riordan 7, P Acheson 9; G Mulhair 7, C Sweeney 7, L Casey 7; K O'Halloran 7, P Austin 7, M Quinlivan 7. Subs: B Fox 7 for Mulhair (43), C O'Shaughnessy 7 for Kennedy (44), J Lonergan 7 for Casey (44), B Grogan 6 for Austin (57), A Morrissey 6 for Acheson (59), B Mulvihill 6 for Kiely (62).

LOUTH - C Lynch 5; P Rath 5, A Williams 5, D Finnegan 5; D Byrne 7, D O'Hanlon 5, A Reid 5; T Durnin 6, J Califf 5; B Duffy 5, P Smith 6, C McKeever 6; C Judge 6, R Holdcroft 6, R Burns 7. Subs: E O'Connor 6 for McKeever (24), C Grimes 6 for Judge (26), E Lafferty 3 for O'Hanlon (ht), J McEnaney 5 for Califf (43), D Maguire 5 for Holdcroft (44), D McComish 5 for Lafferty (b/c 51).

Ref - R Hickey (Clare)



Peter Acheson (Tipperary)

Named at centre back but operated at midfield, he kicked two points during the course of a hardworking display. Has emerged as a real leader on this Tipp team.


How bad were Louth? The Wee County were expected to provide stout resistance but sank without trace in an abysmal display.


Ger Mulhair’s early goal helped to erase the memories of his missed opportunity in the Munster semifinal against Kerry.


Competent display from Rory Hickey, who made the right call on the black card for Eoghan Lafferty.



Tipperary 10 (5)

Louth 14 (4)


Tipperary 22 (10)

Louth 15 (10)


Tipperary 0

Louth 1 (E Lafferty 51)


Tipperary 0

Louth 2 (T Durnin 28, D Magure, 69)


3,000 approx


Tipperary will learn their next qualifier opponents this morning. Louth’s season is over.

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