Thursday 18 January 2018

Late Louth blitz books the Wee County a Leinster quarter-final date with the Royals

Louth 2-24 Carlow 3-11

Darragh Small

Ryan Burns scored 1-7 as his reputation continued to grow as Louth began their campaign with a win, a result that resigned Carlow to their fifth successive Leinster SFC first round exit, at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

Louth were raging hot favourites, they had put 2-17 past Carlow in a 13-point win at Dr Cullen Park in their Allianz League clash in Marc, and they are the Division 4 champions.

Carlow were looking for their first win in Leinster since they beat Louth in 2011, and went on to contest their first provincial semi-final since 1957.

But it’s Louth who go on to meet Meath in the quarter-final and they will seek revenge for their controversial defeat in the 2010 decider, however they haven’t managed a championship win against them since 1975.

Anthony Williams scored Louth’s other goal – Chris Blake, Darragh O’Brien and Paul Broderick all hit the net for Carlow but they were way off the mark at the end.

Louth were 0-11 to 0-6 up at half-time after a brilliant first-half as they both teams attacked at will, and kicked some fine scores from distance.

Carlow scored after 16 seconds, when midfielder Sean Gannon scored a massive point to give them a much needed boost right at the start of the game.

Confidence was high in the Louth camp, not only did they hammer Carlow, but after their league final win over Antrim they resembled a different side to the one who Tipperary beat by 23 points in the qualifiers last year.

James Califf got Louth back level and the never looked back from there as Ryan Bruns – who scored 1-22 in their Division 4 campaign – pointed a free and they took the lead for the first time after the eight minutes.

And Louth wouldn’t lose that lead in the opening half and after 11 minutes they extended it to 0-5 to 0-1, with points from Declan Byrne, Derek Maguire and Jim McEneaney.

But their defence was under constant threat from an aerial bombardment by the Carlow midfield, who pin-pointed Louth’s weakness and landed a number high balls in on top of the full-back line, but Louth held firm in the first-half.

The teams traded scores before Brendan Murphy’s point meant that Carlow were 0-7 to 0-5 in arrears by the 24th minute.

But Louth seemed to have more in reserve, and there forwards showed their free-scoring threat again with four points in a row before Darragh Foley responded with a consolation before half-time.

Burns kicked his second free, while McEneaney kicked two more wonderful points and Califf’s second ensured they held a commanding half-time lead.

Carlow got the perfect start to the second-half when Foley scored a free and then Blake fisted home their goal.

But Burns steadied things for Louth again and James Califf pushed them further ahead again. They were 0-16 to 1-8 up before O’Brien began another fight back with his goal in the 49th minute but it wasn’t enough.

Burns goaled late on, Williams added to that, and Broderick’s penalty was a consolation when Darran McMahon was black-carded.

Scorers – Louth: R Burns 1-7 (0-5f), J Califf 0-5 (0-3f), A Williams 1-0, J McEneaney 0-3, D Byrne 0-2, D Maguire 0-2, C Grimes 0-2, G McSorley 0-1, J Stewart 0-1, R Holdcroft 0-1.

Carlow: D Foley 0-5 (0-5f), P Broderick 1-1 (0-1f, 1-0 pen), D O’Brien 1-0, C Blake 1-0, B Murphy 0-2, S Gannon 0-1, B Kavanagh 0-1, J Murphy 0-1.

Louth – C Lynch; K Toner, P Reilly, P Rath; D Maguire, D McMahon, A Williams; J Stewart, J Califf; D Byrne, J McEneaney, C McKeever; R Burns, C Grimes, B Duffy.

Subs: R Moore for Duffy (45), G McSorley for McKeever (65), R Holdcroft for McEneaney (73)

Carlow – R Molloy; B Kavanagh, D St Ledger, K Nolan; H Gahan, J Murphy, G Kelly; B Murphy, S Gannon; D Lunney, D O’Brien, A Kelly; P Broderick, D Foley, C Blake.

Subs: B Murphy for Lunney (49), G Power for J Murphy (59), D Smithers for Blake (70), E Finnegan for Kelly (70)

Ref – Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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