Leitrim rally to crush Louth
Leitrim 0-25 Louth 1-12
Emlyn Mulligan delivered a masterclass to bring Leitrim only the third qualifier victory in their history as Louth were put to the sword in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Brendan McGuckian's men thoroughly deserved of their massive ten-point victory, having controlled the second half. Louth finished the game with 12 men.
Pete McGrath's team had James Craven shown a straight red card in the first half but they still led by 1-7 to 0-9 at half-time before they collapsed after the break.
Louth's goal came after just three minutes when Conor Grimes capitalised on an error from Leitrim goalkeeper Diarmuid McKiernan. His pass set up Woods, who finished to the top corner of the net.
Ciarán Downey added to their advantage before Ryan O'Rourke scored Leitrim's first point with a booming effort in the fourth minute.
Louth dominated the physical exchanges early on, and Leitrim's cause wasn't helped when full-back Alan Armstrong was shown a black card for a trip on Tommy Durnin in the eighth minute.
Woods (free) and Declan Byrne added a couple of points and Louth were 1-4 to 0-2 ahead, but then they began to waste chances. Louth had tallied six wides by the 20-minute mark, and that kept their opponents in the game.
It took a heroic block from Derek Maguire to deny Darragh Rooney a shot on goal in the 19th minute, and when the ball went up the other end Grimes came within inches of tapping a Downey delivery to the net.
Brendan Gallagher reduced the deficit to 1-5 to 0-4 in the 24th minute and Ronan Holcroft was black-carded moments after Woods hit the post with another goal chance.
Leitrim had lived on the edge but when Craven saw red for an apparent head-butt on Damien Moran, the home side rallied.
And two massive points from Mulligan before half-time meant the home side only trailed by one point at the interval.
Leitrim came out with all guns blazing in the early evening sun at the start of the second half. They were simply awesome as they kept Louth scoreless until the 50th minute. In the meantime the hosts rattled off six points, with Mulligan leading the charge.
Woods finally scored from a free but it was a brief reprieve with two points from Moran, and a Heslin effort giving Leitrim a 0-18 to 1-8 lead.
Mulligan got a black card with 11 minutes remaining but Leitrim pushed on, as Bevan Duffy and Emmet Carolan got black late on for Louth. James Rooney also got black deep in injury-time.
Scorers - Leitrim: E Mulligan (3f), D Moran 0-6 each, J Heslin, D Rooney, R O'Rourke (1f) 0-3 each, D Wrynn, B Gallagher, D McGovern, D Flynn 0-1 each; Louth: W Woods 1-7 (0-5f, 0-1 '45'), D Byrne 0-3, T Durnin, C Downey 0-1 each.
Leitrim: D McKiernan; P Maguire, A Armstrong, M McWeeney; J Rooney, S Quinn, N Plunkett; D Moran, D Wyrnn; D Rooney, J Heslin, A Flynn; R O'Rourke, E Mulligan, B Gallagher. Subs: J Mitchell for Armstrong (9 BC), D McGovern for A Flynn (45), C McGloin for Gallagher (46), E Ward for Rooney (57), D Flynn for Mulligan (61 BC), N McWeeney for Wrynn (67).
Louth: N Gallagher; D Marks, E Carolan, J Craven; D Maguire, B Duffy, A Williams; A McDonnell, T Durnin; C Downey, D Byrne, G McSorley; W Woods, C Grimes, R Holcroft. Subs: R Burns for Holcroft (27 BC), N Conlon for McSorley (44), H Osborne for Marks (53), J McEneaney for Byrne (63), E Lafferty for Williams (70).
Referee: Nl Mooney (Cavan).
Sunday Indo Sport