Sunday 18 March 2018

Nally the toast of Blues' cruise to title

N'Town Blues 2-10 Dundalk Gaels 0-5

Ugly scenes marred the game in Enniscorthy yesterday
Ugly scenes marred the game in Enniscorthy yesterday

Gavin McLaughlin

The Joe Ward trophy will take the familiar route back to Newfoundwell after Newtown Blues deservedly came out on top of yesterday's Louth football decider in Drogheda.

The Dundalk Gaels, making their first appearance in the showpiece for 25 years, were hoping to win Louth football's premier prize for the first time since 1952 but they never looked like toppling the Blues who tasted success yet again, this win their 21st in total.

Malachy O'Rourke's side will rue their performance.

They just didn't do themselves justice on the biggest stage, kicking five points over the hour, with only two of them coming from open play.

An Eanna McArdle free got the Gaels off the mark in the 17th minute but the Blues grabbed the first goal of the game a minute later to go 1-2 to 0-1 ahead after a well-worked effort.

Conor Moore started and finished the move, finding Fergal Donohue in a pocket of space before collecting the return pass.

His shot crashed off the underside of the bar with Donohue there to apply the finishing touch but the umpires ruled that the ball had crossed the line, Moore getting the credit for the major.

A Ciaran Downey point extended the Blues' advantage to five after two minutes of the restart and they moved further ahead in the 39th minute when Ross Nally's dropping shot from the right arrowed into Stephen Faulkner's net.

The Gaels looked lifeless in attack and McSorley put their first effort of the second-half - in the 43rd minute - past the posts, before Derek Crilly finally got them off the mark, his free having enough legs to carry over.

Barry Watters gave the Dundalk side side something to cheer when he cut in to grab their first score from open play in the 48th minute but another McSorley wide checked their momentum before a Nally free edged the Blues towards the line.

Nally, who scooped the Man of the Match award, kicked a sublime free out of his hands before Ciaran Downey's brace and another score from Nally sealed yet another Joe Ward for the Blues.

Scorers - Newtown Blues: R Nally 1-5 (4f); C Downey 0-3; C Moore 1-0; K Carr, R Carr 0-1 each. Dundalk Gaels: E McArdle 0-2 (2f); D Moloney, D Crilly (1f), B Watters 0-1 each.

Newtown Blues: J Lowney 7; C Reynolds 6, F Donohue 8, P Moore 7; K Carr 8, E Carolan 7, S Moonan 7; A McDonnell 7, J Kermode 8; C Branigan 7, C Judge 7, R Carr 7; C Downey 8, R Nally 9, C Moore 8. Subs: H McGinn 6 for C Brannigan 41; R Levins 6 For C Judge (BC) 54; C Lynch 6 for J Kermode 59.

Dundalk Gaels: S Faulkner 6; D McComish 7, J Faulkner 6, P McGinnity 6; O Murray 6, D Crilly 6, E Kenny 6; J Stewart 6, S McCann 6; D Moloney 6, S Murray 6, B Watters 6; E McArdle 6, G McSorley 7, C Sweeney 6. Subs: J Clarke 6 for E McArdle 40; E Boyle 6 for C Sweeney 50; G Fee 6 for E Kenny 60.

REF - D Fedigan (Hunterstown).

Irish Independent

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