John Furlong strikes late as Offaly deny Louth historic draw
Louth 0-10 Offaly 2-4
A late late goal for Offaly denied Louth a historic night in Stabannon as they looked set to pick up their first ever win at the under 20 grade.
All-Ireland winner John Furlong finished a goalmouth scramble with the final act to claim an unlikely point for the faithful. A 54th-minute goal from substitute Alex Egan set up the comeback after Louth led by six at one stage late on in a windy and rainy night.
In the first half, Louth pitched their full team behind the ball when facing into the wind and it suited them. Ironically Offaly had the gale at their back to took no advantage.
Harry Plunkett’s two frees provided some solace for the visitors but they looked limited going forward minus the 2021 All-Ireland winning forwards of the calibre of Cormac Egan and Keith O’Neill.
Louth countered well and were far more direct in their attacks. Pacy duo Kieran McArdle and Liam Flynn, who are eligible next season again, combined well to use their pace breaking out of defence and scoring.
Christy Grimes’ side had the further psychological boost of snatching the lead going into half time. Darragh Dorian found the range to make 0-3 to 0-2.
Upon the resumption it did not get any better for Ken Furlong’s men as McArdle added a clever mark and half backs Cameron Maher and Sean Reynolds stretched the hosts into a winning position only to succumb to the tardy drama
Louth: K McArdle 0-4 (1m, 3f), S Reynolds 0-2, C Maher, H Butterly, D Dorian and L Flynn 0-1 each.
Offaly: J Furlong and A Egan 1-0 each, H Plunkett 0-3 (3f), G O’Meara 0-1.
Offaly: D Dunican; D McDaid, D Finneran, D O’Neill; B Heffernan, C Ryan, L Bourke; J Furlong, H Plunkett; G O’Meara, N Furlong, P Robbins; D Byrne, S Conway, J Guing. SUBS: A Egan for N Furlong (43), S Finneran for Byrne (47), L Kelly for Guing (47), T Hyland for D O’Neill (53), C Murphy for Heffernan (71).
Louth: J Finlay; M Holohan, B Corrigan, F Tipping; C Maher, S Reynolds, T McDonnell; D McDonnell, S Callaghan; J Rogers, K McArdle, L Flynn; H Butterly, T Mathews, D Dorian. SUBS: K McElroy for C Maher (Blood 20-29), McElroy for Flynn ( Blood 41-43), B Gartlan for Rogers (59).
REF: P Coyle (Meath)