Late goal blitz powers Louth to glory
Louth 4-15 Sligo 4-11
Louth overturned a 10-point deficit in a dramatic conclusion to stun Sligo and claim Lory Meagher Cup honours.
The game yielded four goals in the last four minutes, including three from the Louth, to cement a remarkable turnaround.
"There's heart in these lads that no-one knows" said victorious manager, Diarmuid McCarthy.
"It's not easy being a hurler from Louth, it's not easy being a hurler from Sligo. They've a lot to put up with.
"There's been great support from the county board and you saw what those lads can too when they're given the big stage and the opportunity. They're a credit to the county and themselves."
Sligo raced into an early three-point lead with dual player, Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch and Sean Kenny threatening, while Louth shot three early wides before Diarmuid Murphy got them off the mark from a free.
There was no shortage of opportunities for McCarthy's men but their shooting was dreadful, though Liam Dwan was desperately unlucky to see his rasper rebound off the crossbar.
O'Kelly-Lynch punished the profligacy, first with a point and then a wonderful 25th-minute goal to put clear daylight between the sides.
Kevin Gilmartin and Matthew Davey added goals to made it 3-6 to 0-5 at the interval, with Louth ruing their 10 wides in that opening period.
They managed to be more economical in the second half and Mackin scored a brilliant point after a scorching run, before setting up Dwan for another outstanding effort.
Murphy's accuracy from placed balls reduced the margin to six and when another sub, Seaghan Connelly, goaled with under nine minutes remaining, the momentum was with the Leinster side.
Two points from Murphy made it a one-point game but after a Kenny point stopped the rot, O'Kelly- Lynch pounced for his second goal three minutes from time to apparently put Sligo out of sight.
Dwan goaled from a 20-metre free within seconds to set up a remarkable finish and there was still time for Mackin and Shane Callan to raise green flags to confirm an amazing comeback.
Scorers - Louth: D Murphy 0-7(5fs, 2 '65s); L Dwan 1-4 (1-2f); A Mackin 1-2; S Callan, S Connelly 1-1 each. Sligo: G O'Kelly-Lynch 2-2; B O'Loughlin, S Kenny (1f) 0-3 each; K Gilmartin, M Davey 1-0 each; K Raymond 0-2(1f); R Cox 0-1.
Louth - J Connolly; C Matthews, B Minogue, M Wallace; M Lyons, R Maher, A McCrave; D O'Hanrahan, S Callan; G Smith, N Stanley, D Kettle; D Murphy, L Dwan, P Lynch. Subs: N Cafferkey for Matthews (28), A Mackin for Smith (h-t), S Connelly for O'Hanrahan inj (44).
Sligo - N McGrath; R Redmond, J Kenny, G Feely; E Comerford, C Behan, L Reidy; R Cox, K Raymond; K Gilmartin, G O'Kelly-Lynch, B O'Loughlin; M Davey, C Brennan, S Kenny. Subs: F Cretaro for Gilmartin (63), M Gilmartin for Davey (67).
Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath)