Sport Hurling

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Late flurry from Louth pips Orchard County

ORLA BANNON

Three injury-time points helped Louth snatch victory in the most dramatic of circumstances.

ARMAGH 1-10

Three injury-time points helped Louth snatch victory in the most dramatic of circumstances.

The sides were level nine times in the Athletic Grounds and when Brian White, who missed a penalty in the 63rd minute, converted a free in the first minute of stoppage-time this Division 2 tie looked like a certain draw. However, substitute Ciaran Byrne and Shane Lennon tagged on late points to put Louth in a strong position in the table.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men in the second half and Armagh actually finished with 13 men when James Lavery hobbled off two minutes from the end – the hosts had used all five substitutes by then.

The sides were level three times in the opening quarter. Derek Crilly's 20th-minute point put Louth ahead after Adrian Reid, Lennon and Brian Donnelly had scored from play for the Wee County.

Armagh wasted a lot of chances early on and hit six wides in the first half. Louth made Armagh pay for their wastefulness when Reid drilled home the opening goal after 23 minutes to put Louth 1-4 to 0-3 ahead.

Armagh responded with a goal from Tony Kernan three minutes later.

Points from Gavin McParland and Caolan Rafferty, plus a superbly struck '45' from White, saw the sides go in level 1-5 apiece at the break.

Darren Clarke had a quiet night and was replaced early in the second half at a stage when the visitors struggled for scores.

His replacement, Derek Maguire, scored a spectacular point within a minute of coming on.

Armagh were reduced to 14 men after 46 minutes when James Donnelly was sent off for a second yellow-card offence against Kevin Rogers when the sides were level at 1-6 each.

The home side responded by opening up a two-point lead with scores from Stephen Harold and Stefan Forker, before the latter was surprisingly taken off.

In keeping with the pattern of the game, Louth hit back with two points to level it up at 1-9 apiece after 53 minutes.

White missed a penalty for Louth seven minutes from the end. He went for power but his shot was well wide of the keeper's right-hand post.

Things got worse for Louth when Gerard Hoey was sent off for a second booking in the 66th minute, but the Wee County finished in style to rock Armagh.

Scorers – Louth: A Reid 1-1, B White (1f, 1 '45') 0-3, K Rogers, S Lennon 0-2 each, D Crilly, B Donnelly, D Maguire 0-1 each. Armagh: T Kernan 1-0, G McParland 0-3 (2f), S Forker, S Harold 0-2 each, S Campbell, C Rafferty, D McKenna 0-1 each.

Louth: N Gallagher; C McGuinness, D Finnegan, G Hoey; P Rath, D Crilly, A Reid; R Carroll, B Donnelly; A McDonnell, M Brennan, B White; D Clarke, S Lennon, K Rogers. Subs: D Maguire for Clarke (41), J McEneaney for McGuinness (51), C Byrne for Rogers (61).

Armagh: P McEvoy; J Morgan, B Donaghy, J Donnelly; F Moriarty, D McKenna, A Duffy; J Lavery, S Harold; C Rafferty, J Hanratty, S Campbell; T Kernan, S Forker, G McParland Subs: M Shields for Morgan (31), B Loughran for Duffy (46), B Mallon for Forker (49), K Toner for Hanratty (58), S Clarke for Campbell (64).

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)

Irish Independent

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