LONDON 5-8 LOUTH 1-5 Seán Fay Nicky Rackard Cup Final HURLING in London received a massive boost at Croke Park yesterday as the exiles comfortably disposed of Louth to become the first winners of the Nicky Rackard Cup.
Despite Louth getting the opening two scores of the game, the first of which came from Gerard Smith after only 13 seconds, London soon asserted themselves.
They shot five wides in the first six minutes before Michael Harding finally put them on the board from a 65.
However, in the 14th minute the exiles rocked Louth with two goals in a minute, to surge into a 2-2 to 0-2 lead.
The first goal came when Barry Shorthall caught Brian Foley's sideline cut before running and finishing unchallenged, and that was followed by a Kevin McMullan tap-in after Louth 'keeper Stephen Smith failed to deal with Jim Ryan's long ball.
The rest of the half was a somewhat scrappy affair, but Louth at least managed to remain competitive, as London went in at the break leading 2-4 to 0-5.
The first 18 minutes of the second half yielded just one point from Dave Bourke.
Gerard Smith seemed to throw the game wide open again when he netted a scrappy effort for Louth, but it proved to be a false dawn as London knocked in three goals before the end, from Kevin McMullan, Sean Quinn and Bourke.
SCORERS - London: K McMullan 2-1, D Bourke 1-4 (0-2f, 0-1 '65') 1-4, B Shortall 1-0, S Quinn 1-0, M Harding ('65'), B Foley, M O'Meara 0-1 each. Louth: G Smith 1-2 (0-1 '65'), N McEneaney, D Dunne, S Callan 0-1 each.
LONDON - JJ Burke; E Phelan, T Simms, B Forde; J Dillon, F McMahon, B Foley; M Harding, M O'Meara; D Smyth, J Ryan, J McGaughan; D Bourke, B Shortall, K McMullan. Subs: G Fenton for O'Meara 35, E Kinlon for Smyth 45, S Quinn for Shorthall 54, P Doyle for Phelan 67, P Finnegan for McMullan 69.
LOUTH - S Smith; D Black, A Carter, S Darcy; D Mulholland, P Dunne, R Byrne; D McCarthy, S Callan; T Hilliard, J Carter, D Byrne; G Smith, D Dunne, N McEneaney. Subs: S Conroy for Black 40, G Collins for R Byrne 45, S Byrne for J Carter 52, A Mynes for McEneaney 64, N Byrne for Darcy 71.
REF - T Mahon (Fermanagh).