Second-half penalty secures Louth win over Meath
Louth wins over Meath are as rare as hen's teeth, so this O'Byrne Cup victory in Pairc Tailteann yesterday for the Wee County by 1-9 to 0-10 was a welcome boost for all their supporters.
Louth were fully deserving of their win as they frustrated Meath in the second-half with Sam Mulroy's 47th minute penalty, after Eoin Lynch had fouled Tommy Durnin, proving to be the crucial score.
Both sides finished with 14 men after a brief skirmish in the 70th minute resulted in a black card to add to an earlier yellow for Meath's Jason Scully, while Louth's Paul Matthews picked up a second yellow for his involvement.
The early stages were typical preseason stuff with both managers giving youth its fling and offering opportunities to new players to stake claims ahead of the start of the National Leagues in January.
With scores hard to come by the teams shared the first six points with Jordan Morris (free), Scully and Bryan Menton having points cancelled out by scores from Louth's Durnin, Andrew Mooney and a free from Mulroy.
After Mulroy hit the post with a great goal chance Louth put two points between the sides for the first time with Mulroy (free) and Cathal Bellew on target. Darragh Campion pulled one back for the Royals with a point from a mark, but Mulroy converted a '45' to ensure a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead for the visitors.
After the break Mulroy forced debutante goalkeeper Dominic Yorke into a fine save before Meath replied with points from Mathew Costelloe (mark) and Jack O'Connor (free) to restore parity for the fifth time, 0-6 each.
Yorke did well to keep out a Gerry Garland shot and in the 43rd minute Meath went ahead again when Tomas O'Reilly pointed.
Liam Jackson made it 0-7 each 30seconds later and after Lynch fouled Durnin Mulroy made no mistake from the penalty spot to give Louth a bitof breathing space.
With their three-point cushion Louth dropped almost everyone into defence, but they still managed to stretch their lead with Matthew on target.
A point from a mark for Oisin o'Brien kept Meath in touch and when Costello added his second score with 10 minutes remaining it looked as if Meath might kick on.
However Louth defended well, restored their three-point lead with another Mulroy free and even though O'Reilly pointed for Meath after both sides were reduced to 14 players, time ran out as Louth held on.
Louth – F Sheekey; N Sharkey, D Corcoran, OMurray; L Jackson (0-1), C Bellew (0-1), A Mooney (0-1); T Durnin (0-1), C Early; M Corcoran, C McKeever, S Mulroy (1-4 1-0 penalty, three frees, one '45'); J Gallagher, C Grimes, D Byrne. Subs – P Matthews (0-1) for Grimes 8 mins, C Lynch for Sheekey half-time, G Garland for Gallagher half-time, D Campbell for Bellew 43m, J Murphy for M Corcoran 61m.
Meath – D Yorke; R Clarke, B Conlon, D Toner; G McCoy, E Lynch, S Reilly; B Menton (0-1), D Keogan; J O'Connor (0-1 free), D Campion (0-1 mark), J Scully (0-1); J Morris (0-1 free), T O'Reilly (0-2), M Costello (0-2 one mark). Subs - O O'Brien (0-1 mark) for Morris 48 mins, H Hogan for Yorke 53m, B Brennan for Reilly 55m, S Walsh for Conlon 61m, D Lenihan for Costello 74m.
Referee – G Hurley (Westmeath).
FULL MATCH REPORT AND REACTION FROM MEATH MANAGER ANDY MCENTEE IN TUESDAY'S MEATH CHRONICLE