The Louth Hurlers had not lifted a national crown since 2008 when they lined out against Sligo for the 2016 Lory Meagher Cup final in June of that year.
Dee McCarthy’s troops had beaten their opponents by four points in the group stage and having topped the five team group which also featured Leitrim, Lancashire and Warwickshire there was much expectation they would finally lift the trophy first introduced by the GAA in 2009.
However, their Connacht opponents were also hungry to bring back the trophy to the Yeats county for the first time and came out all guns blazing with three first half goals seemingly putting the tie beyond Louth who were now 3-6 to 0-5 behind.
But there was plenty of fight left in the men in red and despite trailing by 11 points with 18 minutes to play, the introduction of influential substitutes Andrew Mackin and Seaghan Connelly who combined for 2-2 helped the Wee County produce a remarkable final quarter comeback.
An explosive end to the game saw Louth bag three goals in three minutes courtesy of Mackin, Shane Callen and Liam Dwan to win by 4-15 to 4-11 thus sealing the county’s first piece of hurling silverware collected at Croke Park having won their two National League titles away from HQ.
Speaking to the Democrat following the game, the jubilant manager was keen to praise his players who seemed to get the most out of a passionate half time pep talk.
“We never doubted the players and we believed that they could turn it around because there is great spirit in the group and they showed that along with great heart to turn it around and win it.”
A week later more success came when Louth ended the year with promotion to The Nicky Rackard Cup for 2017 following a routing of Fermanagh, before McCarthy later stepped down as manager of the Senior Hurlers following a successful three years in charge.