Six years on from their last taste of silverware, Louth took on Donegal in the Division Two National League football final in Kingspan Breffni Park Cavan on the 30th April 2006.
The tie was a replay following a remarkable comeback from Donegal a week earlier, and The Wee County were keen not to let another large lead slip as they faced their northern opponents once more.
Mark Stanford was a key component to his side’s success, thriving around the middle and supplying good ball for the forwards to utilise throughout the contest while also scoring a crucial goal just before half time.
A Mark Brennan effort for a point would drop short allowing for an astute Stanford to be in the right place at the right time to bury the ball home past Paul Durcan to take a slim 1-6 to 1-5 lead into the half time break.
While their earlier meeting saw flowing football to the fore, poor conditions lead to a much more cynical contest with Donegal’s Paddy Campbell awarded a red by referee Marty Duffy who also ended up showing 11 yellow cards of which Louth accounted for seven.
Eamon McEneaney’s troops were less naïve than a week earlier and defended their lead by any means necessary, slowing down the game wherever possible to stop the Donegal attacks from deep resulting in 16 frees being conceded in the second half.
The dogged defending proved decisive as the men from Ulster failed to break down Louth like they had a week earlier when turning around a seven-point deficit, The Wee County rewarded for their efforts with the Division Two crown to go with promotion back to the top tier of football.
The two sides would have polar opposite campaigns in 2007, Donegal going on to lift the Division One title for the first time while Louth were staggeringly relegated back to Division Three due to finishing second bottom in their group and a rejigging to the league’s format for 2008.