Aidan O’Rourke’s Louth team fell to a four point defeat to All Ireland champions Dublin in Parnell Park this evening in the second game of the O’Byrne Cup - Dublin 2-6, Louth 0-8.
The loss means the Reds will finish their O’Byrne Cup journey in the final group game against Westmeath on Sunday afternoon in Drogheda.
An astute change from Dublin manager Jim Gavin was the key to finishing of Louth in the second half when Daniel Watson came on along the Dubs forward line and hammered home 2-1.
WIth the weather less than sympathetic the All Ireland champions hit the front eventually after 15 minutes through a point from Jason Whelan. As this wet encounter continued, the greasy surface and slippy ball left it difficult for any passes to be completed.
As the wide total for both sides increased, it looked unlikely that another breakthrough would arrive, however with four minutes to go to the interval, Brian White converted a free from 40 metres out to level the clash and then Derek Crilly hit a splendid longe range effort over the Dubs bar to push the Wee County into the lead.
With the last moments of the half draining away, Liam Shevlin surged down the left flank and cut in past his marker to set up a tight one-on-one chance with the home keeper Sean Currie. With the goal at his mercy Shevlin decided to fist over the bar to hand the Reds a two point half time lead.
The second half was a much more lively affair with Brian White giving Louth a three point lead when he clipped over a free in the very first minute.
Gavin’s Dublin side replied three minutes later when Shane Martin cut in from the right and split the Louth posts.
It was White again who re-established the Reds three point lead with a point in the 49th minute.
Yet the home side kept in touch thanks to a point from Paul Hudson. He hit another just three minutes later to leave the home side trailing by just one.
Then on came Daniel Watson who closed out the win for the Dubs with his two goals. Louth did score three on the bounce thanks to Derek Crilly, Declan Byrne and the impressive Stephen Campbell, with five minutes to go, but Watson’s second goal in the dying moments ended any chance of a Red revival.
LOUTH: Shane McCoy; Padraid Rath, Dessie Finnegan, Keith McLaughlin; Derek Crilly, Gary COnnolly, Darren O’Hanlon; Padraig Keenan, Robert Brodigan; Declan Byrne, Brian White, Bevan Duffy; Liam SHevlin, Kevin Rogers, Stephen Campbell.
DUBLIN: Sean Currie; Darragh Nelson, Sean George, Michael Fitzsimons; Chris Guckian, Bryan Cullen, Kevin Nolan; Declan O’Mahony, SHane Martin; Conor Walsh, Philly McMahon, Jason Whelan; Paul Hudson, Kevin McMeniman, Gary Sweeney.