02 Oct 2022

Ruthless Louth Hurlers begin championship with emphatic victory

Louth Hurlers cruelly denied a win over highly fancied Armagh outfit



After a disappointing league campaign it was important that the Louth hurlers opened their Lory Meagher Cup campaign with a morale boosting victory. 

That desired victory was achieved in some style when they had 20 points to spare against Lancashire at the Abbotstown Gaa Centre on Sunday afternoon. 

It will have pleased manager Paul McCormack and his selectors to open the group with the win and they will be looking to add to it next Sunday when they have home advantage in Darver against neighbours Monaghan. 

Such a comfortable victory was not the likely outcome at the end of a poor opening half as Louth needed a couple of late scores to go in level at the break. They struggled against the breeze, over played the sliotar all too often as their short passing game broke down time and time again.

A change of attitude and style of play was required in the second half and they duly delivered. No fewer than 12 different players contributed scores, the highlights being the long range points scored by the half back trio of Liam Molloy, Conor Quigley and Jamie McDonnell.

Midfielder and captain Feidhelm Joyce also played his part in accounting for five points in total, two in the opening half, to lead by example. Seaghan Conneely opened the scoring for the Wee County from play before Simon Holland replied for the exiles at the other end.

Benefiting from the continued absence through injury of club mate Darren Geoghegan, Wexford native Mark Gahan then grabbed a brace of points, the first of them from a free.

Goalkeeper Ruairi Morrissey sadly gifted Lancashire the game’s opening goal on nine minutes when his poor clearance found David Burke, who forced a good save from the keeper only for Danny Connolly to fire home the rebound.

The sides shared the next two points with Holland's second point of the half putting his side two in front on 18 minutes. A good point from play from out on the right wing from Gahan and another from Niall Keenan tied up matters. 

Gahan was on target again from a free to put them in front, but that lead was short lived thanks to three successive points from the stick of Danny Connolly.

A welcome late brace of points from Jamie McDonnell and Feidhelm Joyce ensured that Louth would go in at the break on level terms, 0-9 to 1-6.

Aided by the breeze Louth showed early intent with points from Joyce and Keenan, before Paul Matthews set up his St Fechins clubmate Sean Kerrisk for their opening goal. Further points from Gahan (3), Liam Molloy and Seanie Crosbie had their side now in front by 1-16 to 1-7 on 50 minutes.

Kevin Fennelly responded with a point for the exiles before Paul Matthews effectively secured the win when he volleyed home goal number two from close range. 

The closing quarter was shooting practice for the eventual winners as they added 11 further points, the pleasing aspect being that ten of them came from open play.  Feidhelm Joyce took his tally to five with substitutes Conor Deane and Padraig Fallon also finding the target.

The aforementioned Deane will play no further part in the county's campaign as the Knockbridge man leaves for Australia this week. With this victory safely tucked away, some tougher tasks now lie ahead for this Louth team, starting with Monaghan this Sunday afternoon.

LOUTH: Ruairi Morrissey; Danny Morgan, Donal Ryan, Adam Plunkett; Liam Molloy (0-2), Conor Quigley (0-1), Jamie McDonnell (0-2); Seanie Crosbie (0-1), Feidhelm Joyce (0-5); Peter Fortune, Niall Keenan (0-3), Seaghan Conneely (0-2); Paul Mathews (1-0), Andrew Mackin, Mark Gahan (0-7, 0-4 frees). Subs: Sean Kerrisk (1-2, 0-1 free) for Mackin (20), Conor Deane (0-1) for Fortune (45), Padraig Fallon (0-1) for Gahan (52), Matthew Fee for McDonnell (58), Gareth Hall for Mathews (58).

LANCASHIRE: Darren Cusack; Shane Maloney, Kevin Fennelly (0-1), Brian Slattery; David Power, Greg Jacob, Phil Shine; Stephen Duncan, Shane Nugent (0-2); Eoghan Kelly (0-1), David Burke, Darragh Carroll; Danny Connolly (1-4. 0-3 frees), Justin Cleese, Simon Holland (0-2). Subs: Jordan McAllister for Carroll (16), Mick Morgan for Holland (47), Liam Burns for Duncan (58), Simon Wallace for Nugent (58).

REFEREE: Kevin Parke (Antrim)

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