Allianz National Football League

Louth go down to third NFL defeat in Cork despite late fightback

Cork 2-11 Louth 0-10

Mark Woods - Cork Evening Echo

Reporter:

Mark Woods - Cork Evening Echo

Email:

sport@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Louth go down to third NFL defeat in Cork despite late fightback

Louth defender Anthony Williams. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)

Allianz National Football League

Cork 2-11 Louth 0-10

The final whistle brought welcome relief to all, apart from Louth, obviously, as Cork condemned the Wee County to a third straight defeat at Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday afternoon.

The weather captured the mood. At the start, day turned nearly to night as the famous old ground was hit by a massive sleet shower before staying dry again for a while.

But, there was no escape the biting cold all-through in near-Arctic conditions and another storm during the break kept the players, quite wisely, in their dressing rooms until it passed.

At that juncture, Cork, who had played with the wind from the throw-in, established a commanding 1-9 to 0-4 advantage and appeared to be on course for a routine victory.

Yet, we should have remembered Louth opening up the Cork defence on three occasions in the half as Ryan Burns, Bevan Duffy and Ciarán Downey warmed the hands of home 'keeper Ryan Price, who diverted the efforts away from the danger zone.

Still, Cork remained patient and in control of the ball as Louth parked the bus in front of their own posts, recalling right corner-forward Derek Maguire to act as sweeper .

But the Rebel County still possessed the answers to Louth's defensive set-up as they raced into a five-points to two lead by the 16th minute before they stretched further clear with their most productive patch of the outing. Seán White stretched the lead with an impressive point from distance before pouncing for the opening goal in the 22nd minute.

The move was typical of Cork’s approach play, slow, methodical and regularly switching the point of attack as Mark Collins played in White, who slotted home with a cool, low shot past Louth's busy custodian, Craig Lynch.

There was little to suggest from the visitors, who now look set to be one of the relegated teams at the end of the campaign, that they carried enough nous or scoring power to trouble Cork. And when Colm O’Neill opened the second-half scoring with a 43rd minute free, Cork’s lead had stretched to nine-points.

Then, it all began to unravel. First, Kevin O’Driscoll, who had been booked in the first-half along with Maguire, picked up a second yellow and red-card for a high tackle. This preceded a couple of quick-fire points from a Burns free and another from play from captain Andy McDonnell offered Louth a ray of hope and they built on that.

Leading 1-11 to 0-6, you assumed the home side had the match well under wraps, but this feeling soon reverted to anxiety with Pete McGrath's substitutes, William Woods and Gerard McSorley greatly increasing the Wee County's threat. Thus, they put Cork under a sustained period of pressure.

McSorley’s effort for a point struck the crossbar with the Cork rear-guard all at sea and then corner-back Sam Ryan bravely dived on Woods’ attempt at goal.

Louth were now dictating. Three Woods frees made it a five-point game before Cork were reduced to 13-men following a straight red-card for substitute Peter Kelleher after 67-minutes.

McSorley added Louth’s 10th in the first of five additional minutes before Kiely made the game safe with a well-taken goal, 30-seconds from the end.

The Wee County can take some solace from the way they battled in the second-half, especially with so many inexperienced players in the team. Fergal Donohoe was making his league debut at corner-back , while his Newtown Blues club-mate, Downey, featured from throw-in for the first time, as did Conor Earley.

However, the result is the outcome that counts with Louth's Division Two status now severely under threat. Roscommon visit Drogheda on Sunday week where only a win suffice.

Cork: Ryan Price; Sam Ryan, Jamie O’Sullivan, Seán Wilson; Tomás Clancy, Conor Dorman, Cian Kiely (1-1); Ian Maguire, Rúairí Deane (0-1); Seán White (1-1), Stephen Sherlock, Kevin O’Driscoll; Michael Hurley (0-1), Colm O’Neill (0-4, three frees), Mark Collins

Subs: Matthew Taylor for Sherlock (HT), Daniel O’Callaghan for White, Dylan Quinn for Dorman (58), Peter Kelleher for Hurley (58), Cian Dorgan for Maguire (65), Pádraig Clancy for Wilson (70)

Louth: Craig Lynch; John Bingham, Emmet Carolan, Fergal Donohoe; Darren Marks, James Stewart, Anthony WIlliams ; Conor Earley, Bevan Duffy (0-1); Ciarán Downey, Jim McEneaney, Andy McDonnell (0-1); Derek Maguire, Conor Grimes, Ryan Burns (0-4, three frees & one '45)

Subs: Eoghan Lafferty for Marks (HT), Tommy Durnin for McEneaney (HT), James Craven for Bingham (52), William Woods (0-3, frees) for Burns (HT), Gerard McSorley (0-1) for Earley (HT), Tadhg McEnaney for Grimes (57)

Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)