Louth's William Woods. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Allianz National Football League
Louth 0-12 1-21 Roscommon
Louth's fate in Division Two looks all but sealed after a fourth successive defeat at the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
It took a last-gasp point to separate the sides when they last met - at the same venue eight-years ago - with Roscommon edging a close contest. This one, however, was a foregone conclusion from an early stage as the Connacht champions raced confidently out of the blocks.
The Rossies had five-points on the board by the eighth minute as Louth struggled to gather any sort of primary possession. Indeed, four of Craig Lynch's first six kick-outs were gathered - and punished - by the visitors as midfielders Enda Smith and Conor Daly put on an early exhibition of
At this juncture last year, Louth were in a polar-opposite position having taken maximum points from their first four outings in Division Three. And, while they never looked like claiming a first league win in 10-months, they recovered well from their considerable early deficit as the game moved into its second quarter.
After Ryan Burns got them off the mark with a free in the 15th-minute, they went toe-to-toe with Roscommon as the teams shared the final 10-points of the half, Tommy Durnin, Ronan Holcroft, Anthony Williams and Derek Maguire all found their range from play as an improving Louth battled hard.
The scoreboard read 0-10 to six in Roscommon's favour at the interval, but that gap got gradually bigger in the second-half as Kevin McStay's men strode clear. Gerard McSorley may have cut their lead to three almost immediately, however, a sequence of 1-3 to one-point in the visitors' favour quickly soured Louth's comeback aspirations.
Diarmuid Murtagh found the net after an incisive run, while substitute Donie Smith struck seven-points as the winning margin edged into double digits.
Louth's day was made no better by the black card awards to William Woods - on the stroke of half-time - and Anthony Williams in the second-half. However, it's questionable if the pair would have accounted for the dramatic gulf at full-time.
With Clare's victory over Down in Newry, relegation for Pete McGrath's side could be confirmed in Thurles next week.
Louth: Craig Lynch; Darren Marks, Emmet Carolan, James Craven; Derek Maguire (0-1), Bevan Duffy (0-1), Anthony Williams (0-1); Tommy Durnin (0-1), Andy McDonnell (0-1); Eoghan Lafferty, Conor Grimes, Ronan Holcroft (0-1); William Woods, Declan Byrne, Ryan Burns (0-3, two frees)
Subs: Ross Nally for Woods (HT, black card), James Stewart for Durnin (HT), Gerard McSorley (0-3) for Holcroft (HT), Fergal Donohoe for Williams (57, black card), Éimhín Keenan for Maguire (62)
Roscommon: James Featherston; Seán McDermott, Peter Domican, David Murray; Ronan Daly, Niall Daly (0-1), Ross Timothy; Enda Smith (0-2), Conor Daly (0-2); Ciaráin Murtagh (0-2, frees), Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney (0-3); Diarmuid Murtagh (1-3), Ciarán Lennon (0-1), Cathal Cregg
Subs: John McManus for Timothy (12), Donal Smith (0-7, three frees) for Cregg (40), Cathal Compton for Murray (53), Fintan Cregg for Ciaráin Murtagh (62), Ian Kilbride for Smith (67), Shane Killoran for Diarmuid Murtagh (69)
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)