Allianz National Hurling League

Arthur hits 4-12 as Louth hurlers ease past Longford in National Hurling League

Longford 5-7 Louth 4-17

Deniese O’Flaherty - Longford Leader


Deniese O’Flaherty - Longford Leader


Arthur hits 4-12 as Louth hurlers ease past Longford in National Hurling League

Longford's Joe O'Brien and Donal Ryan of Louth. (Pic: Declan Gilmore - Longford Leader)

Allianz National Hurling League

Longford 5-7 Louth 4-17

Niall Arthur was again to the fore as Louth hurlers stretched their unbeaten league run to three matches at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday afternoon, relegating Longford to Division 3B in the process.

The Wee County now sit third in the division, level on points with second place Roscommon with their final round meeting with Monaghan potentially holding the key to promotion.

Building on his impressive performances against Tyrone and Warwickshire, Arthur was outstanding against the Midlanders, scoring 4-12 of his side’s 4-17. Longford were also dealt a huge blow just before the break when Cathal Mullane was harshly sent off for a supposed off the ball incident. They also lost Daniel Connell right at the end, while Louth substitute John Crosbie was sent off in the 62nd minute.

Credit to Longford they battled in this game, but, with Arthur in superb form and with the loss of Mullane, it was always going to be hard for them.

Just 15 seconds had gone on the clock when Arthur got his side’s first goal. Mark Molloy followed up with a point in the second minute before Cathal Mullane got Longford’s first score when he fired over a free in the fourth.

Louth stretched their lead to seven-points in the 13th minute with four-points in a row. Longford then had two goal chances; Daniel Connell firing wide in the 15th minute and five-minutes later Cathal Mullane was unlucky with his effort.

In the 27th minute, Longford finally raised the green flag through Paddy Walsh. Arthur hit over a free before Walsh got his and his side’s second goal in the 29th minute. Minutes later Mullane was shown a straight red and Longford were down to 14.

A ball in from Joe O’Brien was excellently fired to the net by substitute Reuben Murray to put Longford ahead for the first time. Two-points in stoppage time saw Louth lead by a point at half-time; 1-8 to 3-1.

O’Brien drew Longford level just after the break and then a fantastic point from Daniel Connell put them ahead again, but that was to be the last time Longford would lead. In the 40th minute, Arthur got his second goal and followed up with a free.

Arthur got a third goal from a free in the 47th minute to extend the lead to six, but Longford were awarded a penalty which O’Brien put away to keep them still in the game.

Both sides hit over points before Gerard Smyth brought a fine save out of Conor Gallagher with Arthur hitting over the ‘65. Another penalty from O’Brien made it a three-point game in the 58th minute.

Two O’Brien frees cut the deficit to one in the 63rd minute, but a fourth goal from Arthur in the 67th minute killed off Longford’s brave challenge and consigned them to the bottom tier for next season.

Meanwhile, the Reds visit Castleblayney for a meeting with the Farneymen on Sunday in the knowledge that victory could secure them an unlikely berth in the league final.

Louth: Stephen Hackett; Mark Wallace, Mike Lyons, Conor Matthews; Stephen Kettle, Ronan Byrne, Andrew McCrave; Donal Ryan, Mark Molloy (0-2); Shane Callan, Gerry Arthur (0-1), Gerard Smyth; Seaghan Conneely (0-1), Niall Arthur (4-12, 0-6 frees and one '65), Paddy Lynch (0-1)

Subs: Diarmuid Murphy for Callan (57), John Crosbie for Smyth (61), Michael Ryan for Ryan (70)

Longford: Conor Gallagher; Karl Murray, Seamus Hannon, Gerard Moore; Dáire Duggan, Paddy Walsh, Aidan Sheridan; Seán Stakelum, Paul Barden; Paddy Corcoran, Daniel Connell (0-1), Jody Leonard; Joe O’Brien (2-4, 2-0 pen and 0-2 frees ), Cathal Mullane (0-1, free), Johnny Casey (0-1)

Subs: Reuben Murray (1-0) for Stakelum (20), PJ Masterson for Corcoran (22), Paul Leonard for Barden (52), Ray O’Brien for Walsh (69), Cian McLoughlin for Moore (70)

Referee: Chris Mooney (Dublin)