Andy McDonnell was part of Louth's team for tonight's Leinster SFC clash with Dublin at O'Moore Park. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Louth 0-10 Dublin 5-21
If Louth were going to be beaten here, a quick, mercy kill would have been the ideal outcome. Had Dublin blazed in a few early goals, instead of Fergal Sheekey repeatedly intervening, it may have been easier to watch. Hardly, but just maybe.
As it turned out, the Reds' demise was slow and as painful as imaginable. Louth mistake. Dublin point. Cormac Costello free. Costello free. Costello free. Costello free. Louth wide. Dublin point. Dublin goal. And again. You get the picture.
Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions led the affair 1-12 to four points at half-time, nine of the Sky Blues' points having come from the boot of their prolific free-taker, Costello, who finished with 1-12.
His first - a 45 - levelled the early advantage Louth had, given to them in the second minute by Ryan Burns. The Hunterstown man kicked another in the first half, while Andy McDonnell and Jim McEneaney hit the Wee County's others.
But it took 18 minutes from that opening effort for the Reds to score again, in which time Dublin had struck seven times.
The winners lost Paul Mannion to a red card on 25 minutes - Conall McKeever on the receiving end of a woeful, head-high challenge - but having struck the goal they had threatened, albeit the final touch was off Louth full-back Emmet Carolan, losing a man made no impact.
Brian Fenton scored Dublin's second major four minutes into the second half, after another pair of Costello frees, as Louth were made to wait until the 47th minute to open their account after the break, when Jim McEneaney chipped over.
At that stage, the Reds trailed 2-15 to five points and the gap grew to 19 when substitute Michael Darragh McAuley palmed home Dublin's third goal.
There was a brief Louth rally, which brought their tally to eight, but only in between two further Dublin majors - Costello shooting home minutes prior to another reserve, Philly McMahon, picking his spot in the bottom corner.
Twenty-six points separated the sides at the finish. Nightmarish.
Louth: Fergal Sheekey; Fergal Donohoe, Emmet Carolan, James Craven; Anthony Williams, Bevan Duffy, John Clutterbuck; Tommy Durnin, James Califf; Andy McDonnell (0-1), Jim McEneaney (0-2), Conall McKeever (0-1); Ciarán Downey (0-1), Ryan Burns (0-4, two frees), Declan Byrne
Subs: Daniel Corcoran for Donohoe (HT), Sam Mulroy for Byrne (HT), Conor Early for Califf (43), Derek Maguire for Clutterbuck (46), Eoghan Callaghan (0-1) for Craven (53, black card), Eoghan Duffy for McEneaney (59)
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; David Byrne, Cian O'Sullivan, Michael Fitzsimons (0-1); Jack McCaffrey, John Small, James McCarthy; Brian Fenton (1-1), Darren Gavin; Niall Scully (0-2), Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny (0-1); Paul Mannion (0-2), Con O'Callaghan, Cormac Costello (1-12, 0-10 frees & 45)
Subs: Philly McMahon (1-0) for O'Sullivan (41), Michael Darragh McAuley (1-0) for Gavin (41), Rory O'Carroll for McCaffrey (47), Paddy Small (0-1) for O'Callaghan (47), Kevin McManamon (0-1, free) for Scully (54), Seán Bugler for Costello (64)
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)
Attendance: 14,380 (official)