Conall McCaul’s goal proved decisive as Louth eeked out a confidence-boosting victory on a freezing cold and wet Saturday afternoon in Darver. (Pic: Aidan Dullaghan)
Leo Murphy Cup
Louth 1-7 Tyrone 0-7
Conall McCaul’s goal proved decisive as Louth eeked out a confidence-boosting victory on a freezing cold and wet Saturday afternoon in Darver.
St. Joseph’s man McCaul was one of several changes made by Aidan Shevlin from the previous week’s defeat by Down, in a bid to give players as many minutes as possible. And there were several performances that would have certainly impressed the manager; not least McCaul, who finished with 1-2.
The Roche Emmets duo of Peter Lynch and Glen Stewart worked tirelessly, while Tom Jackson, younger brother of Louth inter-county panel member Liam, finished with 23 possessions over the 60 minutes.
Ben Collier also put in a commendable shift following his introduction.
Playing into a tumultuous wind in that opening half, it took 25 minutes for Tyrone to register a white flag, which came from half-back Cathal Colton, and at that stage Louth had 1-5 on the board, with McCaul collecting a sideline ball from Luke Mathews before drilling low past Mark McGale.
Carl Gillespie, Ciarán McMahon and Mathews also found the range as Louth played some wonderful football during this dominant period.
A seven-point lead at half-time did not flatter Louth, but it could have been so much bigger had they been a little more economical; having kicked six wides and dropped one short amid the first 30 minutes, which could have proven costly.
The Reds scored the opening two points after the restart, through Gillespie and McCaul, but The Wee County would not score again as Tyrone dominated the next 25 minutes. They lacked guile, though, converting 0-6 from 13 shots, while Ronan Duffin hit the butt of the post, much to the relief of the home support.
Substitute Tom Donaghy’s sideline free deceived everybody and bounced over the bar with Louth hearts in mouths, before Lorcan McBride broke free of the defence, only to be denied by Martin McEneaney, who stood firm to keep the effort out.
McBride’s physical presence continued to carry the fight to Louth, who admirably held firm, with Lynch, Jackson and Donal McKenny excelling to secure an opening win of 2020, ahead of Saturday’s visit to Antrim.
Louth: Martin McEneaney (St. Patrick’s); Donal McKenny (Ardee St. Mary’s), Peter Lynch (Roche Emmets), Bobby Butterly (Stabannon Parnells); Ciarán Murtagh (Kilkerley Emmets), Ciarán Murphy (St. Patrick’s), Tom Jackson (Ardee St. Mary’s); Glen Stewart (Roche Emmets), Evan Whelan (Naomh Máirtín); Conall McCaul (St. Joseph’s; 1-2), Ciarán Keenan (Ardee St. Mary’s), Seán Healy (Naomh Máirtín); Luke Mathews (Ardee St. Mary’s; 0-1), Ciarán McMahon (St. Mochta’s; 0-1), Carl Gillespie (Ardee St. Mary’s; 0-3, one free)
Subs: Conor Garland (St. Mochta’s) for Healy (40), Ben Collier (St. Joseph’s) for Murtagh (42), Conor Quigley (Kilkerley Emmets) for Whelan (44), Jay Crawley (Ardee St. Mary’s) for Butterly (50), Nathan Sutherland (Dreadnots) for Mathews (50)
Tyrone: Mark McGale; Ronan Hollywood, Mathew McCusker (0-1), Conor Ward; Tiarnan Colhoun, Antoin Fox, Cathal Colton (0-1); Joe Oguz, Lorcan McBride; Ruairi Slane, Mathew Murnaghan, Cormac Monroe; Eunan Devlin, Ethan Jordan (0-1), Ronan Duffin
Subs: Neil Kilpatrick (0-1) for Colhoun (15), Cormac Quinn (0-1) for Ward (22), Aaron Montgomery for Slane (35), Liam Gray (0-1) for Duffin (43), James McCann for Colton (45), Tom Donaghy (0-1, free) for Monroe (48)
Referee: Margaret Farrelly (Cavan)