|Louth bow out of Leinster MFC|
|Wednesday, 29 June 2011 22:12|
Despite playing into a slight breeze in the first half, it was the home side who settled the quicker, racing into a three point lead by the thirteenth minute. Corner forward Brian McMahon was tormentor in chief setting up scores for the impressive Cillian O'Sullivan (2) and tapping over one of his own. Free taker Neil Shorthall added another as Louth struggled with the movement of the Meath forward line. A fine individual score from Louth corner forward Ciaran Byrne opened the scoring for the Wee County and the St Mochtas star added two further scores to close the gap to just a soliatary point by the seventeenth minute. By this stage Meath were winning the battle for breaking ball in the midfield sector and Shorthall claimed another loose ball before setting O'Sullivan away to claim his third point of the opening half. Louth needed a response and Byrne stood up to the plate. Recieing the ball thirty metres from goal, he jinked and dummied his way round his marker before curling the ball between the sticks for his fourth and Louth's fourth point of the half. Despite his inspirational effort, Louth couldn't drive on from Byrne's fine play as Meath grabbed a stranglehold on the game with half time approaching. Shorthall claimed the final two scores of the game as the Louth defence came under pressure from concerted Meath attacks, to give the home side a three point lead at half-time.
Half-time: Meath 0-07 Louth 0-04
A half time inspirational talk from Thomas MacNamee was required and his players duly delivered, with Byrne claiming the opening score of the half following a quick free kick from midfield man Robert McCabe. However, a run of scores from Shorthall (fk), and two left footed efforts from McMahon extended the home sides lead. Not for the first time in a Meath/Louth clash, the referee was called into question as Kildare man Fergal Barry was guilty of awarding a number of soft frees and lacking consistency in his decisions and his decision to book players for very little raised eyebrows for all in attendance. Captain Daniel Grimes got his name on the scoresheet by the seventh minute of the half as Louth gained more possession despite playing against a strong breeze. Two fine scores from Byrne closed the gap further as confidence began to flow through the Louth team. Meanwhile, Shorthall, who had claimed four fine scores from placed balls was sent for an early bath by Barry, who harshly awarded him a second yellow card, and thus a red. Down to fourteen men, Meath kicked into gear and substitute Cathal Smith kicked over the score of the match from 40m to settle their nerves and restore their three point advantage. With ten minutes left on the clock and Louth on the attack, Byrne twisted and turned in front of the Meath goal and appeared to be held back by his marker just as he was about to pull the trigger. The crowd waited to hear the whistle and gasped in astonishment as Barry awarded a free out for the Meath men. Seconds later, the home side were awarded a soft free kick, duly converted by Smith to rub further salt in the Louth wounds. McMahon then capitalised on a dropping ball in the Louth defence to claim his fourth point of the game and just reward for his fine efforts throughout. Byrne knocked over the last two scores of the game from placed balls and with the Louth players expecting a further minutes play, referee Barry blew his whistle for the final time and bring an end to the contest.
Full-time: Meath 0-13 Louth 0-10
Louth battled throughout and grew in confidence as the game progressed but their first half efforts came back to haunt them in the end. In winning the breaking ball battle, Meath established a platform for them to prosper and in Shorthall, O'Sullivan and McMahon, they had three fine forwards with unerring accuracy. Byrne performed heroics in attack for Louth and was well supported throughout by full back Dermot Campbell and centre back Daniel Grimes. Despite defeat the Louth players and management team can hold their heads high for their years work and but for the complex nature of the Leinster Minor Football Championship they could be looking at another day out. Alas, it is not to be.
MEATH: Robert Burlingham; Anthony Forde, Conor McGill, Oran Fitzpatrick; Cathal Finn, Shane Melia, Declan Smith; Padraic Harnan, Shane McEntee; Neil Shorthall (0-04, 4 frees), Bobby O'Brien, Cillian O'Sullivan (0-03); Brian McMahon, Robert Farrelly, William McGrath.
Subs used: Cathal Smith (0-02, 2 frees) for Robert Farrelly, Sean Sheridan for Brian McMahon.
Subs not used: Jack Walsh, Barry McConnon, Oliver Sheridan, Ross Gore, Adam Flanagan, Colin McGrane, Seamus Mattimoe.
LOUTH: Conaire Quigley; Michael Kane, Dermot Campbell, Niall McCabe; Ciaran Bellew, Daniel Grimes (0-01), Darren McMahon; Robert McCabe, Martin Breen; Sean Thornton, Patrick Reilly, Conor Smyth; Conall McKeever, John Horan, Ciaran Byrne (0-09, 5 frees).
Subs used: Darren Breen for Conaire Quigley (30), Jamie King for Conor Smith (30), Keith Ryan for Conall McKeever (42), Robert Brodigan for Robert McCabe (54), Sean McAuley for Jamie King (58).
|Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 13:46|