|Waterford vs Louth|
|Sunday, 10 April 2011 20:30|
Unlikely, as the permutations and the combinations of other scores needed to be accounted for, with victory for Limerick a necessity for Louth to be in with a chance. And as word filtered through to the Sunny South East that Limerick held a commanding lead from the outset in their encounter with Wexford, the onus was on Louth to meet their end of the bargain. They eventually did, but boy did they leave it late! Inspired by their talisman and leader Paddy Keenan, Louth aided by the sending off of Waterford’s Tony Grey, eventually gained the upper hand over their hosts and claimed second spot in Division 3 behind Westmeath, and promotion to Division 2 their reward.
Starting the day in fourth position, Louth took to the field with seven changes from their last encounter with Cavan. Manager, Peter Fitzpatrick was subsequently forced into a late change with Dreadnots man Liam Shevlin replacing club mate Padraig Rath, who succumbed to a injury prior to throw-in. On a beautiful and clam afternoon, it was the hosts who got off to the better start racing into a 0-05 to 0-01 lead inside the opening twenty minutes. The home side’s captain, Wayne Hennessy, wearing no.5 but playing on the ‘40’, set his side on their way inside the opening minute, and added his second score in the eleventh minute. Corner forward Mark Ferncombe opened his account in between as Louth struggled to come to terms with the bright opening of the Munster men. A free kick from the recalled Darren Clarke opened Louth’s account but two scores from full forward Patrick Hurney gave the home side a four-point lead by the twentieth minute. Louth’s Achilles heel throughout the campaign of dropping balls short into the goalkeeper’s hands was to rear its ugly head again as chance after chance went a begging. The opening half continued to ebb and flow, though the home side could not capitalise on their own period of dominance as time and again their attempts at goal sailed harmlessly wide. Louth needed a kick start and Lady Luck was to shine on them in providing an avenue back into the contest. Half forward Mark Brennan picked up on a loose pass in the Waterford defence and fed JP Rooney. The Mairtin’s man swivelled and turned, and though his attempt at a point was half blocked down, it fortuitously resulted in a high ball contest between Ronan Carroll and Kieran Cotter, the Waterford goalkeeper, with the former coming out on top and punching the ball to the back of the net. A foul on Rooney in first half injury time provided Keenan with the opportunity for Louth to draw matters level at the half time interval, and the All-Star made no mistake from the 13m free kick.
As was customary with all Louth performances in this year’s Allianz League campaign, they were slow to start after the break. Hurney found time and space in the Louth defence to claim his third point of the contest, before an overlapping Grey grabbed his only point of the game. A drilled shot from Sean Fleming put the home side further into the lead before a Brian Wall free kick, for an infringement in the Louth defence, meant that the Deise held a four-point lead for the second time in the contest. Fiztpatrick and co rang the changes and the introduction of substitutes Andy McDonnell and Derek Maguire had an instant effect. A quick free kick from Keenan to McDonnell resulted in the Newtown Blues man opening his account from 35m and moments later Keenan calmly slotted over to put two points between the sides. However, in keeping with the topsy-turvy encounter, Waterford again regained the upper hand and reclaimed their four-point advantage thanks to midfielder Tommy Prendergast and Hurney. With just fifteen minutes left in the encounter, Louth fans, calculators in hand, were busy working out their promotion/survival chances. Word from Limerick was hopeful, though frustrating, as the Wee followers knew that could decide their own destiny. And thanks to referee Michael Collins, the Wee County were to receive the lift they needed as the Cork man dished out a second yellow card to Grey. Buoyed by the man advantage Louth sprung into action and none more so than their Captain. Anyone present in Dungarvan could witness the definition of an All-Star performance. Keenan pulled his side up by their boot straps and demanded a huge push from his team mates. A right footed point from 25m was soon followed by another with his left foot. A flowing move, started by the impressive Jamie Carr, found the equally impressive Liam Shevlin who fed Keenan and his left footed effort meant that there was just the minimum between the sides. Though Louth were dominant in this period they did have to ride their luck after a long hopeful ball into the Louth defence caused a moment of concern. Time stood still as all and sundry watched Michael O’Gorman fist the ball goal wards, only to see it agonisingly strike Neil Gallagher’s left hand post and away to safety. Stirred on by the let off, Louth quickly moved the ball up the field, presenting Carroll with the chance to draw things level and the St Marys man made no mistake. With Louth followers anxiously biting nails, Maguire calmed their nerves, coolly putting Louth into the lead for the first time in the contest after a foul on McDonnell. A typical barnstorming run from wing back Ray Finnegan resulted in his customary point as Louth finished the game strongly, particularly in the midfield sector. A final score from Carroll put the icing on the cake as Louth finally gained scores for their domination and in doing so met their side of the bargain. Question was, did Limerick?
Radios, phone calls and internet access was at a frenzy as Louth supporters, players and officials waited on confirmation from Limerick and their encounter with Wexford. The elation and joy that sounded out from Pairc Ui Fhearchair could be heard for miles around, as the men from the Wee County claimed victory and the unlikeliest of promotions to Division 2 for the 2012 season. A three-point victory seemed out of reach going into the final quarter of the game but inspired by their All-Star and Captain Keenan, seven points in-a-row put paid to the Waterford challenge and left Louth basking in the glory of the Dungarvan sunshine. Promotion secured, Louth now face Westmeath in the Division 3 Allianz Football League Final.
Best for Louth were Aaron Hoey, Jamie Carr, Ray Finnegan, Liam Shevlin and Paddy Keenan, whilst the introduction of Andy McDonnell and Derek Maguire had a significant bearing on the outcome of the game.
Louth Scorers: Paddy Keenan (0-05), Ronan Carroll (1-02), Darren Clarke, Andy McDonnell, Ray Finnegan and Derek Maguire (0-01 each).
LOUTH: Neil Gallagher, Eamonn McAuley, Aaron Hoey, Gerard Hoey, Ray Finnegan, Dessie Finnegan, Liam Shevlin, Paddy Keenan, Ronan Carroll, Derek Crilly, Mark Brennan, Adrian Reid, Darren Clarke, Brian Donnelly, JP Rooney.
WATERFORD: Kieran Cotter, Maurice O’Gorman, Thomas O’Gorman, Kieran Connery, Wayne Hennessy, Shane Briggs, John Hurney, Tommy Prendergast, Brian Phelan, Brian Wall, Sean Fleming, Tony Grey, Eamonn Walsh, Patrick Hurney, Mark Ferncombe.
Listen to LMFM's Colum Corrigan's post-match interview with Mark Brennan
Mark Brennan's reaction to the Allianz National Football League win over Waterford which secured promotion to Division 2.
|Last Updated on Monday, 11 April 2011 13:07|