Louth suffered an agonising defeat to the hands of Kildare in the O'Byrne Cup, conceding two goals in injury time to the Lilywhites. An exciting encounter in Newbridge proved to be a good spectacle for the large attendance, and ideal preparation for the upcoming Allianz League campaign.
Kildare corner back Emmett Bolton opened the scoring for the home side in the fourth minute but Louth hit back, getting their opening score in the eleventh minute via the boot of Shane Lennon, who tapped over a 13m free kick, straight in front of goal. A moment of brilliance from the impressive Derek Maguire stretched Louth's lead further. A quick free kick from Mark Brennan picked Maguire out on the 45m line. The Irelands man, spun his marker and three more would-be Kildare tackles to leave all in his wake, yet showed composure and poise to slot the ball beneath goalkeeper Shane Connolly's body. Not content with his goal, Maguire grabbed another score moments later, tapping over this time left footed from an acute angle. Kildare's Alan Smith punished some hesitation in the Louth defence to narrow the gap, but Lennon restored Louth's four point advantage, from another free kick. A run of scores from Kildare, via Eoghan O'Flaherty, David Whyte and Hugh McGrillen narrowed the gap to the slenderest of margins midway through the opening half. However, Louth responded and were to experience their own purple patch, with Lennon to the fore. Indeed, the Kilkerley man slotted Louth's next four scores in a five minute spell to put some distance between the sides. Another goal from Maguire, his second brace in two weeks, cemented Louth's advantage with half time approaching. Alas, the half time whistle didn't come quick enough and the Lilywhites midfielder Padraig O'Neill found himself in plenty of room in the heart of the Louth defence, and duly dispatched the ball under Sean Connor.
Half-time: Kildare 1-05 Louth 2-07
Kildare's late first half goal provided fresh impetus in the Louth second half approach. Captain Paddy Keenan kick-started their response, curling the ball over on the run after being set up by Brennan, Minutes later, a foul on Adrian Reid presented Lennon with the opportunity to extend Louth's lead and the full forward grasped his chance for his seventh point of the contest. Alas, this was to be Louth's last score of the game as Kildare gained a stranglehold on possession and starved the Louth forward line of many scoring opportunities. Ill discipline and some soft fee kicks resulted in three converted free kicks for the Lilywhites, two from Karl Ennis and another from O'Flaherty. A series of missed opportunities and bad decision-making in the Louth forward line, let Kildare off the hook and provided them with the motivation to nullify the Louth lead. With Kildare dominating and Louth unable to gain a sustained period of possession, the Lilywhites went for the jugular. With just a goal separating the teams heading into injury time, a sweeping move down the Kildare left wing, found Bolton in space, before the corner back was adjudged to have been fouled in the square. Up-stepped substitute Ronan Sweeney, and he sent Connor the wrong way from the resulting penalty. As all within the ground waited for extra time, Kildare substitute Keith Cribbin, clearly had not read the script. A long range attempt from wing back Eamonn Callaghan struck Connor's crossbar and fell luckily into the hands of Cribbin, who sidestepped his marker and hammered the ball to the back of the net. Seconds later, referee Gary McCormack blew his whistle for the final time and Kildare were to attain the O'Byrne Cup for the first time in eight years.
Full-time: Kildare 3-09 Louth 2-09
The manner of the defeat was tough on Louth, but having gone over twenty five minutes without scoring in the second half, they can't really have too many complaints about the outcome of the game's result.
Best for Louth were Sean Connor who dealt well with a number of testing situations and Aaron Hoey who was imperious in defence in his 150th appearance in the red jersey. Shane Lennon produced his best performance of the O'Byrne Cup campaign and Derek Maguire was once again potent in attack.Scorers: Shane Lennon (0-07), Derek Maguire (2-01), Paddy Keenan (0-01)
LOUTH: Sean Connor, Eamonn McAuley, Aaron Hoey, Gerard Hoey, Ray Finnegan, Dessie Finnegan, Stephen Fitzpatrick; Paddy Keenan, Ronan Carroll, Derek Crilly, Mark Brennan, Brian Donnelly, Adrian Reid, Shane Lennon, Derek Maguire.
Subs: Andy McDonnell for Brian Donnelly (28), Ronan Greene for Eamonn McAuley (56), Paraic Smith for Adrian Reid (63), JP Rooney for Derek Maguire (66).
Subs not used: Neil Gallagher, Declan Byrne, Padaig Rath, Alan Kirk, Liam Shevlin, James Califf and Jimmy Murray.
Kildare: Shane Connolly, Emmett Bolton, High McGrillen, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Eamonn Callaghan, Mark Scanlon, David Whyte, Michael Foley, Padraig O'Neill, Tommy Moolick, Eoghan O'Flaherty, Fionn Dowling, Kar; Ennis, Willie Hefernan, Mark O'Sullivan
Subs: Tom Corley, Damien Hendy, Hugh Lynch, John Brown, Tommy O'Neill, Johnny Doyle, Alan Smith, Brian Flanagan, Keith Cribbin, James Gately, Conor Brophy.
Listen to LMFM's Colum Corrigan's post-match interviews with Paddy Keenan and Peter Fitzpatrick
Paddy Keenan's reaction to the O'Byrne Cup defeat to Kildare
Peter Fitzpatrick's reaction to the O'Byrne Cup defeat to Kildare
Peter Fitzpatrick's decision to utilise his squad proved effective, in the end, but only just, as Louth edged past their counteracts by the slimmest of margins. Indeed, Louth owe a big thanks to goalkeeper Sean Connor, who pulled off a fine stop in the closing stages of the game to prevent UCD from beating the hosts.
Though Fitzpatrick made five changes from last weekend's victory over Wicklow, it was one of his regulars, Ronan Carroll who got Louth's opening score, curling the ball over on the run, with the game six minutes old. This lead was short-lived as almost immediately Robert Kelly opening his sides account, tapping the ball over the ball from a free kick, after Cathal Kenny had been followed. Both sides' swapped scores, Carroll again putting Louth into the lead, before corner forward David Larkin curled his effort inside the right hand post, after being set up by Kelly. Captain Paddy Keenan followed his fellow midfielder Carroll on the scoresheet next, kicking the ball over goalkeeper Michael Savages' crossbar after good interplay between Liam Shevlin and Declan Byrne.
Moments later, Shane Lennon got his name on the scoresheet, curling a free kick over the bar after Derek Maguire was fouled. Louth were beginning to settle nicely and a sweeping move from the full back line, found Maguire in space and the Irelands' man tapped over to extend Louth's lead. Back came UCD and through another placed ball, Kelly grabbed his sides third point of the contest. A tug of Maguire's jersey presented Lennon with an opportunity to cement Louth's lead, and he duly guided the ball over the bar, with his 30 metre attempt.
Louth were seizing control of the game around the middle of the field and their half forward line were gaining more possession of the ball, as a result. An attempt by wing man, Brian Donnelly was dropping short into the hands of Savage, but the slightest of flicks from Lennon deceived the goalkeeper and the ball trickled into the net. If the first goal was somewhat fortunate, the second was anything but. Following a move on the bank side of the ground, a long ball into the square was knocked down by Lennon and Collon man, Mark Brennan was on hand to dispatch the ball, ala soccer style on the volley past Savage's despairing dive. Though Louth had opened up a commanding lead, the students never wilted and claimed the next four points of the game, through Kelly, wing back Tommy Warburton, the impressive John McLoughlin, and a fine score on the stroke of half time from Wexford man Ciaran Lyng, for his sides seventh point of the opening half.
Half-time: Louth 2-06 UCD 0-07
Having not scored for the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Louth started the second half, determined to gain a foothold on the contest. However, the students did not read the script and a run of scores from Lyng (3) and Kelly meant that there was just the bare minimum between the sides, just ten minutes into the second half. A flurry of substitutions from both sides, upset the play for a few minutes before Carroll grabbed Louth's first score of the game for twenty five minutes. Maguire, quickly followed suit, with a fine individual effort, kicking over left footed, from the narrowest of angles. But the students were not to be outdone and well-taken scores from Kelly and substitute Joe Cocoman, meant that there was just a solitary point between the sides, heading into the last ten minutes.
Keenan and Kelly both exchanged free kicks before John Heslin's fine long range effort meant that the sides were level for the first time in the game. With UCD dominant in the midfield third, they had the opportunity to win the game, but Cocman's effort clipped the wrong side of the post and away to safety. Another Keenan free kick put Louth back in front, but he and his fellow Louth men were let off the hook moments later as Connor produced a fantastic stop to deny UCD a certain goal and probable victory. Yet, there was still time for more drama, as Kelly knocked over his sixth point of the contest, following the dismissal of Louth's Padaig Rath for two yellow cards. Deep into injury time, and with extra-time looming, up stepped Carroll, and his curling, left footed effort, sailed over Savage's crossbar, and brought an end to a topsy turvy encounter.
Full-time: Louth 2-11 UCD 0-16
Best for Louth were Gerard Hoey and Liam Shevlin in defence, Paddy Keenan and Ronan Carroll performed well in midfield, while Derek Maguire was best in attack.
Scorers: Shane Lennon (1-02), Ronan Carroll (0-04), Paddy Keenan (0-03), Mark Brennan (1-00), Derek Maguire (0-02).
LOUTH: Sean Connor; Gerard Hoey, Aaron Hoey, Ronan Greene; Ray Finnegan, Derek Crilly, Liam Shevlin; Paddy Keenan, Ronan Carroll, Declan Byrne, Adrian Reid, Brian Donnelly, Mark Brennan, Shane Lennon, Derek Maguire.
Subs: Jimmy Murray for Declan Byrne (43), Eamonn McAuley for Liam Shevlin (43), Padraig Rath for Ronan Greene (55).
UCD: Michael Savage; Josh Hayes, Colin Ford, Michael Fitzsimons; Cormac Brady, Shane Redmond, Tommy Warburton 0-1; Kevin McGourty, John Heslin 0-1; John McLoughlin 0-2, Cathal Kenny, Lorcan Smith; Ciaran Lyng 0-4 (1 fr), Rob Kelly 0-6 (4 fr), David Larkin 0-1. Subs: Michael Brazil for D Larkin, Joe Cocoman 0-1 for L Smith, Mark McGowan for Warburton.
Check out Peter Fitzpatrick's post-match reaction here
Louth overcome Wicklow challenge
Louth withstood a second half fightback from Wicklow to claim a place in the semi final of this years O'Byrne Cup. A poignant day started with a minute silence for the late reposed souls of Henry Donnelly, Paddy Martin and Michaela Harte. The swirling wind didn't help both sides to find their accuracy, but Wicklow full forward Tony Hannon made the most of his opening possession, grabbing his sides first score in the opening minute. Louth responded in kind, Derek Maguire punching the ball over the on-rushing Wicklow goalkeeper, John Flynn's head, and into the back of the net, following neat interplay between Shane Lennon and Paraic Smith. Flynn was called into action moments later, and pulled off a great point blank save, thus preventing Smith from claiming another goal. Moments later, a quick free kick from Andy McDonnell, worked its way out to the well-positioned Brian Donnelly, who curled the ball casually over the bar.
Another Hannon point, in the seventh minute closed the gap, only for Derek Crilly to claim his first score of the contest, from Donnelly's threaded ball. There were twelve minutes on the clock when Lennon put his name on the scoresheet, curling over left footed, after a quick one-two with McDonnell. Midway through the first half, Donnelly capitalised on a loose ball in the Wicklow defence to set Maguire on his way, and bearing in on goal, before he was chopped down in the square. Lennon stepped up to take the ensuing penalty, and though he struck the ball firmly, Flynn got a strong hand to the ball and pushed it away to safety. Wicklow responded to the Flynn's heroics and a long ball into Hannon, was laid off to the on-rushing Darren Hayden, and the wing forward tapped the ball over Neil Gallagher's bar to close the gap. Flynn, yet again was called into action in the twentieth minute of the opening half, pulling off another fine stop, this time denying Donnelly, a certain goal. A poorly taken 45' from Louth was punished by Wicklow midfielder, Rory Finn who went down the other end of the field and curled the ball over the bar, aided by the strong breeze. Though the wind continued to blow strongly into the faces of the Louth players, Donnelly defied all the odds, scoring his second point of the game from 35 metres out. Minutes later, Crilly also got his name on the scoresheet for the second time, following a surging run from Ronan Carroll. Louth began to assume control in the midfield sector and further scores were to follow. Maguire grabbed his second goal of the game, at the third attempt; the unlucky Flood blocked down his first two attempts before the Ireland's man squeezed the ball inside the goalkeepers right hand post. The young corner forward got his name on the scoresheet again towards the end of the half, collecting a fine pass from Andy McDonnell, taking on his defender and curling the ball over the bar to stretch Louth's lead. With half-time approaching Micko's men needed a response and midfielder Niall Gaffney's long range attempt and Hannon's first placed ball, both contributed to closing Louth's lead.
Half-time: Louth 2-07 Wicklow 0-6
Micko rung the changes at the half time interval and substitute Seanie Furlong got his name on the scoresheet in the opening minute of the second half. Wicklow seemed to settle much quicker after the interval and coped with the windy conditions much better than Louth. First half substitute Leighton Glynn knocked over another Wicklow point in the seventh minute of the second half and another long-range Gaffney point closed the gap even further. Following suit, Peter Fitzpatrick, sprung the changes from his bench and it took just twenty seconds for substitute Adrian Reid to get his name on the scoresheet. Moments later, Carroll went on another of his trademark runs and eventually fisted the ball over the bar from an acute angle.
A short free kick from Wicklow, caught the Louth defense napping, before Paul Earls clipped the ball over the bar. By this stage, Wicklow were winning their fair share of ball around the middle of the field and substitute Conor McGraynor pounced on a breaking ball in the Louth defense to narrow the gap further. Louth were going through a nervy spell but the introduction of Declan Byrne and the deployment of Dessie Finnegan in the full back line seemed to settle them down. Reid grabbed his second score of the contest in the sixteenth minute of the second half and a fine individual effort from wing back, Ray Finnegan secured an advantage for Louth. However, any hope of a comfortable ending to the game were dashed, as a slip in the defense left Furlong unmarked, and he made no mistake in driving the ball past Gallagher's despairing dive. Louth substitute, JP Rooney notched a point wit his first touch of the ball, curling the ball effortlessly over the bar from 25 metres. Some loose passing in the Louth backline led to Hannon's fourth point of the game, as he drove the ball over the black spot from 35 metres. Following a foul on Rooney, Donnelly stuck the placed ball from 45 metres and aided with the strong breeze, it crept over the bar to strengthen Louth's position. With time almost up, Louth sought to gain the insurance point and a foul on Lennon, led to a free kick, which the Kilkerley Emmets man took, and watched as it sailed over Flynn's crossbar. Soon after, referee David Coldrick blew his whistle for the last time in the game and Louth had secured a passage through to the last four and a contest against UCD, next Sunday in Drogheda.
Full-time: Louth 2-13 Wicklow 1-12
Louth: Neil Gallagher, Gerard Hoey, Aaron Hoey, Ronan Greene, Ray Finnegan, Dessie Finnegan, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Paddy Keenan, Ronan Carroll, Derek Crilly, Andy McDonnell, Brian Donnelly, Paraic Smith, Shane Lennon, Derek Maguire
Subs: Adrian Reid for Andy McDonnell (43), Declan Byrne and Aaron Hoey (44), JP Rooney for Paraic Smith (60), Alan Kirk for Derek Maguire (68). Subs not used: Sean Connor, Jimmy Murray, Eamonn McAuley, James Calliff, Liam Shevlin.
Best for Louth were Ronan Greene and Ray Finnegan in defence, Paddy Keenan performed well in midfield, while Derek Crilly, Brian Donnelly, Derek Maguire and Adrian Reid were best in attack.
Scorers: Derek Maguire (2-01), Brian Donnelly (0-03), Derek Crilly (0-02), Adrian Reid (0-02), Shane Lennon (0-02), Ray Finnegan, Ronan Carroll and JP Rooney (0-01) each.
Wicklow: John Flynn, Ciaran Hyland, Alan Nolan, Alan Byrne; Paul Cunningham, Stephen Kelly, Anthony McLoughlin; Rory Finn 0-1, Niall Gaffney 0-2; Darren Hayden 0-1, Paul Earls 0-1, Paddy Dalton; Dean Odlum, Tony Hannon 0-4; Dean Siney. Subs: Leighton Glynn 0-1 for Odlum (28), Conor McGaynor 0-2 for D Siney (h/t), Seanie Furlong 1-0 for D Hayden (h/t), Stephen Canavan for P Cunningham (56).
Scorers: Tony Hannon (0-04), Seanie Furlong (1-00), Conor McGaynor (0-02), Niall Gaffney (0-02), Darren Hayden, Paul Earls and Leighton Glynn (0-01) each
ROUND 1 RESULTS
Carlow 5-13 Kilkenny 0-08
Kildare 0-16 Longford 0-08
Laois 1-09 Wicklow 1-10
Louth 2-15 Athlone IT 0-04
Meath P-P UCD
Offaly P-P DCU
Westmeath P-P Dublin
Wexford 0-04 DIT 2-18
Louth ease past students in O'Byrne Cup opener
Though all matches in the Dr McKenna Cup and some additional national fixtures succumbed to the freezing temperatures, the GAA Grounds in Drogheda was deemed playable following an early morning pitch inspection for Louth's first O'Byrne Cup fixture of 2011. Whilst the weather may have been kind in allowing the game to take place, Louth showed no mercy to their student counterparts.
A tentative opening period saw numerous shots dropped short into both sides' goalkeepers hands before Louth begun to gain a footing on proceedings. With seven minutes on the clock, corner forward Paraic Smith jinked past two Athlone defenders, before drilling a low right footed shot, in off goalkeeper Gary Connaughton's, right hand post.
The perfect start for Louth almost got better as wing forward Derek Crilly finished off a flowing Louth move, with a thumping shot to the back of the net, only to see the goal disallowed for an infringement. Smith, however, was causing the Athlone defence all sorts of problems and soon grabbed his first point of the day, a shot from 30 metres, aided by the post, yet again. Louth goalkeeper, Neil Gallagher was kept on his toes, and in the fifteenth minute reacted to a long ball into the Louth full back line, which fell to full forward Frankie Burke. But the ball ran agonisingly away from Burke and into the safe hands of the Cooley man, who cleared away the danger. Soon after, Louth midfielder Ronan Carroll, fresh from his powerful display against Down last weekend, grabbed his first point of the day following a neat one-two with Crilly. Three minutes later, an off-the-ball incident led to a free kick for Louth and Shane Lennon duly dispatched the placed ball to put Louth further in front. Louth's more prominent players of the half, Carroll and Smith linked up again on the half hour mark, before the former coolly slotted Smith's pass over the black spot. Both sides traded a number of wides before Athlone opened their account, in the thirty third minute of the contest. Burke, the focal point of a lot of Athlone attacks, curled his 20 metre shot over the bar, with his right foot. Louth, though were quick to respond and Crilly latched on to a pass from Smith to tap the ball over for Louth's fifth point of the opening half. In first half injury time, Athlone put together their best move of the half before the ball found itself with wing forward Michael Lundy who calmly fisted the ball over the bar for the final score of the half. Referee Gary McCormack brought proceedings to a close with Louth holding a comfortable six point lead.
Half-time: Louth 1-05 Athlone IT 0-02.
At the half time interval, manager Peter Fitzpatrick sought to introduce some fresh legs to his attack and both Adrian Reid and Jimmy Murray entered the fray. Reid's impact was instantaneous, and just a couple of minutes into the second half he grabbed his first point of the year. His first goal of the year followed soon after, rifling the ball past Connaughton, after being set up by Carroll. Three minutes later and this time Reid turned provider, providing the pass for Lennon to grab his first point of the day from play. Louth were enjoying a period of domination and Lennon claimed his third point of the day, after Carroll was fouled on the 20 metre line. A point from a placed ball from corner forward Ian Coffey, stemmed the flow of play for Athlone, but this only instilled Louth to move through the gears. Firstly, Lennon who was becoming a focal point of the Louth attack, latched on to a long ball from Paddy Keenan, side stepped his marker and expertly drove the ball over the bar from 25 metres. The tireless Finnegan was next to add his name to the score sheet, tapping the ball over with his left foot after some good work by Lennon. Minutes later, Smith thought he grabbed himself another goal, only for referee McCormack to disallow a Louth goal for the second time in the game. Carroll and Keenan were both enjoying a dominant period in the midfield sector. Time and again both men claimed high balls, providing a platform for their inside forward line to thrive on. Carroll himself, grabbed the score of the game twenty two minutes into the second half. The Louth defence broke up another Athlone attack and the ball found it's way to the Ardee man who went on another one of his marauding runs from the middle of the field, before curling the ball effortlessly over the bar. Midfield partner, Keenan was not to be outdone and he too grabbed a fine score minutes later after being set up by fellow club man Ray Finnegan. Good interplay between Reid and Smith, led to another score for the Dreadnots man. With five minutes left on the clock, Carroll rose highest to claim another kick-out and after exchanging a neat one-two with half forward Andy McDonnell, he fisted the ball over to push Louth further in front. Substitute Jimmy Murray was to be Louth's last scorer of the day, drilling the ball over the bar with his left foot, following good play from Finnegan and Aaron Hoey in the Louth back line. Athlone, to their credit never gave up, but corner back Colm Garvey's point from an acute angle in the last minute of the contest was only his sides fourth point of the contest.
Full-time: Louth 2-15 AIT 0-04
Louth: Neil Gallagher, Padraig Rath, Aaron Hoey, Gerard Hoey, Ray Finnegan, Des Finnegan, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Paddy Keenan, Ronan Carroll, Derek Crilly, Andy McDonnell, Brian Donnelly, Paraic Smith, Shane Lennon, Derek Maguire
Subs: Ronan Greene for Padraig Rath (33), Adrian Reid for D Maguire and Jimmy Murray for B Donnelly (both half-time), Sean Connor for N Gallagher (45), Declan Byrne for D Finnegan (60). Subs not used: Liam Shevlin, Niall Conlon, Alan Kirk, David Bracken.
Best for Louth were Gerard Hoey and Ray Finnegan in defence, both Paddy Keenan and Ronan Carroll were dominant in the middle, while Paraic Smith, Shane Lennon and Adrian Reid were potent in front of goal.
Scorers: Paraic Smith (1-02), Adrian Reid (1-01), Ronan Carroll (0-04), Shane Lennon 0-4 (0-02 frees), Derek Crilly, Ray Finnegan, Paddy Keenan and Jimmy Murray (0-01) each.
Athlone IT: Gary Connaughton, Cathal Duignan, Ciaran Duncan, Colm Garvey, Mark McCallion, Matthew Mitchell, Aiden Rowan, Ger Dennigan, Paul Bannon, Michael Lundy, David Egan, Eugene Clarke, Cathal Shine, Frankie Burke, Ian Coffey. Subs: Ciaran Curley for Eugene Clarke (23), Cathal Blake for Aiden Rowan (50), Ciaran Duggan for Michael Lundy (50).