|Louth hurlers reach Nicky Rackard final|
|Saturday, 21 May 2011 16:41|
Louth were dealt with a blow before the game had even started as goalkeeper James Connolly had to be replaced by fellow Naomh Moninne man Eddie McArdle after picking up an injury in the warm-up. The home side made much the better start and aided by the strong breeze they raced into a 0-06 to 0-01 lead by the 11th minute. Full forward Micheal McHugh opened the scoring in the second minute and this was soon added to by centre forward Sean Leonard. Following good work from Donagh O'Sullivan, Murphy opened his and Louth's account in the sixth minute drilling the sliotar over goalkeeper Hugh Byrne's crossbar. However, this did little to stem the Monaghan tide and a further score from McHugh from a 13m free gave the home side a deserved lead. Some slack play in the Louth defence was punished by the Farney men with wing foward Eanna MacSuibhne and midfielder (and Louthman) Trevor Hilliard both opening their accounts. Corner forward Brian McGuigan was next to get in on the act, swinging his effort just inside McArdle's post. Murphy responded for Louth in the twelfth minute from a 65m but soon after wing forward Stephen Lambe got in on the scoring act ensuring Monaghan retained their five point advantage. A free from Gerard Smyth narrowed the gap, but a point from Gary Boyd meant that by the eighteenth minute of the contest seven Monaghan men had scored. Brian Corcoran's first involvement of the game resulted in his opening point, after some fine stick control the Mattock Rangers forward drilled the ball over Byrne's crossbar. Though Boyd added his second score of the contest after pouncing on a loose ball in the Louth defence, it was the visitors who began to gain the upper control in the game and finish the half the stronger. Corcoran began to grow into the game and grabbed his second point after good work from Smyth. Some good hassling by the Louth forward's was rewarded by the referee who presented Murphy with the opportunity to narrow the gap from a placed ball and he duly obliged. With Louth in the ascendency, midfielders Donagh O'Sullivan and David Dunne combined to set up the former and the Knockaderry man made no mistake, rifling the ball over Byrne's crossbar. Murphy's pointed 65m' was the last act of the half as Louth clawed their way back into the contest having been sluggish out of the blocks. Manager Paddy Kelly was a relieved man at the half time whistle as his charges trailed by a solitary point having played in the shadow of the hosts for much of the opening period.
Drizzly rain welcomed both teams out onto St Tiernach's Park in Clones for the second half and the inclement conditions created slippery conditions underfoot. Despite this Louth got off to a flier and a great score from centre forward Shane Callan from the start brought the sides level. A pointed free from Murphy put Louth into the lead for the first time of the match and with the visitors in the ascendancy, his 65m extended their lead further. Some great defending by the Louth defence, in particular the Wallace brothers (Mark and Adrian) and their fellow Knockbridge man Ronan Byrne kept Monaghan at bay. A great save from Byrne kept his goal in tact but Murphy followed up to tap the sliotar over the bar. The home side came back though and two pointed frees from Lambe left just the minimum between the sides with fifteen minutes left on the clock. Play was held up for a time after Donagh O'Sullivan picked up a head injury follwoing a clash with team mate Derek Horan, but upon resumption Corcoran scored the point of match from 70m. Lambe and Murphy exchanged scores before the Naomh Moninne man set up Callan for the opening goal of the game, with the Pearse Óg man drilling past a static Byrne. All thoughts of Louth cruising to victory were dealt a blow thirty seconds later as the Farney men responded with their own goal from Lambe who was found in space by McGuigan and he finished past McArdle with aplomb. Louth needed some calm heads and substitute Wesley Morrissey delivered. After skipping past his marker, he coolly slotted the ball over the bar, and though Lambe added his fifth point of the game soon after it was the visitors who were bossing the play. A fine volleyed effort from Morrissey was due reward for this cameo role as he flicked the sliotar over the bar following good work from Murphy. Deep into injury time a speculative long range effort from Donagh O'Sullivan deceived the unlucky Byrne and sailed in over the Castlebayney man's head for Louth's second goal of the game. Just like the first half, Murphy had the final act of the game, slotting the placed ball over the bar from 45m for his ninth point. This time however his effort was met with joy on the field amongst the Louth players and rapturous applause from the traveling supporters as referee Pat Greene (Galway) blew his whistle for the final time.
MONAGHAN: Hugh Byrne; Alan Lambe, Paul Murphy, Peter Treanor; Mark Treanor, Padraig Dowdall, Jim McHugh; Gary Boyd, Trevor Hilliard; Stephen Lambe, Sean Lenoard, Eanna MacSuibhne; Brian McGuigan, Michael McHugh, Ronan Meegan.
LOUTH: Eddie McArdle, Mark Wallace, Conor Kerrigan, Adrian Wallace; Gerard Smyth, Ronan Byrne, Diarmuid Murphy; David Dunne, Donagh O'Sullivan; Derek Horan, Shane Callan, Brian Corcoran; Diarmuid O'Sullivan, Peter Brennan, David Kettle.
Monaghan Scorers: Stephen Lambe (1-05), Gary Boyd, Michael McHugh (0-2 each), Trevor Hilliard, Sean Leonard, Eanna MacSuibhne and Brian McGuigan (0-01 each).
Louth Scorers: Diarmuid Murohy (0-09), Donagh O'Sullivan, Shane Callan (1-01 each), Brian Corcoran (0-03), Wesley Morrissey (0-02) and Gerard Smyth (0-01).
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 June 2011 21:26|