A much-improved Leitrim edged out Louth in a nail biting finish to claim their first League points at Pairc Sean MhicDiarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday.
Leitrim, reduced to 14 men with six minutes left, fought a rearguard action against a resurgent Louth who hit four points without reply to leave the minimum between the sides going into injury-time.
A leveller would have been rough justice on Leitrim who were the better side, although conceding goals at the beginning of each half helped maintain the Louth challenge.
The first came after six minutes following points by Kevin Conlon and Adrian Croal for Leitrim when Ryan Burns found himself in space with only the keeper to beat and duly slotted home.
Leitrim responded well, scoring six points without reply. They led 0-11 to 1-4 at the interval. A Derek Maguire goal deflected off a defender three minutes into the resumption gave Louth new hope, but Leitrim hit four points without reply through Emlyn Mulligan (3) and Ronan Kennedy to put five points between the sides.
Donal Wrynn’s 52nd minute point from play was to be Leitrim’s final score as Louth fought their way back into the game, but the tiring hosts held out.
Scorers – Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-7 (4fs), R Kennedy 0-3 (1f), A Croal, D Wrynn 0-2 each, K Conlon (f), S Moran 0-1 each. Louth: R Burns 1-4 (0-2fs), D Maguire 1-0, J McEneaney 0-2, J Calif, G McSorley, K McLaughlin (f) 0-1 each
LEITRIM: B Flynn; R Gallagher, N Woods, M McWeeney; P Maguire, G Reynolds, S McWeeney; D Wrynn, S Moran; N McDonnell, E Mulligan, K Conlon; J Rooney, R Kennedy, A Croal.
Subs: C Gaffney for N O’Donnell (61), B Prior for R Gallagher (62), C Gilheaney for A Croal (66), M Murphy for S McWeeney (70)
LOUTH: C Lynch; P Rath, P Reilly, K Toner; D Maguire, D McMahon, E Lafferty; D Byrne, J Stewart; J Bingham, R Holcroft, J McEneaney; A Reid, R Burns, C McKeever.
Subs: C Grimes 6 for C McKeever (15), G McSorley for R Holcroft (20), J Califf for J Bingham (23), K McLaughlin (49), A Williams for J McEneaney (BC, 63)
Ref – N McKenna (Monaghan)
[Report: Indo Sport]