Gerry Reilly u16 Football Tournament
Round 3 – Saturday, 22nd July 2017 – Millbrook, Oldcastle CPG, Co Meath
Louth 2-14 Longford 1-14
Louth u16s scored a thrilling win over dogged opposition from a strong Longford outfit in Millbrook on Saturday last to set-up an appearance in the Gerry Reilly Shield Final next Saturday against Wicklow.
A number of Louth players made their first appearance in the competition and made telling contributions – goalkeeper Cian Rogan made a number of fine saves at key moments, Caolán McCabe had an assured performance at corner-back, Aaron McDonnell at wing-back kept Longford’s key attacker scoreless, Joe Mee put in his standard dynamic performance at Midfield, Eoghan Ryan worked tirelessly at left-corner forward and speed king Patrick Johnston top-scored with 1-2, his goal a thumping finish and one of his points, an angled effort from distance on the right wing off the outside of his boot a point of top quality. Adam Fee returned to inter-county action at full-forward with 20 minutes to go after a lengthy lay-off from injury and Darragh McCoy entered the fray late on to help shut up shop at the back.
With Mee and McGillick dominant at midfield Louth really should have been further in front after 12 minutes than just 4 points (Nally, Fleming, Johnston and Walsh all play) having 4 wides, 3 shots dropped short and a goal chance spurned. Longford eventually responded and after a good save from Rogan under a high ball they duly cashed in with 2 points. The sides then exchanged points (Walsh for Louth) before Longford went 1-4 to 0-5 in front after a superb goal with slick interchange of passing cutting through the heart of the Louth defence. Dáire Nally then pointed a free before a long range Conor Faulkner point levelled matters on 23 mins. Longford moved 2 points ahead again but points from Cathal Fleming and another Nally free left the sides level at the break; Louth 0-9 Longford 1-6.
Louth started the 2nd Half with great momentum and a splash of Cooley – Mee setting up Johnston for an electrifying score inside 30 seconds. 4 minutes in, James McGillick picked up the ball on the right wing and his effort on goal from all of 40 plus yards fooled everyone, sailing over the goalkeepers’ head and into the corner of the net to leave Louth 4 points up. But Gabriel Bell then spurned a glorious goal chance and Longford responded with 5 unanswered points inside the next 7 minutes to go a point ahead. But Louth mustered a positive response, a sweeping move finished to the net emphatically by Johnston to put Louth 2 ahead on 12 minutes. Another fine flowing move involving Bell saw another goal threat go a-begging before a superb move up the left flank then had Louth 3 points in front after a great finish from Fleming. A sublime Jonathan Commins point then put the Wee County 3 ahead, but Longford weren’t going away and 2 points in retaliation left them only a point down heading into added time seeking the equalising score that would secure them a Shield Final place. But the Louth defence held firm and a number of spells of controlled Louth possession saw their patience rewarded as they tagged on 2 points; a Ryan Walsh free on 32 minutes, followed by a wonderful effort from distance by Conor Quigley to ease the nerves.
Full-Time Louth 2-14 Longford 1-14.
It is hard to single out any Louth individual performance, such was the level of performance from all 21 players utilised on Saturday evening. Finbarr Lynch and Jamie Winters were warrior-like in the full-back line, James Harper and Ruairí always on the front foot in the half-back line. Mee and McGillick complemented each other well at midfield. Dáire Nally again led the half-forward line with a captain’s display with able assistance from Cathal Fleming. Johnston’s electric pace stood out on the inside line where Ryan Walsh was also a constant threat and he displayed some majestic fielding late on when moved further outfield.
Ruairí Hanlon was awarded the RESPA sponsored Man of the Match after the game.
Louth will now face Wicklow in the Gerry Reilly Shield Final in Millbrook at 3pm on Saturday next (29th July). This promises to be a stern test as Cup finalists Monaghan made extremely hard work in seeing off the Garden County by only 3 points in their opening game before going on to account for Dublin in their second outing.
Dublin entertain Laois in the Plate Final on Saturday evening while Meath and Monaghan will clash in the Cup Final on Sunday evening.
Louth Scorers: 1-2 Patrick Johnston; 0-3 each Dáire Nally (2f); Ryan Walsh (1f), Cathal Fleming;
1-0 James McGillick; 0-1 each Conor Faulkner, Jonathan Commins, Conor Quigley
Louth Team; Cian Rogan (Cooley Kickhams); Caolán McCabe (Dundalk Young Irelanders), Finbarr Lynch (St Kevins), Jamie Winters (Naomh Máirtín); Aaron McDonnell (Dreadnots), Ruairí Hanlon (St Colmcilles), James Harper (St Kevins); James McGillick (Ardee St Marys), Joe Mee (Cooley Kickhams); Conor Faulkner (Dreadnots), Dáire Nally, Captain (Newtown Blues), Cathal Fleming (Mattock Rangers); Patrick Johnston (Cooley Kickhams), Ryan Walsh (St Fechins), Eoghan Ryan (St Fechins)
Substitutions; Jonathan Commins (Ardee St Marys) for Ryan, Gabriel Bell (St Josephs) for Faulkner, Andrew Lennon (St Mochtas) for McDonnell, Adam Fee (Roche Emmets) for Johnston, Conor Quigley (Kilkerley Emmets) for McGillick, Darragh McCoy (Ardee St Marys) for McCabe.
Unused Subs; Martin McEneaney (St Patricks), Craig Callan (Clan na Gael), Bobby Butterly (Stabannon Parnells), Gerard White (Cooley Kickhams), Jay Crawley (Ardee St Marys), Pádraig Duffy (St Patricks), Seán Healy (Naomh Máirtín), Joseph Connor (St Patricks), Craig Lennon (St Mochtas), Nathan Buckley (Ardee St Marys)
Players Unavailable; Adam Harper (St Kevins), TJ Doheny (St Kevins), Paul McEvoy (St Fechins), Mícheál Begley (Kilkerley Emmets), Ewan McEnteggart (Kilkerley Emmets), Joe Gordon (Naomh Máirtín).