Louth defeat Cork
Allianz NFL Division 2 Round 6
by Dan Bannon from DEFY Pairc Mhuire, Ardee
Louth have picked up a wonderful winning habit during Mickey Harte’s short three year reign and another promotion tilt beckons next Sunday in Croke Park with Dublin after coming from five points behind to plunder Cork by two in a relentless finale.
If the Wee county are successful in reaching Division One, they will have climbed every rung of the league ladder in all of those Harte years successively.
In a repeat of the 1957 All-Ireland final, it was apt that this game took place on Ardee soil and the home pitch of Dermot O’Brien, Louth’s captain on that famous day.
Ciarán Downey gave Louth the lead for the first time in the contest as late as the 62nd minute as the hosts ground down 14 men Cork in a relentless finish at DEFY Páirc Mhuire for a famous 1-10 to 0-10 victory.
John Cleary’s side looked good for victory midway through the first half but Daniel O’Mahony’s sending off just before half time would prove crucial.
O’Mahony’s loss combined with promotion being out of the question, Cork’s challenge waned and they conceded five unanswered scores in the dramatic finish.
The visitors were welcomed to Ardee with the custom swarm defence and after coughing up a couple of turnovers Conor Corbett showed his class by whipping over the bar. Still, it was edgy stuff.
The hosts were rightly confident and that was illustrated in Liam Jackson and Conor Grimes scores that twice brought the sides level.
Having missed the Clare game a fortnight ago, Steven Sherlock came back into the side instead of Brian Hurley. A free that he won himself, got the Barrs’ man going and his second point from play was a touch over class from long distance. That class opened the gap and the Leesiders duly took over.
Stretching out to a five-point lead, Luke Fahy and impressive newcomer this season Chris Óg Jones found the range before Sherlock marvelled with sweetly struck 45’.
Louth hanging in the game has been a welcome habit of theirs this season and they grabbed a life line at the other end. Harte’s side countered and worked a goal opportunity that saw Ryan Burns fouled for a penalty.
Burns dusted himself down but Mícheál Aodh Martin got down to his right well to save his initial shot. With panic and desperation, Burns dived on the rebound but had the wherewithal to cleverly palm home.With that newfound confidence, Louth levelled through Jackson and Tommy Durnin’s first. Cork still snuck in ahead when the impressive Tommy Walsh came up from cornerback to make it 0-08 to 1-04 at the interval.
Luke Fahy’s second score had Cleary’s outfit leading for the last time in the contest and indeed it would be Cork’s last score in the game and it came as early as the 51st minute in the second half.
Impact sub Craig Lennon came off the bench once again to point and ignite Louth’s comeback flurry. Dáire McConnon whipped over, Downey landed two either side of Durnin’s rousing second that saw Louth see out the victory.
Louth: James Califf; Dan Corcoran, Peter Lynch, Donal McKenny; Leonard Grey, Ciarán Murphy, Conall McKeever; Conor Early (0-01), Tommy Durnin (0-02); Niall Sharkey, Liam Jackson (0-02), Conor Grimes (0-01); Dáire McConnon (0-01), Ciarán Downey 0-02, 0-01f), Ryan Burns (1-00).
Subs: Bevan Duffy for Grimes (35), Craig Lennon (0-01) for Burns (45), Oisín McGuinness for Jackson (54), Conall McCaul for McKenny (57), Jay Hughes for McConnon (66), Paul Mathews for Durnin (74).
Cork: Micheál Aodh Martin; Maurice Shanley, Daniel O’Mahony, Tommy Walsh (0-01); Luke Fahy (0-02), Rory Maguire (0-01), Sean Meehan; Colm O’Callaghan, Ian Maguire; Eoghan McSweeney, Sean Powter, Ruairi Deane; Chris Óg Jones (0-01); Steven Sherlock (0-04, 0-02f, 0-01’45), Conor Corbett (0-01).
Subs: Brian O’Driscoll for McSweeney (54), Killian O’Hanlon for Jones (62), John O’Rourke for Corbett (62), Cian Kiely for Fahy (73), Mark Cronin for Sherlock (73).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)
Listen to LMFM Colm Corrigan speak to Mickey Harte and Daire McConnon
Video Credit:Shane Cunningham (Cunningham Video)
Photo Credit: Ciaran Culligan