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Laois 1-06 Louth 1-16

Updated: Sunday, 26 May 2013 19:06 | Comments

Louth were 10-point winners against Laois
Louth were 10-point winners against Laois

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Louth produced a devastating performances to secure a 1-16 to 1-06 victory over hosts Laois in the Leinster Football Championship.

The Wee County played with a stiff breeze in the first half and exploited it well, capitalising on their dominance at midfield with several fine scores.

The Wee County played with a stiff breeze in the first half and exploited it well, capitalising on their dominance at midfield with several fine scores.

Brian White was in excellent form at centre forward throughout, ending the game with eight points in total, three from play.

Shane Lennon was also in great form at the edge of the square, leading the line wonderfully. His goal gave them a 1-09 to 0-03 half-time lead and Laois never looked like coming back into the game in the second period, even when Padraig McMahon crashed home a fine goal in the 60th minute.

The midlanders’ misery was compounded in the closing minutes when John O’Loughlin was dismissed by Cormac Reilly, though the Laois captain will be available for the qualifiers since he was sent off for two yellow cards.

Louth can now prepare for a Leinster quarter final meeting with Wexford in Drogheda and while manager Aidan O’Rourke will expect a much tougher challenge from the Model County, he’ll have to be happy with the level of form shown by his team today.

Four points without reply in the first seven minutes set the tone for the match, while Laois struggled to come to terms with Louth’s greater hunger and aggression in competing for primary possession.

Darren Strong got the hosts off the mark in the tenth minute but it was but a brief respite as Louth’s attacking play continued unabated.

John Bingham swung over a glorious point from the right wing, defying the low number on his jersey and his starting berth at full back, while Shane Lennon increased the Wee County lead to 0-06 to 0-01 in the 14th minute.

Laois finally began to settle into the game at this point, led by some fine turnovers from their full back line, but a lack of movement and support play continued to stymie their efforts to work the ball up the field and create scores.

With ten minutes to go before the break, Louth struck for a decisive goal, while the manner of the strike was salt in the wounds of the Laois team and supporters.

Padraig McMahon lost his footing after collecting a short kickout and he was robbed by Derek Maguire, who advanced on goal before playing a handpass across to Lennon.

The Louth full forward just had to palm the ball home to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.

After the sides traded scores, another shocking turnover just before the break allowed Brian Donnelly to make it 1-09 to 0-03 with a haymaker of a point from 50 metres out and while Laois had the aid of the wind to come, the score at that point was a very fair reflection of the play so far and illustrated the scale of the task at hand.

Points from Donie Kingston and Gary Walsh gave an illusion of competitiveness to Laois’ efforts, but Louth quickly quelled that uprising, striking five of the next six points to go 1-14 to 0-06 in front.

A John O’Loughlin goal was critical when the two sides met here in March and the Laois captain again intervened with ten minutes to go, driving at the heart of the Louth backline before laying off to Conor Meredith.

Meredith in turn played in Padraig McMahon, who rattled the net with a stunning strike.

Again however, the flickering light of hope for Laois fans was extinguished immediately, Kevin Rogers and Brian White converting late points to restore the double digit lead.

Laois continued to press late on but their tackling became very ragged, with both Kevin Meaney and Gary Walsh lucky to escape punishment from Reilly before O’Loughlin saw red in the last meaningful action of the tie.

Laois: Eoin Culliton; Peter O’Leary, Denis Booth, Mark Timmons; Darren Strong (0-01), John O’Loughlin, Padraig McMahon (1-00); Conor Boyle, Brendan Quigley; Colm Begley, Donal Kingston (0-02), Ross Munnelly; Damien O’Connor, Gary Walsh (0-03, frees), Colm Kelly.

Subs: Conor Meredith for O’Connor (HT), Kevin Meaney for Quigley (46), Padraig Clancy for Kelly (49), Kieran Lillis for Strong (55), Paul Begley for Timmons (70 +2)

Louth: Neil Gallagher; Padraig Rath, John Bingham (0-01), Adrian Reid (0-01); Derek Crilly, Dessie Finnegan, John O’Brien; Brian Donnelly (0-01), Paddy Keenan (0-1); Conor Rafferty, Brian White (0-08, 0-02 free, 0-03 ’45s), Andy McDonnell; Ciarán Byrne, Shane Lennon (1-03, 0-01 free), Derek Maguire.

Sub: Paraic Smith for Rafferty (37 mins), Kevin Rogers (0-01) for Byrne (56), Colm Judge for Maguire (67), Ronan Carroll for McDonnell (69), Conor McGuinness for Finnegan (70 +1).

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)

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