/ GAA

Louth 2-09 Galway 0-15

Updated: Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 16:25 | Comments

Sean Armstrong's late point denied Louth what would have been a surprise win
Sean Armstrong's late point denied Louth what would have been a surprise win

Sean Armstrong's 72nd-minute point rescued Galway a crucial 2-09 to 0-15 share of the spoils against fellow Allianz League Division Two relegation candidates Louth in Drogheda.

The Tribesmen looked like they were on the way to victory when they overcame a seven-point deficit just before half-time to lead by four late on.

For a long period it looked like the Wee County were in control with Derek Crilly's first-half strike putting them firmly in the driving seat.

The visitors managed to turn things around in the second half, however, with captain Paul Conroy, half-forward Eddie Hoare and Armstrong hitting some crucial points.

However, a stoppage-time goal from Paddy Keenan looked like rescuing a shock win for Louth until Armstrong kept his nerve late on to claim what could prove a crucial point ahead of another must-win match against Armagh next time out.

Both sides showed exactly why they are propping up the table in a drab start to the game. Colm Judge opened the scoring for Louth after just 15 seconds but it would be the quarter-hour mark when the next score arrived through Brian White.

Galway, meanwhile, took until the 22nd minute to open their account when Michael Martin converted a free to make it 0-02 to 0-01.

Keenan quickly cancelled out that score at the other end before the home side found the net in the 25th minute. Centre-back Crilly raced onto a neat lay-off from Judge before picking his spot in the bottom right-hand corner with a delicate finish that left it 1-03 to 0-01.

Louth then added to their advantage with further points from Andy McDonnell and White, but Galway managed to cancel them out before half-time with two points in quick succession from Paul Conroy and Garreth Bradshaw to leave it 1-05 to 0-03 at the break.

Whatever Alan Mulholland said at half-time certainly fired up the Tribesmen, and they found themselves on level terms within eight minutes of the restart.

The comeback was started with two points inside the opening minute of the restart from Martin and Conroy. Martin then had a chance at goal that was bravely blocked by Keenan but he did manage to add a free moments later before further scores from Sean Armstrong and substitute Johnny Duane left it 1-5 to 0-8 after 43 minutes.

A further point from Armstrong six minutes later then put the visitors in front for the first time. This was quickly cancelled out at the other end a minute later by McDonnell to bring the sides level once more.

Galway were by now in full flight though and retook the lead with three points inside as many minutes from Hoare, Bradshaw and Conroy to leave it 0-12 to 1-06 after 56 minutes.

Louth went close to levelling six minutes later, however, when Crilly picked out substitute Kevin Rogers on the left, only for his shot to be saved at point blank range by the outrushing Thomas Healy.

Moments later at the other end, Hoare added his second point of the afternoon to give the visitors a four-point cushion but three points in as many minutes from White, substitute Declan Byrne and Keenan had the gap back to the minimum with two minutes to go.

However, a free from Conroy looked like giving them some breathing space until Keenan found the net in the first minute of stoppage time after collecting a pass from Crilly before drilling to the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-9 to 0-14.

A point from Armstrong levelled matters seconds later and despite both sides having chances after that no one could seize the victory.

Louth: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, J O'Brien; P Reilly, D Crilly (1-00), A Reid; P Keenan (1-02), B Donnelly; C Judge (0-01), B White (0-03, 2f), S Campbell; A McDonnell (0-02), E O'Connor, D Maguire.

Substitutes: D Clarke for S Campbell (18) – black card; G O'Hare for P Rath (45); J Kermode for B Donnelly (50); K Rogers for D Maguire (53); D Byrne (0-01) for D Clarke (59); S O'Hanlon for E O'Connor (64).

Galway: T Healy; D O'Neill, J Moore, K Kelly; G Bradshaw (0-02), G O'Donnell, P Varley; F Curran, T Flynn; G Sice, E Hoare (0-02), S Armstrong (0-03, 1f); M Martin (0-03, 2f), P Conroy (0-04, 1f), A Varley.

Substitutes: J Duane (0-01) for K Kelly (HT); C Mulryan for G Sice (49); D Cummins for M Martin (51); E Concannon for A Varley (62).

Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).

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