Sam Mulroy shone bright for Louth as Limerick's unbeaten start to their Allianz Football League Division 3 campaign came to a sudden halt with Mickey Harte’s charges running out two-point winners in extremely difficult conditions at University of Limerick North Campus on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the last-minute change of venue, torrential rain, high winds, hail, and sleet, a healthy crowd braved the horrendous conditions to see The Wee County run out 1-14 to 1-12 winners.
Billy Lee’s men led by five points heading into the final 15 minutes, but Louth slotted seven unanswered scores to earn the two-point winning margin.
Limerick had the narrowest of leads – 0-08 to 1-04 – at half-time, before extending their winning margin to five, 20 minutes into the second half.
After the restart, Limerick had led 1-12 to 1-07 with 15 minutes to go, with Hugh Bourke scoring the Treaty men's goal two minutes into the second half, but four Mulroy frees in-a-row made it a one-point game just two minutes from time.
Mulroy top-scored with eight points for Louth, who only edged ahead after Ciaran Downey put his side in front a minute into time added on in the second half.
The Division 3 meeting of Billy Lee's unbeaten Limerick side and Louth had been due to take place at the TUS Gaelic Grounds at 2pm.
However, despite an early morning pitch inspection, deeming the Ennis Road pitch playable, heavy, and persistent rain on Sunday morning forced the game to be switched as the Gaelic Grounds was 'unplayable'.
The delayed game was thrown-in at 2.30pm.
It was Louth who got off to a flying start – Liam Jackson eased past Michael Donovan before linking up well with Conor Grimes and Conor Early, and as Jackson collected the return ball the Naomh Mhuire Ath Fhirdia man found the back of the net after just two minutes.
Limerick responded well and scores from Naughton, Ryan (mark), and a superb team effort rounded off by Iain Corbett brought Lee’s men to within a point after Mulroy slotted over his first of four frees.
Louth did however extend their lead to three again with Mulroy and Conor Grimes cancelling out two Ryan placed scores – a mark and a free – before Iain Corbett and Hugh Bourke edged Limerick ahead at the break.
Limerick’s goal came just two minutes into the final 35 minutes – Hugh Bourke showcased his soccer skills to slot into the back of the net after latching onto a superb over the top free from Michael Donovan.
From here, Limerick raced into a five-point lead by the 55th minute, but as a dark cloud, bringing with it a heavy hail shower, came over the UL North Campus 5G pitch, it was Mulroy who lifted Louth spirits.
In a spectacular turn of events, Harte’s brave charges levelled terms by the 71st minute, before Downey and none other than Mulroy clinched the win for Louth.
Limerick: Donal O'Sullivan (capt.); Jim Liston, Sean O’Dea, Michael Donovan; Tony McCarthy, Iain Corbett (0-02), Colm McSweeney; Darragh Treacy, Tommy Griffin; Adrain Enright, Brian Donovan, James Naughton (0-02); Peter Nash, Josh Ryan (0-06, 0-03 frees, 0-02 marks, 0-1 '45) Hugh Bourke (1-02)
Subs: Cillan Fahy for Griffin (48 mins), Padraig De Bruin for Enright, Robert Childs for McSweeney (51 mins), Gordan Brown for McCarthy (60 mins).
Louth: James Califf; Dan Corcoran; Bevan Duffy, Donan McKenny; Craig Lennon, Niall Sharkley, Eoghan Callaghan; Tommy Durin (0-01), Conor Early; Conall McKeever, Sam Mulroy (capt.) (0-8, 0-4f, 0-02 ’45), Ciaran Downey (0-01); Liam Jackson (1-00), Conor Grimes (0-03), Ryan Burns.Subs: Ciaran Byrne (0-01) for Lennon (48 mins), Daire McConnon for Durninn(54 mins)Referee: David Murnane (Cork)