Louth are on the cusp of another promotion after taking care of fellow chasers Antrim by four points at this top of the Division three table clash in Ardee.

Such was the importance of the win on the day, and the head to head rule being a factor down the line. If results go their way next week, Louth might be afforded the luxury of losing their final game to Wicklow and still go up to Division two on nine points.

On the field, Sam Mulroy settled Louth nerves in the second half with a 64th minute goal to see off Antrim who were having a mini revival in the outing after wingback Dermot McAleese found the net against the run of play.

Enda McGinley's men were slow out of the blocks and rode their luck at times with Louth going close on two occasions with gilt edged goal chances. Ryan Murray opened the scoring but Antrim were out of sorts.

One change from the Fermanagh game saw Daire McConnon start for the first time in his Louth career on his home turf. Playing in familiar surroundings, it was no surprise the Ardee man, McConnon, settled nicely into the game with an early score.

It's finely poised at the top of Division 3

Louth were dominant through Tommy Durnin in the middle of the field claiming possession and clipping over a point to take a 0-03 to 0-01 lead.

Antrim did respond through a questionable Conor Murray point and Ruairí McCann levelled the game on the 15th minute. Antrim would not score for the twenty minutes as Louth took over.

Captain Mulroy got into his usual flow with three in a row. A free, a 45’ and holding off his marker Ricky Johnston for an excellent point from play.

Ryan Murray chipped over a free to make it 0-07 to 0-04 at the turn, despite the margin, Louth were in full command at that stage. Upon the resumption, Mickey Harte’s side got down to business with three more Mulroy free’s to firmly tighten their grip on proceedings to make it 0-10 to 0-05, Double scores.

With promotion on the line, Antrim didn’t go away and McAleese rose highest at the back post to punch the ball to net in the 50th minute to unsettle Louth for the first time in the contest.

Both Murray’s got on the scoresheet to leave just one between the sides before Mulroy palmed home the winner that will more than likely see Louth play in a higher division next season.

Louth: James Califf; Donal McKenny, Bevan Duffy, Dan Corcoran; Leonard Grey, Niall Sharkey, Conall McKeever; Tommy Durnin (0-01), John Clutterbuck; Liam Jackson, Sam Mulroy (1-09, 0-07f, 0-0145'), Craig Lennon; Daire McConnon (0-02, 0-01m), Ciaran Downey, Ryan Burns.

Subs: Daire Nally for Burns (15), Tom Jackson for Sharkey (51), Ciarán Byrne for McConnon (54), Gerard Malone for Grey (57), Seán Healy for Clutterbuck (72), Jack Murphy for Durnin (74).

Antrim: Oisín Kerr; Eoghan McCabe, Ricky Johnston, James Laverty; Paddy McAleer, Peter Healy, Dermot McAleese (1-00); Michael McCann, Martin Johnston; Ryan Murray (0-03, 0-01f), Marc Jordan, Ruairí McCann (0-01, 0-01f); Tomas McCann (0-2, 0-0145’), Conor Murray (0-02), Odhrán Eastwood.

Subs: Pat Shivers for Eastwood (27), Kevin Small for M Johnston (42), Patrick McCormick for McAleer (50), Eoin Hynds for R Murray (66), Barry McCormick for McAleese (66).

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford)