Louth’s superiority in the middle tells in the end
Wicklow had game level at 50th minute before Louth reeled off points to pull away
Louth’s Padraig Rath and Paul Cunningham with Darren Hayden of Wicklow during the football championship first round match at Parnell Park, Dublin. Photograph: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Louth 1-19 Wicklow 1-14
Louth advance, but not without being made to work for it by a Wicklow side that belied their league form.
The game at Parnell Park, Dublin, was level after 50 minutes, 1-12 each, but Louth were dominant under Robert Lambert’s kickouts, and reeled off three points to take a lead they never relinquished.
Wicklow did get back within a point, a Lambert free from 50m raising the Wicklow crowd’s voice. John McGrath had a glorious chance to equalise in front of goal only for Eoin O’Connor to block excellently. From there Louth reeled off four unanswered points to win and meet Meath in the next round.
Louth led by four points at half time, 1-11 to 1-7, and started the better team. Their sweepers often left Ryan Burns isolated in attack, but they defended and attacked as one, each line of their team making runs to cause the Wicklow team problems.
Yet Wicklow replied, Seanie Furlong and Paul Cunningham winning ball coming into them even when outnumbered, and they scored a point each in the following minutes.
They then took the lead in the 15th minute with a Mark Kenny goal. Louth goalkeeper Craig Lynch went short all day with his kickouts but this one was intercepted by Furlong, who played in Kenny for an easy finish and a 1-3 to 1-2 lead.
A helter-skelter 10 minute spell saw points coming from all corners until the half-hour mark, Louth emerging a point ahead, 1-8 to 1-7. They kicked three more points before the half-time whistle.
The second half started evenly, and Wicklow had the game level by the 50th minute. However, Louth’s superiority in the middle of the field told in the end.
LOUTH: C Lynch; P Rath (0-1), P Reilly, K Carr; C McKeever (0-1), J Bingham, A Williams; J Stewart, T Durnin; D Marks, P Smith (0-2), B Duffy (0-1); R Moore (0-1), E O’Connor (1-2), R Burns (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45). Subs: D McMahon for A Williams (12, BC), J McEneaney (0-2) for C McKeever (46), D Byrne (0-2) for R Moore (50), S Mulroy for R Burns (53), G McSorley (0-1) for P Smith (58), K Murphy for D Marks (72).
WICKLOW: R Lambert (0-1 free); C Hyland, S Kelly, B Kennedy; D Fitzgerald, P McLoughlin, J Crowe; D Boothman (0-1), N Gaffney; D Hayden (0-1), D Healy (0-1), C Ffrench (0-1); M Kenny (1-1), S Furlong (0-4, 0-3 frees), P Cunningham (0-3, 0-1 free). Subs: A McLoughlin for D Boothman (59), J McGrath (0-1) for P Cunningham (59), P Traynor for P McLoughlin (62), R Finn for M Kenny (69).