Louth see off dogged Carlow with late scoring surge

Victors earn quarter-final tilt against Meath after freescoring performance

Louth manager Colin Kelly who guided his side to victory in the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship first round clash against  Carlow yesterday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Louth manager Colin Kelly who guided his side to victory in the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship first round clash against Carlow yesterday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 
Louth

championship tally since putting 3-19 beyond Carlow back in 1994.

Perhaps of more relevance considering their reward is a Leinster SFC quarter-final date with Meath, their old enemy, is that the tally was also their biggest since hitting Kildare for 1-22 in 2010.

That was Louth’s last real summer of fun, climaxing with a moral victory over Meath in the Leinster final, even if the scoreboard said something entirely different following Joe Sheridan’s infamous injury-time “goal”.

Six years on, Louth will face Meath again on June 12th at Parnell Park hoping that their latest strong start to a campaign can inspire them to what would be one of the greatest wins in their modern history.

They’re a form team, backing up their Allianz league Division Four final win over Antrim with this impressive 10-point success, five goals scored across those two games and strong finishes to both encounters.

Mind you, they needed to kick strong approaching the finish line in Portlaoise because a determined Carlow trailed by just two points with 62 minutes on the clock.

Flattering scoreline

Anthony Williams

Louth manager Colin Kelly shrugged at the suggestion that facing Meath in a battle Royal next month will be a memorable encounter.

“Lookit, whether it’s Meath, Dublin or Carlow, whoever it is, a championship match is a championship match. What we spoke about before the game was how special it is to represent your county on championship day. If you had one wish it would be that every footballer gets the opportunity to do it once.”

“That’s obviously not the case so I said it to the lads in the dressing-room beforehand that getting to wear the crest on championship day is special and you should treat it as such.

“In four weeks’ time we have another big occasion against neighbours, friends and foe. We’ll treat is as such, give them the respect that they deserve and we’ll have a right cut at it.”

An early burst of five points without reply put Louth into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in sunny, breezy conditions.

But they were never quite out of the woods either and a 0-11 to 0-6 half-time lead was almost wiped out when Carlow restarted with 1-1 early in the second-half.

Chris Blake’s 41st minute palmed goal left just one between them and Darragh O’Brien’s 55th-minute goal brought the gap down to two.

But Louth had enough about them to keep picking off their scores, responding to Carlow’s goals with clusters of points to keep their foot down on the Barrowsiders.

Carlow have a long break now until the qualifiers in late June, though manager Turlough O’Brien is confident they won’t lose any players.

“These lads will stick together,” maintained O’Brien, who claimed the 10-point loss didn’t reflect their efforts.

“It’s hard to understand it. They got a run on us and ran the ball very well. In fairness they worked a few really good scores. They have some class forwards that would cause anybody trouble.”

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