Allianz FL D3: Louth earn promotion
Allianz Football League Division 3
LOUTH 0-16 TIPPERARY 0-12
By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium, Thurles
Colin Kelly’s Louth have been promoted from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League.
The Wee County produced an impressive second half display against Tipperary at Semple Stadium to win by four points and clinch Division 2 fare for the 2018 season.
Louth’s victory moves them to 10 points and on top of Division 3, with Tipperary left to face off against Armagh next weekend in a winner-takes-all showdown for the other promotion slot.
Tipp registered 13 wides and Conor Sweeney missed a penalty in first half stoppage time, but Louth were still good value for the win.
On a glorious afternoon in Thurles, Louth outscored Tipp by 0-10 to 0-4 in the second half – and that proved good enough.
Not even black cards for full-back Patrick Reilly in the first half and Declan Byrne in the 59th minute could halt the progress of a well-drilled and committed Louth outfit.
The visitors had Eoin O’Connor in fine scoring form and they operated with the breeze at their backs in the opening half.
The sides were level three times early on, but Tipp went closest to scoring an elusive goal, captain Brian Fox denied in the 24th minute before Sweeney was handed the chance to convert a penalty.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Michael Quinlivan was fouled in an incident that led to almost two minutes of treatment for the 2016 All-Star.
Sweeney stepped up to the penalty, but his effort struck the upright and rebounded back into play, with Philip Austin on hand to score a point, and hand Tipp a 0-8 to 0-6 lead at the break.
Louth threatened early in the second half as James Stewart forced Evan Comerford to turn his shot over the Tipperary crossbar.
Sensing that there was something in this game for them, Louth grabbed the initiative and a run of four unanswered points put them 0-12 to 0-10 in front.
Louth lost Byrne to a black card after he hauled down Jack Kennedy, but Tipp were handed a setback five minutes from the end of normal time when Quinlivan was black-carded.
Tipp were back to within a point on a couple of occasions, but Louth finished the match strongly; scores from O’Connor (free), Gerard McSorley and Conal McKeever sealed victory, and promotion, in front of 1,067 spectators.
Scorers for Louth: Eoin O’Connor 0-5 (1f), Derek Maguire and Dean Maguire 0-2 each, John Bingham, James Stewart, Tommy Durnin, Declan Byrne, Paraic Smith (f), Conal McKeever and Gerard McSorley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 0-4 (3fs), Michael Quinlivan (1f) and Liam McGrath 0-2 each, Jack Kennedy, Josh Keane (f), Kevin O’Halloran (f) and Philip Austin 0-1 each.
LOUTH: Craig Lynch; Padraig Rath, Patrick Reilly, John Bingham; Derek Maguire, Kurt Murphy, James Stewart; Dean Maguire, Tommy Durnin; Declan Byrne, Paraic Smith, Bevan Duffy; Conor Martin, Eoin O’Connor, Sam Mulroy.
Subs: Kevin Carr for Reilly (b/c 25), Gerard McSorley for Mulroy (41), Ryan Burns for Byrne (b/c 59), Ruairí Moore for Durnin (64), Conal McKeever for Martin (70+3), Derek Crilly for O’Connor (70+5).
TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Paddy Codd, Willie Connors; Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Jimmy Feehan; Liam Casey, Jack Kennedy; Josh Keane, Kevin O’Halloran, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Liam McGrath.
Subs: Liam Boland for Fox (temp 8-17), Philip Austin for Keane (inj., 20), Kevin Fahey for Maher (h.t.), Liam Boland for O’Halloran (59), Shane O’Connell for Quinlivan (b/c 66).
REFEREE: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).