Allianz FL D3 Final: Louth triumph at Croke Park
Allianz Football League Division Three Final
Louth 1-14 Limerick 0-12
By Dan Bannon at Croke Park
Louth edged this Division Three Allianz Football League decider thanks to a counter attacking goal from Liam Jackson midway through the second half.
In a tight affair, Mickey Harte’s side never looked back after the Ardee St. Mary’s man found the net to climb the hallowed Hogan Stand steps for the first time since they won the Division Four final in 2016.
Both sides' respective top scorers landed placed balls to begin the final. Oola’s Josh Ryan opened the scoring with a free while Naomh Mairtin’s Sam Mulroy settled his side with two sweetly struck ’45’s..
Despite opening Limerick up for two gilt edged goal chances, Louth would rely on Mulroy’s accuracy from placed balls at the tail end of the opening half. Limerick introduced three defenders that didn’t play in the earlier fixture at UL.
Brian Donovan was a huge loss for Limerick, he got injured last week in their win in Enniskillen but Hugh Bourke and Adrian Enright were excellent in the opening period with two points each from play.
As a result, Billy Lee’s side scored four points on the trot as Louth struggled to compose themselves into the final. Mickey Harte’s men went 20 minutes without a score during the middle of the first half.
Eventually after Limerick cornerback Michael Donovan fired over a fine point, Louth ended their drought from the usual source, a Mulroy free, before half time. Enright’s second point was cancelled out by another Mulroy free to make it 0-7 to 0-6, in the Treaty men’s favour.
The second half was point for point with neither side yielding an inch. Limerick held the advantage through full forward Ryan with a quick fire brace in between John Clutterbuck and Ciarán Byrne points for Louth.
Then Jackson pounced to seal the game with a lovely low finish after a move that began deep in their own defence.
Man of the match Tommy Durnin spun over a point in the next attack as Limerick were simply shell-shocked. Robbie Bourke amassed two late frees, but Louth clipped points from Niall Sharkey and Byrne’s fourth.
Scorers for Louth: Sam Mulroy 0-6 (0-3f, 0-2 45), Ciarán Byrne 0-4, Liam Jackson 1-0, Niall Sharkey 0-1, Dáire Nally 0-1, Tommy Durnin 0-1, John Clutterbuck 0-1
Scorers for Limerick: Josh Ryan 0-3 (0-1f), Hugh Bourke 0-2, Adrian Enright 0-2, Robbie Bourke 0-2 (0-2f), Peter Nash 0-2, Michael Donovan 0-1.
Louth: James Califf; Donal McKenny, Bevan Duffy, Dan Corcoran; Leonard Grey, Niall Sharkey, Conall McKeever; Tommy Durnin, John Clutterbuck; Liam Jackson, Sam Mulroy, Craig Lennon; Ciarán Byrne, Ciaran Downey, Daire Nally.
Subs: Tom Jackson for Lennon (25), Eoghan Callaghan for Grey (27), Conor Grimes for Nally (59), Conor Early for Clutterbuck (66).
Limerick: Donal O’Sullivan; Sean O’Dea, Brian Fanning, Michael Donovan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, Cillian Fahy; Darragh Treacy; Adrian Enright, James Naughton, Killian Ryan; Peter Nash, Josh Ryan, Hugh Bourke.
Subs: Robert Childs for Fahy (17), Robbie Bourke for Nash (49), Pádraig De Brún for Ryan (51), Jim Liston for Ryan (59), Tony McCarthy for Treacy (66).
Referee: Brendan Griffen (Kerry).