Lory Meagher Cup Final preview: Louth v Fermanagh
Lory Meagher Cup Final
Fermanagh v Louth, Saturday, 3.30, Croke Park
By Colm Shalvey
Either Fermanagh or Louth will join the top of the Lory Meagher Cup roll of honour after Saturday’s final at Croke Park, which is being played before the All-Ireland SHC semi-final between Kilkenny and Waterford.
Fermanagh are in their fourth Lory Meagher Cup Final, having won the title in 2015 after falling narrowly short in both 2012 and 2014, while Louth’s only previous appearance at this stage in 2016 saw them defeat Sligo (who have since gone on to reach the Christy Ring Cup).
The teams go into this decider on the back of a three-team group stage where the average margin in the games was just one point. Fermanagh and Louth met on the opening day, when the Erne County left Darver with a win by the narrowest of margins. A draw with Cavan eight days later was enough for Fermanagh to secure their place in the final. Second place in the group went down to the wire, with Louth edging out Cavan to go through.
Fermanagh have been almost ever-present in the Lory Meagher Cup, bar a brief stay in the Nickey Rackard in 2016, which ended with a heavy play-off defeat against Louth. The Wee County have been regulars at Nickey Rackard level, although they were relegated last year after losing a play-off derby against Monaghan.
These counties have undergone transition in the years since their last silverware, with both approaching double figures in the number of changes to their teams since the 2015 and 2016 finals. Louth are in their second year under former Armagh dual player Paul McCormack and have put their relegation from Division IIIA of the Allianz Hurling League behind them, while Waterford native Joe Baldwin is in his first campaign in charge of Fermanagh, who could only manage one win in Division IIIB back in spring.
Fermanagh, who secured the draw with Cavan despite losing Mark Slevin to a red card, will be looking to Seán Corrigan, John and Caolán Duffy, Tom Keenan, Conor McShea and veteran Andrew Breslin to lead the way and they could have dual players Ciarán Corrigan and Danny Teague available. Darren Geoghegan didn’t start Louth’s first-round game, but he is often their main source of scores, while Andrew Mackin, David Kettle, Feidhlim Joyce and Seaghán Conneely can also contribute, with Ryan Walsh, Jamie McDonnell and Andrew McCrave also likely to play key roles.
Five Lory Meagher Cup Finals have been decided by one-point margins, including the last two, with the 2019 decider going to extra-time. Factor in the close finishes in recent weeks and the evidence suggests there won’t be much in this one either.
* TG4 will be live streaming Saturday’s Lory Meagher final on YouTube.
Fermanagh’s Lory Meagher Cup scorers 2020: Seán Corrigan 1-15 (0-8f); John Duffy 1-4 (0-3f); Tom Keenan 1-2; Conor McShea, Caolán Duffy 0-2 each; Luca McCusker 0-1.
Louth’s Lory Meagher Cup scorers 2020: Darren Geoghegan 0-11 (9f); Andrew Mackin 1-1; David Kettle, Feidhlim Joyce 0-3 each; Jamie McDonnell 1-0; Seaghán Conneely, Paddy Lynch (1f), Niall Keenan, Paul Matthews 0-2 each; Seánie Crosbie, Gavin Kerrigan, Liam Molloy, Ryan Walsh 0-1 each
Lory Meagher Cup top scorers 2020:
Seán Corrigan (Fermanagh) 1-15
Brian Fitzgerald (Cavan) 0-18
Darren Geoghegan (Louth) 0-11
Seán Corrigan is poised to be the Lory Meagher Cup top scorer for 2020 if he can add to his 1-15 tally in Saturday’s final. The Fermanagh forward, who has hit 1-7 from play in two games, is currently level with Cavan’s free-taker Brian Fitzgerald at the top of the scoring charts, while Darren Geoghegan is within touching distance despite only coming on as a sub in Louth’s opening game.