The Connacht side were a point down with five minutes left to play, but Aidan Brogan’s well-struck equaliser set up a nail-biting finish. John O’Brien had a chance to win it for Sean O’Mahony’s but his 30-metre free was blocked. From the ensuing counter-attack, the Ballintubber/Ballymoe-based side won a free, which Smyth converted. Conor Finnegan could have rescued it for the Louth men with the final kick of the game but dragged his free wide. It was a deserved win for a Croan’s side that led by 0-9 to 2-0 at the interval.
Sean O’Mahony’s came back into the contest in the closing 20 minutes, turning a three-point deficit into a one-point lead before succumbing in the dying moments.
Scorers for St Croan’s: K Smyth 0-5 (4fs), A Brogan 0-3, M Holland 0-2, M Connaughton 0-2 (1 45), K Keenan 0-1, S Smyth 0-1.
Scorers for Sean O’Mahony’s: S Kilcoyne 1-3 (2fs), C Crawley 1-0, S Fisher 0-2, G Mulligan 0-2.
ST CROAN’S: V Egan; G Mockler, G Grogan, K Keenan; D Malone, E Towey, M Connaughton; R Timothy, B Mullin; K Smyth, J Connaughton, K Muldoon; R Keenan, M Holland, A Brogan. Subs: S Smyth for Mullin (28), P Leech for Malone (40, black card), M Towey for Muldoon (45), C Connelly for Brogan (58).
SEAN O’MAHONY’S: K Brennan; P O’Brien, M Clarke, R Byrne; K Murphy, J O’Brien, K McLaughlin; P Nixon, S Brennan; L Dullaghan, C Finnegan, G Mulligan; S Fisher, C Crawley, S Kilcoyne. Subs: C Martin for O’Brien (18), J Connolly for Martin (40), C Martin for Crawley (49), D Dowling for Kilcoyne (57).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).