Honours even at Croke Park

Louth 1-11 Wicklow 0-14

Louth 1-11 Wicklow 0-14

Wicklow and Louth must meet again for a replay next Sunday at Parnell Park, following a thrilling 0-14 to 1-11 draw at Croke Park this afternoon.

A late point from Wicklow's top marksman Tommy Gill, who finished with six points, forced the replay.

Mick O'Dwyer's Wicklow side made the better start with three points inside 11 minutes - Gill was on target from a free and open play before a third score came from half-forward Tony Hannon.

However, it was the loss for Louth of their half-forward John O'Brien which proved to be the major talking point in those opening minutes as the Sean O'Mahony's player was injured after just a minute of action and had to be replaced by Mark Stanfield.

Louth suddenly sprung into action and substitute Stanfield scored their first point in the 12th minute before two hard-earned Darren Clarke points and an Aaron Hoey score gave Louth a one point lead by the 21st minute.

Hoey's point came after half-forward Christy Grimes capitalised on a poor kickout by Wicklow goalkeeper Billy Norman, before midfielder Ronan Carroll despatched the ball to Hoey who kicked a fine point.

Wicklow half-back Leighton Glynn played a fine roving role and the Rathnew player kicked the next two points to ensure a 0-5 to 0-4 lead for O'Dwyer's charges.

Within a minute, Louth midfielder Paddy Keenan levelled the game for the third time.

Wicklow were strongest in the closing nine minutes of the half however, as Gill kicked two fine points with Paul Earls and Hannon also on target to ensure a 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead for the Garden County.

There was to be no lapse in Wicklow's concentration levels after the restart with good scores from Earls and Hannon helping their side extend the gap to four points.

Eamon McEnaney's Louth side were not quite finished yet and the introduction of Dessie Finnegan, John Neary and JP Rooney, coupled with the loss of Brendan hAnnaidh on the Wicklow side, ensured a Wee county comeback.

The Wicklow defence were punished for fouling as Darren Clarke kicked over two frees to cut the gap to three points with 20 minutes remaining, but Glynn and Gill responded well with two good scores.

This game was in the melting pot right until the end and a Ronan Carroll goal, after he fisted past Wicklow 'keeper Norman, ensured that the sides were level for the fourth time, three and a half minutes from the end.

A foul on Shane Lennon gave Clarke the opportunity to put Louth into a late lead but with four minutes of injury-time to play, there was still an opportunity for a Wicklow comeback.

Louth had a chance to go two points clear but a Stanfield kick came off the upright as Wicklow went on the attack once more and won some vital frees, including one for Gill in the 74th minute which sent the game to a replay.

WICKLOW: B Norman; C Hyland, D Power, A Byrne; L Glynn (0-3), D hAnnaidh, B hAnnaidh; J Stafford, T Walsh; T Hannon (0-3, 1 45), P Dalton, JP Dalton; T Gill (0-6, 3f), D Jackman, P Earls (0-2).

Subs used: P Cronin for B hAnnaidh (48 mins), J Slattery for Earls (65).

LOUTH: S Reynolds; D Brennan, C Goss, A Page; R Finnegan, P McGinnity, J Carr; P Keenan (0-2), R Carroll (1-0); C Grimes, M Brennan, J O Brien; A Hoey (0-3, 2f), S Lennon, D Clarke (0-5, 3f).

Subs used: M Stanfield (0-1) for O Brien (inj) (1 min), D Finnegan for D Brennan (45), John Neary for Finnegan (45), JJ Quigley for Grimes (57), JP Rooney for M Brennan (61), M Farrelly for Keenan (70+2).

Referee: Brian Crowe (Cavan)

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