Louth defeat plucky Carlow

Louth 1-13 Carlow 1-11

Louth 1-13 Carlow 1-11

Despite leaking a late goal and amassing 11 wides, Louth held enough in resolve to grind out a two-point win in the opening game of the 2009 GAA Leinster Senior Football Championship, in mixed weather conditions at Parnell Park this afternoon.

Although Carlow had Derek Hayden dismissed in the 57th minute, they rallied with a Simon Rea goal to cut the deficit to two points.

But their push came too late as Louth marched on to face Laois in the quarter-finals.

Based on their first half performance, Eamon McEnaney's charges should have firmly had Carlow put away in the opening half.

But poor shooting coupled with a more clinical Carlow attack ensured that the Barrowsiders were just three points adrift at the interval as Louth held a 1-5 to 0-5 lead.

Raymond Finnegan's 17th-minute goal was the difference between the sides on the scoresheet.

Darren Clarke fed the inrushing Finnegan who slotted the ball to the right of Carlow goalkeeper James Clarke for the opening goal.

Pre-match favourites Louth had begun the game at a blistering pace with Shane Lennon setting the tone with the opening score inside the first minute.

However, that was the full-forward's only point in the game and he was very much kept at bay.

An overall team ethic stood Louth well with five of their six forwards on target from play inside the opening quarter, with Ronan Carroll completing the sextet in the second half.

Indeed Louth's first and only score from a placed ball came from their joint top-scorer Clarke in the 21st minute as his side opened up a 1-5 to 0-3 lead.

Carlow were dominating possession at this stage but kicked three quick wides while only amassing two points in the second quarter.

Eric McCormack slotted over his side's first point for 12 minutes before defender Shane Myers helped cut the deficit to three points with an injury-time score.

The introduction of Simon Rea into the Carlow attack for the second half gave Luke Dempsey's charges a much needed boost.

McCormack brought his tally to four points inside two minutes after the restart.

But Louth were wise to Carlow's advances, matching them point for point and taking a 1-9 to 0-8 lead as the game moved towards the final quarter.

Carlow's frustration cost them dearly - a second yellow card was followed by a red for half-forward Hayden, which was a devastating blow to a side who were coming more into the game as this contest progressed.

Midfielder Patrick Keenan quickly added a Louth point to extended his side's lead to 1-10 to 0-8 with 13 minutes remaining.

Carlow pressed hard in the closing stages, Rea got through for a 69th-minute goal to cut the deficit to two points.

But with only a minute of injury-time added on by referee Pat Fox, Louth held possession until the end to hang on for victory.

Louth: S Reynolds; P Rath, D Finnegan, J O'Brien; D Crilly, M Fanning, G Hoey; B White (0-1), P Keenan (0-1); R Finnegan (1-1), R Carroll (0-2), D Reid (0-1); C Judge (0-1), S Lennon (0-1), D Clarke (0-4, 0-1f).

Subs used: JP Rooney (0-1) for Judge (49 mins), A Reid for D Reid (62), P Smith for Lennon (67).

Carlow: J Clarke; S Myers (0-1), J Hayden, K Nolan (0-1); S Gannon, B English, S Redmond; J Murphy, W Minchin; B Murphy D Hayden, JJ Smith; E McCormack (0-7, 0-6f), D St Ledger (0-1), M Carpenter (0-1).

Subs used: S Rea (1-0) for Minchin (half-time), D Phelan for Smith (46 mins), D Molloy for Murphy (60), J Kavanagh for Carpenter, V Kavanagh for Gannon (both 64).

Referee: Pat Fox (Westmeath)

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