Tipp brush off late Louth rally

Tipperary 2-10 Louth 1-12

Tipperary 2-10 Louth 1-12

Tipperary withstood a late Louth rally to make the second round of the SFC qualifiers at Drogheda.

Wind-assisted Tipp hit four unanswered points towards the end of the first half, following on from Barry Grogan’s 26th-minute goal.

Finding themselves 1-08 to 0-05 down at half-time, Louth missed a gilt-edge chance when JP Rooney kicked a penalty wide after Tipp goalkeeper Matthew O’Donnell was dismissed.

Louth had Derek Crilly sent-off and despite a late penalty success from Rooney, a Philip Austin goal gave Tipp the necessary cushion.

Louth fell 0-03 to 0-00 behind early on, with their defence struggling to get to grips with Tipp’s attacking play and Brian Fox and Barry Grogan (0-02f) claiming those early points.

By the quarter-hour mark, the hosts were back on terms thanks to pointed efforts from Ronan Carroll, Colin Judge and Shane Lennon.

The Louth fans might have been celebrating a goal but Paddy Keenan left his shooting boots at home and blazed when the chance presented itself.

It was nip-and-tuck over the next 10 minutes but gradually John Evans’ Tipp side got on top again. Robbie Costigan cancelled out a Brian White point before Grogan slipped home the game’s first goal.

Substitute Aaron Hoey grabbed an impressive point at the other end but Louth were still failing to cope with Tipp’s surges forward, and Grogan took his tally to 1-04 as the visitors ended the half six points to the good.

With the wind now firmly at their backs, Louth had plenty of scoring opportunities in the opening stages of the second half but were left ruing missed chances.

Carroll thumped a shot wide of the posts when a goal looked on, and a penalty, awarded by referee Syl Doyle after Colin Judge was dragged down by a neck-high challenge from by goalkeeper O'Donnell, failed to raise a green flag.

Tipperary were reduced to 14 men after O'Donnell was shown a red card, but Paul Fitzgerald was an able replacement in goal and Rooney’s rolled attempt went to the left of the target.

Crilly’s dismissal for a second yellow card dented Louth’s challenge but an exciting finish lay ahead.

With Austin finding the net, Tipperary led by seven points midway through the second half on a 2-09 to 0-08 score-line, but Louth managed to bounce back brilliantly.

Rooney may have missed an earlier penalty, but he made amends late on with his second penalty attempt, sandwiching it in between points from Derek Maguire and Rooney himself.

Tipp drew breath with a much-needed Brian Coen score and while Rooney and Brian White reduced the arrears to a single point in injury time, Evans’ men held on to keep their Championship dreams alive and gain revenge for a 2001 qualifier defeat to the same opposition.

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