Leitrim 0-25 Louth 1-12
Louth manager Pete McGrath will ‘consider his future’ after his first year in charge ended in a shock defeat at Leitrim on Saturday.
On the back of relegation to Division 3 of the NFL, Louth were dumped out of the Leinster championship after a heavy 2-17 to 0-12 defeat to Carlow. They regrouped to beat London but came unstuck at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.
“I will consider my first season in Louth. I will look at it and make a decision which will be in the interest of Louth football and in my own interest,” said McGrath.
“The county board have been very very good. The training facilities are excellent. Whatever we asked for we got.
“Is there that real desire to play for Louth, to make the sacrifices, to put all the things aside? When you get so many people leaving the squad, then you have got to question things. And people who didn’t commit at the start of the year at all. I will consider that.
“You look to Division 3 next year and the teams, all quite formidable at that level. I have to consider all of that when I see are the players there to commit and be a real force, and to build for the 2019 championship.
“You have to look at that very objectively and pragmatically. There is no point in being romantic. I don’t know if the players are there. I don’t know Louth football well enough.
Louth were in control when they led 1-4 to 0-2 early on, after William Woods’ goal in the third minute. But a black card for Ronan Holcroft was compounded by a straight red for James Craven eight minutes before half-time.
Leitrim had begun their fightback and despite Alan Armstrong’s black they rallied in the second quarter. Brendan Gallagher, Jack Heslin and Damien Moran combined to reduce the arrears. And two late points from the influential Emlyn Mulligan meant they only trailed by 1-7 to 0-9 at half-time.
Leitrim, hammered 0-24 to 0-10 by Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final, were a changed side on the restart. They reeled off six points in a row and kept their opponents scoreless until the 50th minute.
When Moran scored his second point in the 47thminute they were 0-15 to 1-7 in charge. Woods finally got back Louth back on the scoresheet but the momentum was with Leitrim.
Moran and Mulligan hit six points apiece as the Connacht minnows recorded only their third victory in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Leitrim manager Brendan Guckian said: “I am just happy for the lads. They showed people what they can do. We asked them to express themselves and they did that today. They kicked 21 scores from play and that’s a great return. All week people have been talking about guys leaving the panel. But we have a very unified panel, and dressing room.
“It’s not about individuals. Emlyn Mulligan is a great example. But the young fellas stood up, Jack Heslin, Ryan O’Rourke, Darragh Rooney, Damien Moran, the older guys, Emlyn, Michael McWeeney. It was a great team, a great panel effort.”
Scorers for Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-6 (3f), D Moran 0-6, J Heslin 0-3, D Rooney 0-3, R O’Rourke 0-3 (f), D Wrynn 0-1, B Gallagher 0-1, D McGovern 0-1, D Flynn 0-1.
Scorers for Louth: W Woods 1-7 (6f, 0-1 45), D Byrne 0-3, T Durnin 0-1, C Downey 0-1.
LEITRIM: D McKiernan; P Maguire, A Armstrong, M McWeeney; J Rooney, S Quinn, N Plunkett; D Moran, D Wyrnn; D Rooney, J Heslin, A Flynn; R O’Rourke, E Mulligan, B Gallagher.
Subs: J Mitchell for Armstrong (9 BC), D McGovern for A Flynn (45), C McGloin for Gallagher (46), E Ward for Rooney (57), D Flynn for Mulligan (61 BC), N McWeeney for Wrynn (67).
LOUTH: N Gallagher; D Marks, E Carolan, J Craven; D Maguire, B Duffy, A Williams; A McDonnell, T Durnin; C Downey, D Byrne, G McSorley; W Woods, C Grimes, R Holcroft.
Subs: R Burns for Holcroft (27 BC), N Conlon for McSorley (44), H Osborne for Marks (53), J McEneaney for Byrne (63), E Lafferty for Williams (70).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).
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