A brace of first quarter goals undid London Senior Footballer’s hopes of a debut win for new manager Ciarán Deely in this Division 4 Allianz League opener at the Louth GAA Centre of Excellence in Darver on Sunday.
With the game moved from Drogheda due to an unplayable pitch to Louth’s training base for a 12.30 start, it meant that the fulltime whistle had sounded before any of the other games started in the Division, but by the end of the afternoon, Louth remained top of the table on scoring difference.
It wasn’t the most impressive start to the campaign by any means from both sides. That lacklustre start could have been attributed to the early throw-in, but at a usually windy venue, the breeze was gentle, with both teams guilty of bad passing and handling errors.
Louth manager Colin Kelly was particularly disappointed at the fulltime whistle by the manner of his sides display.
The hosts boss felt his side missed a lot of chances in front of the goals, and while happy to take the win, Kelly will be seeking a much improved display away to Waterford next weekend, who are chasing their first win.
In contrast, Deely will be hoping for a good display, with Carlow travelling to Ruislip on Saturday, and both sides rooted to the bottom of the Division on scoring difference after the weekend’s action.
While, last Sunday’s fare wasn’t exactly top draw, there were some positives to take from a London perspective. Five players made their starting debuts, with Darragh Quinn, Colin Dunne, Adrian Hanlon, Patrick O’Hara and Senan O’Grady all pulling on the London jersey for a competitive game for the first time.
18-year old Ciaran Healy and A Dunne also featured as substitutes. Sunday’s game also created history with the highest number of London born players to feature for the London Senior team in quite some time.
London-born keeper Gavin McEvoy; defender Philip Butler; and forwards Adrian Moyles and Sean Hickey all made starts.
London born Shane Buckley and Ciaran Healy also featured as substitutes in the closing 20 minutes.
London got off to the perfect start in this game and led by 0-2 to 0-0 early on, with Laois native Scott Conroy and Hickey taking the visitors opening scores.
Declan Byrne opened the Louth tally with a point from his left boot, before slotting home the hosts first goal in the 15th minute, after good work by Adrian Reid.
Jim McEneaney had the ball in the back of the London net two minutes later to open up a 2-1 to 0-2 lead, and this provided the basis for a home-side win.
James Moran and Byrne traded points, but London hit a purple patch with scores from Moyles and Lorcan Mulvey. Byrne was a constant thorn in London’s side and produced the final score of the half, as Louth took a 2- 3 to 0-5 interval lead.
London worked hard on the restart, and had that lead cut to three points on two occasions in the second half. Mulvey, Moyles and Hickey worked hard in the scoring stakes.
Hickey kicked the opening point of the second half, but Louth rallied with James Stewart, McEneaney and Darren McMahon on target.
Scores from Mulvey and Moyles cut the gap, with just a trio of points between the sides with seven minutes remaining.
However, Louth steadied the ship with a McEneaney pointed free either side of a Ruairí Moore score securing a sixpoint win.
Sunday’s game also marked Louth captain Adrian Reid’s 100th Senior appearance for his county.
LOUTH: Craig Lynch; Padraig Rath, Paddy Reilly, Kevin Toner; Derek Maguire, Darren McMahon (0-1), Eoghan Lafferty; Tommy Durnin, James Califf; Declan Byrne (1-3), James Stewart (0-1), Adrian Reid; Conall McKeever, Jim McEneaney (1-3, 2f), Conor Grimes.
SUBS: Gerard McSorley for Durnin (12); Ruairi Moore (0-1) for Califf (59); John Bingham for Rath (62); Ronan Holcroft for Byrne (68).
LONDON: Gavin McEvoy; Philip Butler, Dave McGreevy, Darragh Quinn; Caoimhin Carty, Danny Ryan, Colin Dunne; James Moran (0-1), Lorcan Mulvey (0-3, 1f); Adrian Moyles (0-2), Senan O’Grady, Adrian Hanlon, Sean Hickey (0- 2), Scott Conroy (0-1), Patrick O’Hara.
SUBS: Alan Dunne for Quinn (50); John Lynch for Conroy (50); Shane Buckley for C Dunne (60); Ciaran Healy for Hickey (66).
REFEREE: Paul Faloon (Down)