Allianz NHL Div 3A – Rnd 3
All roads lead to Paric na hEireann on Sunday for Tony Joyce’s charges after 13-man Warwickshire got away with ‘murder’ to salvage what could prove to be a crucial draw in Louth.
The Exiles now welcome Monaghan to Birmingham knowing that victory will guarantee them a place in the Division 3A final. Defeat would leave them needing to beat current table toppers Roscommon.
With two rounds to go, Warwickshire are two points clear of third placed Monaghan and only behind the Rossies on points difference.
“It was massive for to get out of there with a point, when we didn’t really play that well,” said Joyce.
“We found out a lot about ourselves and we’re happy. Louth were devastated that they didn’t win the game. We got away with murder.
“Monaghan are a good side and it’s winner takes all. Monaghan have to win too.
“It would be some achievement for us to get up to Division 2B from where we started last year, so we’ll see.”
Warwickshire needed a last-gasp Paul Hoban free to escape Darvar with a share of the spoils on Sunday, after having two men sent off.
The draw maintained Warwickshire’s unbeaten start to the league, against a Louth side which had been looking to follow up their win over Tyrone.
The visitors started brightly opening up a four-point lead, but Louth hit back to draw level. But Warwickshire edged clear again when Ian Dwyer found the back of the net.
Again Louth responded, through a goal from Seaghan Connelly, and a brace of frees from Niall Arthur saw the home side take a 1-9 to 1- 7 lead into half-time.
A red card for Warwickshire’s Colm McBride 15 minutes into the second half seemed to have swung the game in Louth’s favour, and two more Arthur frees put Louth two points up with just four minutes remaining.
When Warwickshire’s Michael O’Regan was then sent off, it seemed all over bar the shouting. But incredibly Niall McKenna pulled one back and then Hoban ensured an unlikely, but crucial, draw for Warwickshire.
“It was definitely a point gain for us,” added Joyce. “At the start of the season we would have looked at this game as one to win, but Louth have surprised everyone this year.
“They hadn’t won at match at home for two years and then they went and beat Tyrone, and Tyrone were firm favourites.
“Our discipline wasn’t great and we were a few players short, so we were a bit patched up. So we’re happy with a draw at the end.
“Going down to 13 seemed to work for us. We just had to go for broke. We pushed everyone up and got a couple of points to equalise. Great character from our lads.”
SCORERS: Louth: N Arthur 0-11 (9fs), S Connelly 1-1, P Lynch 0-2, D Murphy, S Callan 0-1 each. Warwickshire: N McKenna 0-7 (2fs), I Dwyer 1- 1, P Hoban 0-4fs, G Lennon, K McGee, C McBride, N Kennedy 0-1 each.
LOUTH: S Hackett; M Wallace, M Lyons, C Mathews; S Kettle, R Byrne, A McCrave; D Ryan, M Molloy; S Connelly, S Callan, G Smyth; P Matthews, N Arthur, P Lynch. Subs: D Murphy for Matthews, N Devlin for Smyth, B Corcoran for Lynch.
WARWICKSHIRE: C Robbins; D Bruen, A Downey, M O’Regan; S Caulfield, P Hoban, D Kennedy; P Uniake, C McBride; N McKenna, N Kennedy, B Fallon; K Magee, P Crehan, G Lennon. Sub: P Crehan for Magee.