Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Louth 2-7 - 0-14 Armagh: McNally magic gives Armagh edge

Battle: Armagh's Eddie English with Louth's Ronan Greene

Armagh pipped Louth by a single point in the Cardinal O'Fiaich Cup at a windswept Crossmaglen yesterday.

Conor McNally's late free with three minutes of normal time remaining gave the Orchard County the win over their near neighbours to add to their victory over Down in midweek as the hosts opted to play their under-21 side with Steven McDonnell taking charge.

They raced into a four-point lead with just 10 minutes on the clock playing with the wind in the first half as Michael McKeown got the scoring underway and then Eddie English and Callum Cumiskey, from a free.

Louth got off the mark on 11 minutes with Kevin Rodgers converting before English made it 0-5 to 0-1 two minutes later. Declan Byrne cut the lead to a goal with an excellent point from play but Armagh rattled off four scores without reply in four minutes.

Joe McElroy pointed off his left boot before Paul McGeown hooked over following a quickly-taken free.

However, Louth gave themselves a huge boost going into the break, scoring 1-2 to Armagh's two points to reduce the deficit to four. Keith McLaughlin pointed on 26 minutes before John Kermode got the Louth goal when he sped through the middle before lashing the ball into the roof of the net off the underside of the crossbar a minute later. Points from Michael Gogarty and a McGeown free for Armagh sandwiched Eoin O'Connell's score for Louth.

Louth then came out of the blocks for the second period the quicker of the sides and hit another quickfire 1-2 salvo to take the lead for the first time in the match.

Brian White pointed on 38 minutes before Cavan referee Noel Mooney awarded a penalty when Kieran McCooey pulled down William Woods and Woods got up to smash the ball past Armagh keeper Noel McCoy. Woods then tagged on a point on 40 minutes.

Gogarty levelled it up from a free on 49 minutes before Ethan Rafferty produced a fine point to put Armagh in the ascendancy again. Byrne levelled with seven minutes to go before McNally ensured the win for Armagh.

Armagh: N McCoy; S Kearns, S Kelly, K McCooey; D O'Hagan (0-1), P Crilly, J McElroy (0-1); A Findon, B Malone; M Gogarty (0-3, 1f), M McKeown (0-1), E Rafferty (0-1); E English (0-1, free), P McGeown (0-3, 2f), C Cumiskey (0-2, 1f). Subs: A Nugent for Cumiskey (29mins), F Burns for Crilly (42mins), B McCann for Kearns (42mins), S Reavey for Burns (47mins), C McNally (0-1, free) for Gogarty (59mins)

Louth: S McCoy; R Green, D Finnegan, T Costello; C O'Hanlon, G Connolly, K McLoughlin (0-1); J Kermode (1-0), B White (0-1); D Byrne (0-2), S Hand, E O'Connell (0-1), S Campbell, K Rogers (0-1, free), W Woods (1-1, 1pen). Subs: C Doyle for Rogers (42mins), D O'Hanlon for C O'Hanlon (42mins), C Murray for Hand (57mins)

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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