Easy victory for Tyrone over Louth
Louth 1-10 Tyrone 1-18
Tyrone are lurking among the bushes, ready to spring another big push for All-Ireland honours.
Louth were no match for a free-flowing Red Hand combination at the tiny Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda, which hosted an all-ticket crowd of just 4,500.
Louth scored just once in the first half, and having conceded 11 scores, trailed by 1-10 to 1-0 at the interval.
The Wee County did show well in the second period, but chief marksmen Colm McCullagh, Sean Cavanagh and Brian McGuigan shared 12 points to see Tyrone safely through to the second round of the Qualifiers.
“We’re happy, but not out of our mind about it. We were creating things, we were moving a bit more fluently than we have been of late, and we were creating scoring chances.
“But we didn’t take as many as we created, and maybe that’s something we have to address,” Tyrone boss Mickey Harte said honestly.
“But I have to say, when teams are creating things, when the movement is there, when the fluency is there, it’s always easier to look at.”
Tyrone had gone three points up in a bright opening when Louth hit back with a Darren Clarke goal to go level in the 18th minute, but that was to be their only score of the first half.
“It was a difficult game in many ways in that we had three points at the start, missed a few more scores, and suddenly with one kick, they were back level.
“The last 20 minutes of the first half was key for us, when we went 1-10 to one goal up after that setback,” said Harte.
That 1-10 to 1-0 interval lead was to prove too much for Louth, and while they did battle gamely in the second period, there was never any danger that they would turn the game around.
“Unfortunately, around the middle of the field, we lost the battle in the first half, and that was crucial, because Tyrone will kill you if they win the midfield,” said Louth manager Eamon McEneaney.
“We had three or four good chances of points in the first half and we didn’t take them, and unfortunately that was our undoing, because we just fell too far behind.
“They had two or three chances of goals and could have really killed us off.”
The Leinster men enjoyed a period of supremacy in the early stages of the second half, hitting points through Aaron Hoey, substitute Brian White, Shane Lennon, and Clarke, who, with a bit more composure, could have had a second goal.
But Tyrone were able to withstand the barrage and recover to re-impose themselves on the contest.
\[Peter Hutcheon\]McCullagh continued to roam and taunt the Louth defence, and the scores flowed off their boots, along with those of Cavanagh and Ryan Mellon.
\[Peter Hutcheon\]And the gap could have been greater had Tyrone taken even one of three other goal chances they created, with Mick Fanning, Paddy Keenan and goalkeeper Stuart Reynolds all coming to their side’s rescue.
\[Peter Hutcheon\]Louth also had a late goal chance when they were awarded a penalty for a Philip Jordan foot block, but Lennon could only blast the kick over the crossbar.
LOUTH: S Reynolds, J Neary, M Fanning, J Carr, B McArdle, D Finnegan, R Finnegan, P Keenan, R Carroll, A Reid, A Hoey (0-1, f), D Reid, M Stanfield, S Lennon (0-3, 1 pen), D Clarke (1-3, 1f). Subs: B White (0-3, 2f)) for Reid (h-t), C Judge for McArdle (57mins), J Murray for Carroll (55), A O’Brien for Finnegan (60).
TYRONE: S Reynolds, J Neary, M Fanning, J Carr, B McArdle, D Finnegan, R Finnegan, P Keenan, R Carroll, A Reid, A Hoey (0-1, f), D Reid, M Stanfield, S Lennon (0-3, 1 pen), D Clarke (1-3, 1f). Subs: B White (0-3, 2f)) for Reid (h-t), C Judge for McArdle (57mins), J Murray for Carroll (55), A O’Brien for Finnegan (60).
Referee: J. McKee (Armagh)