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Louth find Red Hands are too hot to handle

By Declan Mooney

Tyrone 2-13 Louth 0-13

Tyrone maintained their perfect start to their league campaign when they had six points to spare over Louth in Drogheda in an entertaining encounter.

Louth had began the brighter of the two sides but as the half wore on Tyrone got on top although they had keeper John Devine to thank for two stunning saves to enable them to lead 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

The home side opened the scoring inside 25 seconds through Mark Brennan but Tyrone were soon on level terms through an Owen Mulligan free. Kyle Coney then weighed in with a superb score from distance before Devine denied Adrian Reid in the sixth minute with an outstanding save.

Two well taken points in the space of a minute from Derek Crilly had Louth in front and half back Ray Finnegan increased their advantage with a fine effort with the outside of the boot.

A sharp turn from Coney saw him register another quality point before full forward Martin Penrose levelled matters with a well struck long range free.

In the 16th minute the Red Hands struck for an outstanding goal with Joe McMahon, Mark Donnelly and Niall McKenna involved in the build up with the latter offloading to centre half back Peter Harte who gave keeper Neil Gallagher no chance with a cracking finish.

Paddy Keenan responded with a free for the hosts but Tyrone were looking the part with right half back Cathal McCarron venturing forward to take a well worked point. In the 21st minute Louth had a chance to draw level but Brennan was denied by Devine.

Brian Donnelly and Mulligan exchanged points from frees before Harte scored from a placed ball from almost 50 metres out to give his side a deserved four point lead at the break.

Derek Maguire and Niall McKenna exchanged points on the restart before Tyrone were awarded a fourth minute penalty when Donnelly was fouled but keeper Neil Gallagher saved Harte’s spot kick. Four minutes later though the visitors had a firm grip on proceedings when left half back Damian McCaul burst through for a stunning finish. Maguire and Jim McEnaney reduced the deficit with points apiece before Louth had a let off when Ronan McNabb and McMahon both hit the woodwork before Donnelly pointed from the rebound. The hosts were dealt a blow when midfielder Paddy Keenan was sent off for a second yellow card offence. Brian White and Darren Clarke both scored to leave four between the sides.

With two minutes of normal time left to play keeper Devine again came to his side’s rescue with a good save with his feet to thwart Clarke.

McCarron capped a 40-metre run with his second point of the afternoon, Mulligan pointed and Donnelly closed out the game.

Louth: N Gallagher, G Hoey, D Finnegan, J Carr, R Finnegan [0-1], M Fanning, L Shevlin, P Keenan [0-1], B Donnelly [0-1], D Crilly [0-2], A McDonnell [0-1], A Reid, D Maguire [0-3], R Carroll, M Brennan [0-1]. Subs: J McEnaney [0-1] for Reid, R Greene for Fanning, D Clarke [0-1] for Crilly, B White [0-1] for Carroll, E O’Connell for Brennan

Tyrone: J Devine, A McCrory, C Clarke, PJ Quinn, C McCarron [0-2], P Harte [1-1], D McCaul [1-0], N McKenna [0-1], Joe McMahon, R McNabb, M Donnelly [0-2], P McNiece [0-1], K Coney [0-2], M Penrose [0-1], O Mulligan [0-3]. Subs: S Cavanagh for Coney, C Cavanagh for McKenna, R McMenamin for McCaul, Justin McMahon for McCarron

Referee: G McCormack (Dublin).

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