A two-point salvo from Westerns man Tommy Durnin helped Louth to an impressive 1-14 to 0-10 win over Meath in the O’Byrne Cup on Sunday – setting up a final meeting with Dublin this coming weekend.
All the talk beforehand was of Louth’s possible acquaintance with Joe Sheridan. The O’Byrne Cup semi-final clash with Meath, despite the teams having met several times since that infamous 2010 throw, had more than a feel of a revenge job about it, especially with Sheridan having returned to the Royal fold – having swapped the outfield for a place between the sticks.
He started on the bench but much to Louth supporters delight, he was called upon late on after a black card was given to Meath stopper Jack Hannigan. Sheridan was left powerless to stop Jim McEneaney’s penalty which sealed a final place for Colin Kelly’s team in Drogheda on Sunday.
There was Ardee interest in the starting line-up with Durnin and Ardee St Marys’ forward Ronan Carroll in from the outset at Páirc Tailteann.
After falling behind to two Meath scores, Durnin provided the Wee County’s first point of the game 14 minutes in and he also notched the last score of the first half too, sending his side in ahead 0-06 to 0-04 at the interval.
The Westerns man was joined in midfield by Andy McDonnell for the first time and the duo were superb throughout. Their superiority and physicality in the middle of the park provided the forward players with the platform to do the rest and they did so with aplomb, albeit helped by referee David Moore’s early dismissal of Alan Forde.
Ronan Carroll was replaced by Jim McEneaney after just 30 minutes, coming when Louth trailed by two – 0-04 to 0-02 – and were looking to capatilise on their one man advantage. They did so, with McEneaney scoring 1-01 in all.
Carroll’s St Marys teammate John Bingham played the last 20 minutes having been introduced for Patrick Reilly while Mattock Rangers man Adrian Reid was also a late introduction. Durnin lasted 71 minutes in midfield.
In the end, Louth ran out winners by a comfortable seven point margin against 14 men and their supporters were given even more to cheer when McEneaney put his late spot kick past villian Sheridan.
Much was made of his return to the Meath panel for 2017 and his introduction on Sunday won’t be forgotten in a hurry. But it’s Durnin’s reassimilation back into the Louth fold which should please all associated with the county the most. After missing last year’s Championship campaign while in America, he is sure to be key to hopes for a run this year.
— ThisIsArdee.ie (@ThisIsArdee) January 22, 2017