Ryan Burns stands on the cusp of his best scoring season yet in league competition for Louth, but his four point haul on Sunday wasn’t enough for Colin Kelly’s men as they fell to their first league defeat of the campaign against Armagh in Drogheda.
Kieran McGeeney’s side proved the sternest test yet of Louth’s back-to-back promotion credentials as they hit back from the dismissal in the opening minute of Aidan Forker to run out 3-15 to 0-11 victors at the Gaelic Grounds. Anthony Williams’ 12th minute sending off never really gave the Wee County the chance to put their numerical advantage to good use.
Two first half goals helped Armagh buid up a sizeable lead ahead of the interval and although Louth did offer some resistance in the form of a flurry of scores before the whistle, a number of wides meant the deficit was still five points at the break.
In that first half, Hunterstown man Ryan Burns hit two frees and a 45′ as he and Paraic Smith accounted for all of the scores in Louth’s vain efforts to keep pace with the men from the Orchard County. After half time, Westerns midfielder Tommy Durnin – one of the side’s better performers on the day with another muscular and rangey midfield show – added two points from play and Burns himself notched another free. But Armagh weren’t in the mood for giving up their lead – doubling their half time tally by the end.
Burns’ second half effort brought his tally for the league season to 3-17 – matching his tally from his debut league season in 2015 when he notched 1-23 for Louth in a season they were relegated fom Division Three. This time, Louth are heading in the opposite direction.
Any score in the final two games of the league group will see him surpass that tally. Last year, he fell just short of his best tally – scoring 1-22 en route to Division Four success. Of course, Burns is no stranger to shooting Louth to wins when the Championship comes around either.
Also on Sunday, there was Ardee representation in the form of Ardee St Marys man John Bingham who lined out in the full backs and played 43 minutes before being replaced by Gerard McSorley.