Westerns GFC picked up their first win of the campaign on home soil on Tuesday night as they edged out Mid-Louth rivals Stabannon Parnells by the narrowest of margins in Reaghstown – winning 1-12 to 1-11.
In round six of the Division Three league, the Westerns welcomed Louth man Tommy Durnin back into the club fold following the end of his summer commitments in the county jersey. They were thankful for his presence too.
As well as providing midfield power, Durnin is one of the club’s most potent attacking forces and showed it upon his return. His tally of 0-05 for his evening’s work underlined his importance to the cause with Junior Championship fixtures now just around the corner.
Stabannon roared out of the traps courtesy of three unanswered points inside five minutes. But the Westerns soon turned things around. Durnin’s opening score – from a free – got them off the mark before half back Sean McGuinness netted.
Those scores swung the early momentum back in Westerns favour. Durnin scored another free and that lead could have been extended only for wides via the boots of Niall Moynagh and Terence Sweeney.
As the Parnells kept giving away frees, Durnin continued to duly oblige. He slotted over to make it 1-03 to 0-03. Parnells scored points either side of a brace of points from play from Trevor Baylon and Sweeney.
The Westerns’ Louth star again was accurate from a free and Ciaran Scriven got off the mark before referee Fintan Levins blew the half time whistle. Stabannon were guilty of four wides in the last five minutes of play to leave it 1-07 to 0-05.
Either side of two points from Anthony Durnin immediately after the restart, the visitors were again wide of the mark. As their frustration grew, a goal reduced their arrears to four and raised hopes of a comeback.
A Sweeney point quelled those hopes briefly but wides from Baylon and then Durnin – his first off target effort of the night – allowed Stabannon to keep the lead within reach. Three points – two from play and one free – in the space of two minutes at the midway point of the half kept them in it.
With ten minutes to play, the seven point deficit from just after half time was down to one. When the pressure was on, Durnin found his range again while Moynagh notched his second score of the game to make it a three point game.
Two late points – including one three minutes into injury time – wasn’t enough as Parnells sought the goal that would have won the game at the death. Having picked up their only previous two point haul courtesy of a walk over against St Brides in Round 2, a league win earned on the pitch will be welcome for the Kevin Mullen Shield finalists.
Even more pressing is the beginning of the Junior Championship group stages were local rivals John Mitchels and Sean McDermotts await. Having Durnin back after he missed last summer’s matches gives the Reaghstown men every chance.
WESTERNS: Peter Shiels, Mick Martin, James Ward, PJ Marron, Sean McGuinness (1-00), Stephen Boylan, Shane Matthews, Tommy Durnin (0-05), Terence Sweeney (0-02), Anthony Durnin (0-02), Niall Moynagh (0-02), Andy Kerr, Conor Kerr, Ciaran Scriven (0-01).
Elsewhere on Tuesday, John Mitchels suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Lann Leire in Ballybailie – going down 0-08 to 2-13. That result leaves the Mitchels with five defeats in six and languishing just above hapless Dowdallshill at the foot of the Division Three table. Sean McDermotts meanwhile were 2-11 to 2-07 winners over Dowdallshill. That leaves the Seans in fifth position, in amongst the chasing pack.
In Division Two, Hunterstown continued their superb start to the season with yet another win – this time comfortably seeing off Na Piarsaigh 2-12 to 1-05 at Pairc Baile Fiach. Jim Mathews’ side trail league leaders by just one point and are fully deserving of their place towards the top of the second tier.
Finally, Ardee St Marys suffered defeat in Drogheda as Newtown Blues ran out 2-16 to 3-11 winners. Despite goals from midfield duo Ronan Carroll and Robbie Leavy as well as Alan Kirk, the Marys fell to their second defeat of the league campaign. The Ardee men held a three point advantage at the break and while Kirk finished the game with 1-04 and Mark Fay scored 0-03, a strong second half showing from the home side saw them claim the spoils.
Tuesday’s Louth GAA League scores
- DIV 1 – Newtown Blues 2-16 Ardee St Marys 3-11
- DIV 2 – Hunterstown Rovers 2-12 Na Piarsaigh 1-05
- DIV 3 – Westerns 1-12 Stabannon Parnells 1-11
- DIV 3 – Sean McDermotts 2-11 Dowdallshill 2-07
- DIV 3 – John Mitchels 0-08 Lann Leire 2-13