Ten years on, but for many – most even – time doesn’t heal. July 11 2010 has and will continue to live long in the memory of GAA supporters in Louth and beyond. This was one of the most controversial inter-county championship matches in the modern era. Maybe even, ever.
Division across the border of Louth and Meath hardly needed stoking. The day marked Louth’s first Leinster final appearance in 50 years – since their final loss to Offaly. A Louth man hadn’t lifted the Sam Maguire for even longer. What transpired – Louth building up a lead, being pegged back and then ultimately defeated by Joe Sheridan’s unjust act – would have hurt enough, had it not been at the hands of their near neighbours and fiercest rivals.
For followers of Louth football and those with no GAA affiliation whatsoever, the game, the TV images and the angry confrontations that followed can be recalled as vividly as ever.
There was to be no first Leinster title since 1957 and since then, a repeat of the trick has never looked likely. The long summer of 2010 has proved to be the exception to the rule of Louth’s championship travails in the modern era.
Below, you can view a selection of images from the day, including in-game images, photos of supporters in the stands and the aftermath of the decision, featuring Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick pleading with referee Martin Sludden, and then ushering Louth fans, who had entered the field, to return to the stands. Click to expand and scroll. All images ©INPHO / Donall Farmer and Cathal Noonan.
The Louth team that was selected to face Meath was: Neil Gallagher; Eamon McAuley, Dessie Finnegan, Ronan Greene; Ray Finnegan, Michael Fanning, John O’Brien; Paddy Keenan (0-1), Brian White (0-4); Andy McDonnell (0-1), Mark Brennan, Adrian Reid (0-1); Colm Judge (0-2), Shane Lennon, JP Rooney (1-1).
The moment that denied Louth and shocked the country. Joe Sheridan remains a name that haunts those associated with football in Louth.
Neil Gallagher’s expression and demeanour says it all as he takes a moment post-match to try and process how the game had been taken away from Louth.