Leinster SFC: Carlow 2-16, Louth 0-12
The good times continue to roll for Carlow!
Today at O’Moore Park, Turlough O’Brien’s charges swept aside the Louth challenge with a commanding second half performance which set up a quarter-final against Kildare in two weeks’ time in Tullamore.
Late goals from Diarmuid Walshe and Paul Broderick added gloss to the scoreline, but even if those goals hadn’t gone in, there could be no doubting the South Leinster county’s superiority in a game where it looked as if either team was capable of progressing at the interval.
After Laois delivered second half and extra time heroics to overcome Wexford last night, the first 35 minutes of play in this contest were played in an end-to-end fashion, featuring some incredible shooting from both sides.
The two teams came into this contest in very different mindsets, Carlow on a high after securing promotion in the Spring, while Louth endured a hugely difficult campaign in division two and will also feature in the third tier of the 2019 Allianz league.
Despite this, it was the Wee County that burst out of the blocks, with William Woods – one of four championship debutants in Pete McGrath’s team – particularly prominent. Woods kicked two excellent points as Louth moved 0-3 to 0-1 in front, but once Carlow started to get some clean possession, they wasted no time in getting the scoreboard moving themselves.
Paul Broderick was in scintillating form and his first point was a stunning strike on the run at full pace, while a sharp score on the turn from Diarmuid Walshe tied the teams up at 0-4 each after 16 minutes. Louth edged back in front again as Gerard McSorley kicked some great scores from the left wing, but Carlow continued to pose a threat, in no small part due to Seán Murphy’s pace from midfield.
The Fenagh man came as close as he could to getting the game’s first goal when he powered past Darren Marks and stared down Craig Lynch in a one on one situation. The Carlow midfielder rattled the crossbar and saw the ball rebound to safety, keeping the game finely poised.
An 0-10 to 0-9 interval lead looked like a miniscule cushion given the rate of scoring, but after half time Carlow were transformed. Their half back line forced a huge number of turnovers, they shut down the Louth attack and while they struggled to generate the same number of scoring chances from play, Paul Broderick’s incredible accuracy from dead balls kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Ryan Burns chipped over a free after 51 minutes while Tommy Durnin kicked his second score to keep Louth involved at just four points behind going into the closing ten minutes, but Carlow cut loose in style at the death, with Walshe and Broderick showing composure and skill to finish their goal chances and send Carlow into the Leinster quarter-finals, where a fascinating local derby clash with Kildare is their next engagement.
Louth’s misery was completed when Ryan Burns received a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving Chris Crowley in second half injury time, and he’s now likely to miss their first-round qualifier tie next month.
Scorers for Carlow: Paul Broderick 1-8 (5 frees), Diarmuid Walshe 1-2, Darragh Foley 0-2 (1 free), Seán Murphy, Sean Gannon, Daniel St. Ledger (free), Eoghan Ruth and Lee Walker (free) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Louth: Gerard McSorley 0-3, William Woods, Ryan Burns (2 frees) and Tommy Durnin 0-2 each, Declan Byrne, Hugh Osborne & James Craven 0-1 each.
CARLOW: Robbie Molloy; Shane Redmond, Danny Moran, Conor Lawlor; Jordan Morrissey, Daniel St. Ledger, Ciarán Moran; Eoghan Ruth, Seán Murphy; Seán Gannon, Paul Broderick, Diarmuid Walshe; Darragh Foley, John Murphy, Darragh O’Brien. Subs: Chris Crowley for Moran (31), Lee Walker for Morrissey (63) Mark Rennick for Walshe (63), Kieran Nolan for Lawlor (68), Brendan Kavanagh for Moran (68)
LOUTH: Craig Lynch; Darren Marks, Emmet Carolan, James Craven; Derek Maguire, Bevan Duffy, Anthony Williams; Andy McDonnell, Conor Grimes; Ciarán Downey, Tommy Durnin, Gerard McSorley; William Woods, Declan Byrne, Ryan Burns. Subs: Hugh Osborne for Maguire (22, black card), Ronan Holcroft for Byrne (56), Ross Nally for Woods (62)
Ref: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)
Leinster SFC: Wicklow 1-20, Offaly 1-15 (aet)
Goalkeeper Mark Jackson was the Wicklow hero as they secured an extra-time victory over Offaly at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
The net-minder fired over seven points from dead balls and saved a penalty as John Evans’ side marched on to a quarter-final against Dublin.
Wicklow confirmed their progress with a Daragh Fitzgerald goal in extra-time, which was a huge relief considering they should have wrapped up the win when presented with a straight-forward chance in the closing moments of ‘normal’ time.
Offaly, too, had their chances and along with the missed penalty in the second half, recorded some poor wides. It was a contest which, incidentally, featured scores from both ‘keepers, as Alan Mulhall was twice on target for the Faithful County.
Jackson’s accuracy kept the scoreboard ticking over for John Evans’ side when they struggled elsewhere, and they had the greater reserves of energy once the game went into added time, as evidenced by the way Fitzgerald glided through a tired Offaly back line before placing a low shot under Alan Mulhall.
The lack of confidence from both counties was palpable in the early stages as these two sides struggled to find their rhythm going forward, committing a series of unforced errors in a disjointed opening half.
Bernard Allen led the way for the Faithful County in the early stages, shaking off his marker with constant running lines and picking off three excellent scores from play. However Wicklow were still right in the tie as two long range dead ball points from Jackson kept them in contention, even after an excellent solo goal from Anton Sullivan gave Offaly a little bit of breathing room.
Craig Dunne, Conor Carroll and Nigel Dunne all had chances to extend the lead, but they missed the target and two frees from Sean Furlong either side of half time, followed by a John Crowe point, left the minimum between the sides.
The sides traded scores up until the 55th minute, when points from Dean Healy and Furlong tied up the game, setting up a tense finish. A foul on James Lalor gave Offaly a glorious chance to take a clear lead from the penalty spot, but Jackson proved himself to be Wicklow’s hero once more as he dived low and left to turn Nigel Dunne’s penalty out for a 45. Three times Offaly took the lead, the first from that ’45, but three times Wicklow levelled, before both sides missed opportunities in the five minutes of injury time that were added on by Jerome Henry.
Wicklow drew first blood in extra time, Mark Kenny firing over to make it 0-15 to 1-11, before Gerry Spollen responded for Offaly. From then on it was all Wicklow however as Furlong and Jackson racked up the points from dead balls, taking advantage of some fatigued tackling, and the contest was well and truly settled when Fitzgerald kicked off the second period of extra time with his slaloming run and cool finish.
Scorers for Wicklow: Mark Jackson 0-7 (0-5f, 0-2 ‘45s), Sean Furlong 0-5f, Daragh Fitzgerald 1-0, John McGrath & Mark Kenny 0-2 each, Dean Healy, John Crowe, Darren Hayden (f) & Cathal Magee 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: Anton Sullivan 1-2 (0-1f), Bernard Allen 0-3, Alan Mulhall (0-2 ‘45s), Niall Darby (0-2f) and Shane Tierney 0-2 each, Nigel Dunne (f), Cian Donohue, Jordan Hayes and Gerry Spollen 0-1 each.
WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Ciarán Hyland, Jamie Snell, Paul Merrigan; John Crowe, Dean Healy, Saoirse Kearon; Rory Finn, James Stafford; Darren Hayden, Kevin Murphy, Theo Smyth; Mark Kenny, John McGrath, Sean Furlong. Subs: Cathal Magee for Furlong (11, temporary), Ross O’Brien for Snell (27), Eoin Murtagh for Hyland (43, temporary), Conor Healy for Crowe (48), C Magee for Stafford (53), Daragh Fitzgerald for McGrath (67), E Murtagh for Merrigan (70+1), David Boothman for Finn (72), Finn for Smyth (84), Crowe for Hayden (90).
OFFALY: Alan Mulhall; Niall Darby, Declan Hogan, Paul McConway; David Dempsey, Seán Pender, Cian Donohue; Conor Carroll, Craig Dunne; Michael Brazil, Conor McNamee, Ruairí McNamee; Bernard Allen, Nigel Dunne, Anton Sullivan. Subs: Shane Tierney for N Dunne (28), Gerry Spollen for Pender (39), N Dunne for Carroll (53), Jordan Hayes for R McNamee (53), James Lalor for Brazil (56), Anthony Cunningham for Donohue (79), Brazil for C McNamee (80), Seán Doyle for Tierney (80).
Ref: Jerome Henry (Mayo)