Leinster Minor Football Championship
Haggardstown 14th April 2012
Louth 2 - 10
Westmeath 0 - 06
This was an amazing game in which both sides had a purple patch and a poor period of play, Louth came out best because they limited the damage in the first half when they were pretty poor and they made hay in the final twenty minutes when they gained superiority.
The game started evenly enough with both sides quite committed, Louth, playing into the wind were more energetic in the opening minutes, they were wide from two attempts before Robert Quigley opened the scoring on five minutes , Ger Leech had Westmeath level within two minutes but Stephen Kilcoyne replied immediately with a converted a free to push Louth ahead again. Shane McQuillan brough off a top class save. Aaron Curley played the perfect through ball to the inrushing Ger Leech but Shane came out on top with the perfect save.
Louth were by now allowing Westmeath to come at them by defending too deeply, they allowed Westmeath the freedom of the middle area of the field and with many of their clearances going staright to the oppositon they were putting the defence under extreme pressure. It was in this period that the full back line stood up to the challenge and with their goalkeeper they kept Louth in the game. Westmeath added to their own discomfort by wasting many good scoring chances from seven first half wides.
When on top a team must take their chances and Westmeath did this in the final ten minutes of the half when they added five points and three of these can be credited to misdirected clearances. Shane Dempsey two, Ray Connellan from a free, Lorcan Dolan and Robert Gorman put their team four points clear. In a rare Louth attack Shane Matthews got Louth's first score in twenty five minutes to leave three in it at half time.
Shane Matthews had the ball over the bar within a minute if the restart but even with the help of the wind it took ten minutes of honest endeavour befor they could ignite their display. They proceeded to put some great moves together, the midfield was getting a grip and their overall performance was improving. Conor Grimes won a great ball in the middle of the field, his long pass to Stephen Kilcoyne was accurate and Stephen obliged with a point. Substitute Josh Arrowesmith cut through the defence, Robert Marks on his shoulder broke through a strong tackle and Stephen was on hand to level the game on forty two minutes.
Louth had to show what they were made of at this stage and they proceeded to do it in style. They completely dominated from there to the finish, denying Westmeath any second half score in the process, their play was impressive and they were worth their ten point win.
The crowd disagreed with a line ball decision to Westmeath but the kick was fielded in the Louth defence, they moved the ball the length of the field and it finished in the net when Shane Matthews rounded his marker and finished expertly on forty six minutes.
Darren McMahon was a general on the forty and his long pass to Stephen resulted in another point for the O'Mahony's sharp shooter. Their followed two easy misses from frees before Conor Grimes got on the score sheet when Josh did good work. Louth introduced substitutes Cian Doyle and Seanie Crosby and with three minutes to go Cian got a goal with his first touch. Darren McMahon spread the ball wide to Robert Quigley who did well to round two defenders, his cross to Stephen Kilcoyne was broken down bt the defence and Cian was quickest to react.
Josh Arrowsmith did well when scoring a point and Stephen Kilcoyne brought his tally to five in the final minute.
Louth mixed the good, the bad and whatever in this game but the final score was a fair reflection on their superiority in the final twenty minutes which more than made up for an indifferent first half. The defence can take credit for holding out in the first half and the remainder of the side did themselves justice in the second period.
Louth are in the Leinster quarter final on 19th May in an open draw. Also there are Meath, Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Offaly and the other tweo teams will come from the qualifier games.
The management would have been rightly nervous at half time but they must be given credit for a strong overall performance which only came about as a result of good preparation.
Louth; Shane McQuillan, Conor McMenamin, Kieran Lenehan, Ciaran Ward, Thomas McCann, Andrew English, Darren Marks, Conor Grimes 0 - 01, James Stewart, Colm Giggins, Darren McMahon, Mark Newell, Shane Matthews 1 - 02, Robert Quigley 0 - 01, Stephen Kilcoyne 0 - 05.
Westmeath; Brendan Doyle, Bryan O'Donoghue, Luke Corless, David Lynam,Andrew McCormack, Eamonn Quigley, Michael McMahon, PJ Maguire, Aaron Curley, Theo Watts, Ger Leech 0 - 01, Rob Gorman 0 - 01, Lorcan Dolan 0 - 01, Ray Connellan 0 - 01, Shane Dempsey 0 - 02.
Referee; Ronald Malone, Dublin.