On This Day 2003: Limerick footballers defy the odds to defeat Louth

Original match report from Limerick Leader Newspaper. 

Louth 1-12 Limerick 1-14

HISTORY is within touching distance for the Limerick senior footballers, following their outstanding two point victory over Louth in the Division 2A round six game in Ardee. Liam Kearns' side require just a draw against Wicklow in their final game to guarantee Division One football next season. At half time, the dedicated band of Shannonside supporters, who travelled the 300 miles round trip, would not have foretold the final outcome.

After playing with the slight wind, a disorientated Limerick trailed 1 08 to 0 6 failing to score for the final 22 minutes of the half. Amid splendid sunshine Limerick started in fine style with team captain Muiris Gavin pointing a free inside one minute The Monaleen centre forward finished with a personal tallv of eight points, five from frees and added his second and third points, before the 13th minute

An inspirational long range effort from veteran John Quane and two fine scores from Stephen Kelly propelled Limerick into a 0 6 to 0 3 before the end of the first quarter. However Limerick were rocked in the 17th minute, when corner forward Paddy Keenan shot low to the Limerick net Louth were now picking up all breaks around midfield and the Limerick full back was in all sorts of trouble.

In a switch before throw in Tommy Stack and Diarmuid Sheehy swapped positions, in a move manager Liam Kearns agreed had backfired badly. The goal was swiftly fol lowed by five points from play as a six point gap opened between the sides

Although the final 10 minutes of the half were scoreless, Louth continued to hold the aces. Shots from Gavin and Stephen Lavin, harmlessly into the hands of the keeper were the only Limerick offerings. The lacklustre finish to the half made the second period performance all the more remarkable John Quane resumed at centre back, Damien Reidy went to wing back with Stephen Lavin switching to wing forward, pushing Stephen Kelly into the corner and bringing Jason Stokes to midfield.

If Kearns had got the initial switch in the full back line wrong, he and selectors Billy Lee and Brian Kelly certainly made the correct interval changes. Within two minutes, Stokes and Gavin had reduced the lead to just the goal as Limerick pinned the home side into defen sive mode. Damien Reidy from a 45 and Niall McDonnell exchanged points, before Brian Begley goaled to draw the sides level

The clock showed 17 minutes remained when Michael Reidy shot low across the goal. The ball came back off the upright and ricocheted against both Begley and the keeper before it fell kindly into the path of the Mungret full forward and he duly palmed the ball to the net Christy Grimes responded with points. Either side of a Gavin point from play, to leave Louth ahead, 1 11 to 1 10 with 10 minutes remaining. The games next incident saw the dismissal of Louth's Mark Stanfield. Gavin stood over a Limerick free 30 metres from goal, when both umpires at the opposite end of the field sought the referee's attention. On closer examination, Diarmuid Sheehy was stretched full length on the ground, when the full forward in close proximity. After a brief consultation, the attacker was shown a straight red card.

Scores,Limerick M Gavin 0 8(5frees), B Begley 1 0, S Kelly 0 2 J Stokes, J Quane, D Reidy('45), C Fitzgerald 0 1 each

Limerick: Seamus O'Donnell, Mark O'Riordan, Tommy Stack, Diarmuid Sheehy, Stephen Lavin, Damien Reidy, Padraig Browne, John Quane, John Galvin, Stephen Kelly, Muiris Gavin(capt), Conor Mullane, Jason Stokes, Brian Begley, Michael Reidy Subs, Conor Fitzgerald for S Kelly, Peter O'Dea for P Browne

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