20 May 2022

Limerick lose out to Louth in Allianz League Football decider at Croke Park

Limerick lose out to Loth in Allianz League Football decider at Croke Park

Iain Corbett of Limerick in action against Tommy Durnin of Louth during the Allianz Football League Division 3 final at Croke Park on Saturday

A LIAM Jackson goal on the three-quarter mark proved to be the difference as Limerick fooballers' first appearance at Croke Park in nine years ended in a 1-14 to 0-12 defeat to Louth in Saturday's Allianz National Legue Division Three final.

Up to that point, little separated the side as the losers survived two goal scares early on before finishing the first half the stronger to lead by 0-7 to 0-6.

However, forced to take the game to their opponents after they fell behind, Limerick, already guaranteed of promotion to Division 2 for next year, left enough spaces at the back for the Wee County to stretch their lead.

Josh Ryan's free opened the scoring as both sides tried to open the shot spaces before Sam Mulroy equalised off a '45' and Ciarán Byrne gave Louth the lead.

They could have widened it considerably had Seán O'Dea not gathered Mulroy's flick on the goal line and Limerick made most of the escape as Adrian Enright ended the break from the clearance by splitting the posts at the other end.

But the pressure wasn't over. Mike Donovan had to spread himself across Tommy Durnin's rasping ground shot to block another goal attempt, Mulroy sent over the resulting '45' and Dairer Nally then doubled the margin.

However, the Wee County's momentum was halted by Hugh Bourke's immediate reply, his follow-up drew the sides level and, attacking now with greater fluency Peter Nash and Donovan put Limerick two ahead. Coming up to the break, Mulroy broke the sequence with a free and added another after Enright's reply to pull the Limerick lead back to 0-7 to 0-6.

Ryan struck twice on the resumption but each was met in turn by John Clutterbuck and Byrne as was Nash's strike by Mulroy. But the tit-for-tat then ended when a Limerick attack broke down, Byrne's long pass pass from the clearance found Liam Jackson who raced into the gap to give the advancing Donal O'Sullivan no chance.

With tails up and given more space as Limerick tried to respond, Durnin, Byrne and Mulroy's free stretched the gap to five and, after Robbie Bourke interupted the run off a free, Byrne and Niall Sharkey got it moving again. Bourke did manage to close the scoring off another placed ball before Conall McKeever departed on a black and Paul Maher evened up the numbers by picking up one as well.

SCORERS: LOUTH: Sam Mulroy 0-6 (3 frees, 2 '45's), Ciarán Byrne 0-4, Liam Jackson 1-0, Daire Nally, John Clutterbuck, Tommy Durnin, Niall Sharkey 0-1 each; LIMERICK: Josh Ryan 0-3 (1 free), Adrian Enright, Hugh Bourke, Peter Nash, Robbie Bourke (2 frees) 0-2 each, Mike Donoivan.

LOUTH: James Califf; Dan Corcoran, Bevan Duffy, Donal McKenry; Craig Lennon, Niall Sharkey, Liam Jackson,; Tommy Durnin, John Clutterbuck; Conal McKeever, Sam Mulroy, Ciarán Downey; Craig Lennon, Ciarán Byrne, Daire Nally. SUBS: Tom Jackson for Craig Lennon (injured, 25 minutes), Eoghan Callaghan for Leonard Grey (27 minutes), Conor Grimes for Daire Grimes (58 minutes), Conor Early for John Cluttherbuck (65 minutes).

LIMERICK: Donal O'Sullivan; Seán O'Dea, Brian Fanning, Mike Donovan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, Paul Maher; Darragh Treacy, Cillian Fahy; Adrian Enright, Killian Ryan, James Naughton; Peter Nash, Josh Ryan, Hugh Bourke. SUBS: Bob Childs for Cillian Fahy (injured, 16 minutes), Robbie Bourke for Peter Nash (48 minutes), Pádraig de Brún for Killian Ryan (50 minutes), Jim Liston for Josh Ryan (58 minutes), Tony McCarthy for Darragh Gtreacy (65 minutes).

REFEREE: Brendan Gleeson (Kerry).

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