HomeFootballLouth reach Leinster MFC semi-final after deserved victory over Wicklow

Louth reach Leinster MFC semi-final after deserved victory over Wicklow


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Wednesday night’s victory in Hunterstown was fairly comfortable and sealed by Cillian McQuillan’s goal five minutes from the end, which put Johnny Clerkin’s team seven points in front.

The sides were level only once – after Thomas Tisdell’s mark cancelled out a second minute effort by the outstanding Brendan Cassidy – as Louth controlled long spells of a fairly tepid encounter in which lateral play prevailed.

Andrew O’Reilly (free) restored the advantage before Conor Clinton and Cillian McQuillan stretched the gap to three early in the second quarter.

Though the visitors held possession for long spells, they were unable to create scoring chances as Louth defended in numbers and with their key players, midfielders Mark Kinsella and Patrick Small, being marked effectively by Ben McKeown and Micheál O’Shaughnessy, Wicklow were restricted to pot shots from range.

The winners led by 0-7 to two at the interval, though they received a let-off in the last play of the first period when Pat Keogh’s blast rebounded off the crossbar with Senón Connolly beaten.

Down the gradient and supported by the gust, Jonathan Daniels’ outfit were far more efficient in the early part of the second half, Conor Doody, Tisdell and Reynolds pointing to cut the gap to two within six minutes.

Cassidy and Kinsella traded scores as the margin remained a couple past the three-quarter mark but fine conversions by Donnacha Skinnader and substitute Ryan Nugent stoked belief in the home ranks and then, after Small added a free, Wicklow suffered a fatal blow when captain Kinsella was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The loss was compounded by McQuillan’s stunning goal, which saw him cut along the endline and drive past Joseph Jacob, and points via O’Reilly and Joe Hanlon, which rendered Tom Doyle’s injury-time major irrelevant in the context of the outcome.

LOUTH: Senón Connolly; Ewan Hoban, Fionn Coyle, Ciarán Devine; Michael McGlew, Donnacha Skinnader 0-1, Conor Clinton 0-1; Ben McKeown, Micheál O’Shaughnessy; Tadhg Devanney, Luke Keenan, Cillian McQuillan 1-3 (0-3f); Andrew O’Reilly 0-2 (2f), Brendan Cassidy 0-3, Tom Maguire. Subs: Joe Hanlon 0-1 (1f) for Devanney (39), Ryan Nugent 0-1 for Keenan (42), Flynn Markey for O’Shaughnessy (55), Jack Long for O’Reilly (57), Shane McMahon for Maguire (60).

WICKLOW: Joseph Jacob; Matthew Fox, Cormac Murphy, Ronan Smyth; Ryan Kinsella, Max Keogh, JJ Brady; Mark Kinsella 0-1, Patrick Small 0-2 (2f); Luca Nolan, Leon Reynolds 0-1, Conor Doody 0-1; Pat Keogh, Thomas Tisdell 0-2 (1m), Simon O’Brien. Subs: Corey O’Brien for Brady (37), Eoghan Ward for Smith (46), Jim Corrigan for Reynolds (46), Tom Doyle 1-0 for Keogh (57), Seán McLoughlin for Nolan (60).

REFEREE: Ian Howley (Dublin)

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