Joe O’Brien shoots nine points as Longford beat Louth in the Nicky Rackard Cup

Nicky Rackard Cup Senior Hurling Championship Group 1 - Round 2

Nicky Rackard Cup

Colum O'Meara, the manager of the Longford senior hurling squad.

Showing a lot of resilience in a game they had to win to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-finals, Longford got the better of Louth in the Round 2 clash at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday.

Longford . . . 0-19       Louth . . . 0-12

So often the matchwinner for the county senior hurlers in the past the prolific Joe O’Brien played another leading role in this well deserved success, shooting a total of nine points (eight in the first half) as his side consolidated their comfortable 0-13 to 0-4 lead at the break.

When the counties clashed in Division 3A of the National League at the same venue earlier in the season, the outstanding Niall Arthur clocked up the tremendous tally of 4-12 in the win for Louth but the Clare native has been deemed ineligible to play in the Nicky Rackard Cup.

Longford seized the opportunity to register this vital victory with Patrick Walsh also making a major impact in firing over five points (all from play) and could qualify for the penultimate stage of the championship should they succeed in beating the Group 1 leaders Warwickshire at Pearse Park on Saturday June 2.

Louth, who were guilty of shooting several bad wides during the course of the game with the noise of the renovation work on the stand going on in the background, suffered a severe setback when they had David Kettle sent-off with three minutes gone in the second half.

While the visitors tried hard to cut the lead they were always fighting a losing battle and particularly so with the numerical disadvantage which eased the pressure on Longford who were playing against the wind on the changeover.

LONGFORD: Eanna Daly (Clonguish Gaels); Aidan Sheridan (Wolfe Tones Mostrim), Gerard Moore (Clonguish Gaels), Johnny Casey (Longford Slashers); Bart Hanley (Clonguish Gaels), Daire Duggan (Wolfe Tones Mostrim), Seamus Hannon (Wolfe Tones Mostrim); Cian Kavanagh (Longford Slashers, 0-1), Daniel Connell (Wolfe Tones Mostrim, 0-1); Patrick Walsh (Clonkill, Co Westmeath, 0-5),  Paul Barden (Clonguish Gaels), Jody Leonard (Ballinamere, Co Offaly); Karl Murray (Longford Slashers, 0-2), Cathal Mullane (Killeedy, Co Limerick, 0-1), Joe O’Brien (Clonguish Gaels, 0-9, five frees).

Subs:- PJ Masterson (Wolfe Tones Mostrim) for J Leonard (54 mins); Paul Hession (Clonguish Gaels) for G Moore (injured, 55 mins); Shane O’Brien (Clonguish Gaels) for C Kavanagh (68 mins).

LOUTH: Stephen Hackett; Mark Wallace, Mike Lyons, Stephen Kettle; Andrew McCrave (0-2), Ronan Byrne, Brian Minogue; Donal Ryan (0-1), Mark Molloy (0-2); Paddy Lynch (0-4, three frees, one ‘65), Shane Callan, Seaghan Connolly (0-2); Gerard Smyth (0-1), David Kettle, John Crosbie.

Subs:- Feidhlim Joyce for B Minogue (16 mins); Diarmuid Murphy for J Crosbie (32 mins); Darren O’Hanrahan for G Smyth (half-time); Liam Molloy for D O’Hanrahan (55 mins).

Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).  

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