Louth defeated Westmeath in the Allianz National Football League Division Three Final at Croke Park on Saturday evening. The Wee County were trailing at the break but a spirited second half comeback saw them claim the title.
Peter Fitzpatrick’s side made the better start to the game and scored the first point of the evening before Liam Shevlin’s score gave them a two point advantage. Conor Lynam narrowed the gap with a well taken score for the Lake County, but Ronan Carroll made it a two point game once again. Louth were well on top during this period and but for five successive wides they could have been further in front. Lynam scored his second and third points of the first half to narrow the lead, but again,Louth hit back through Adrian Reid.
Another score from Lynam left a single point between the teams and then Paul Greville got on the scoresheet to level the contest. Ronan Carroll hit another fine point to put Louth back in the driving seat. Doran Harte tied the match once more and when Denis Glennon found the target, Westmeath led for the first time in the match. The referee blew for the interval just as Glennon’s point sailed between the posts.
Derek Maguire pointed for Louth immediately after the restart to restore parity. Westmeath’s star on the night was Conor Lynam,and his fifth point gave his county back the advantage. Another followed from Glennon and suddenly the Lake County were two in front. Andy McDonnell hit back to reduce the lead but Paul Greville responded with a similar effort. Glennon scored his third to increase the Westmeath lead as they began to dominate proceedings. However, Louth began to take control of the midfield area and points from Paraic Smyth and Paddy Keenan left just the one between the teams again.
A huge score from a long range free by Brian Donnelly leveled the game but Westmeath went back in front minutes later when Paul Greville found the target. The turning point of the match came when Ronan Carroll was quickest to react to a blocked shot from JP Rooney and he fired the rebound to the back of the net. Paddy Keenan was starting to control the game as time wore on and he popped up with a score that gave Louth a three point advantage. Paul Greville narrowed the gap with a free but Ray Finnegan,Keenan and Derek Maguire added the insurance points as Louth ran out five point victors.