Louth make light work of Meath in All-Ireland opener

“The lads were very focused. They had a business-like approach to how we prepared for the game and I’m delighted for the players.”

Louth manager Ger Brennan on the line against Donegal during the National Football League match played at Fr Tierney Park in Ballyshannon on Sunday 3rd March 2024. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Louth manager Ger Brennan Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )
All-Ireland SFC Group Four Round One
Louth 3-10 Meath 0-9

Craig Lennon starred as Louth recorded a first Championship victory over Meath in 49 years on Saturday night to boost their hopes of progressing from Group 4 of the All-Ireland SFC.

The Wee county’s wing-back found the net twice in the first half of a clash which the hosts led by nine points at the break in Inniskeen.

And manager Ger Brennan was very complimentary of his players, who now face Monaghan in Clones next Sunday.

“It was super achievement for the group,” he said. “It was obviously all about winning, be it one point or whatever it finished up.

“It was important to get the points on the board and build on the work done by the previous management.

“The lads were very focused. They had a business-like approach to how we prepared for the game and I’m delighted for the players.”

Meath, who were abject, had actually started the brighter of the derby rivals and were 0-3 to 0-1 in front after 10 minutes but Louth captain Sam Mulroy turned the match firmly in the winners’ favour before the quarter-hour mark when he collected Conall McKeever’s pass and blasted beneath Billy Hogan.

Cathal Hickey responded for the visitors to cut the gap to the minimum but it would be 10 minutes before the Royals would register again, in which time Lennon had netted on two occasions as the Reds moved eight points clear.

His first major ended a flowing move involving Mulroy, Tommy Durnin and Ciarán Keenan, although Lennon still had quite a bit to do in dancing around at least three Meath defenders before finishing with composure.

After another Mulroy free, the Louth skipper’s shot for a point came off the upright and landed perfectly on the chest of the inrushing Lennon, who had only Hogan to beat – and he duly did.

Cillian O’Sullivan’s mark ended the Royals’ scoring drought but Louth were rampant and moved 3-5 to 0-5 in front after excellent points by Lennon and Bevan Duffy.

Bevan Duffy has praised the impact that Mickey Harte and Gavin Devlin have made in Louth
The experienced Bevan Duffy of Louth in action against Antrim.

Meath resumed with intent and Eoghan Frayne pointed but they went scoreless until the 20th minute of the second period thereafter, and failed to register during the time Louth were reduced to 14 players after Bevan Duffy’s black card.

And with Mulroy deadly accurate from free-kicks, Louth stretched their lead to 3-9 to 0-7 after an hour, with Meath showing little evidence of the type of preparation or quality that is required to compete in the All-Ireland series.

Ciarán Caulfield and Frayne (free) did amass consolation points for Colm O’Rourke’s charges, while Niall McDonnell made two fabulous saves to deny the Royals a late goal.

Though Ciarán Downey sent over to complete the rout for Louth, for whom this was their first Championship victory over their neighbours in 10 attempts.


N McDonnell; D Corcoran, P Lynch, D McKenny; N Sharkey, A Williams, C Lennon (2-1); T Durnin, C Grimes; C Keenan (0-1), C Downey (0-1), C McKeever; R Burns, S Mulroy (1-6, 0-6 frees), B Duffy (0-1).

Subs: C Byrne for Duffy (54), L Grey for Lennon (60), P Mathews for Burns (63), C Early for Keenan (67), D Campbell for Corcoran (70).

Yellow card: D Corcoran (53).

Black card: B Duffy (38).


B Hogan; D Keogan, A O’Neill, R Ryan; H O’Higgins, D Campion, S Coffey (0-1); R Jones (0-1), C McBride; C Caulfield (0-1), C O’Sullivan (0-1, one mark), C Hickey (0-1); E Frayne (0-3, two frees), M Costello (0-1), J Conlon.

Subs: C Gray for McBride (HT), B O’Halloran for O’Higgins (HT), J O’Connor for O’Sullivan (45), J Morris for Conlon (45), M Murphy for Coffey (55).

Yellow card: D Campion (29)

Referee: P Faloon (Down).