Today might turn out to be one to remember for the Blueshirts but our own Blueshirt bainisteoir may not be celebrating too much tonight. According to sources close to the action this evening, we lost to Louth by four points, 1-15 to 1-11, in our final challenge match ahead of the Connacht semi-final with Roscommon on June 20th.
It sounds like we took a leaf from Dublin’s book by fielding the best part of two teams tonight. Here’s the one that lined out at the start:
David Clarke; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Donal Vaughan; Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, David Heaney; Tom Parsons, Ronan McGarritty; Mark Ronaldson, Trevor Mortimer, Aidan Kilcoyne; Andy Moran, Barry Moran, BJ Padden.
David Clarke got injured after 15 minutes and was replaced by Kenneth O’Malley but the rest of the changes happened at half-time. Here’s the side that started the second half:
Kenneth O’Malley; Liam O’Malley, Ciaran Conroy, Kevin McLoughlin; Donal Vaughan, James Nallen, Andy Moran; David Heaney, Ronan McGarritty; Barry Kelly, Aidan O’Shea, Mark Ronaldson; Mikey Sweeney, Barry Moran, Austin O’Malley.
Second half subs were Ger Cafferkey for Liam O’Malley, Seamus O’Shea for Heaney and Conor Mortimer for Ronaldson.
That’s 26 players in all that turned out at some point this evening. Neither Alan Dillon nor Pat Harte took any part in the match and, of course, Tom Cunniffe is still recovering from injury so he didn’t feature either. Keith Higgins is playing with the hurlers in Newry tomorrow and so took no part tonight either.
But Aidan O’Shea, who will be sitting his rescheduled English Paper 2 in the morning, did play for the second half and, once again, his brother Seamus had to wait until 15 minutes before the end to get a run-out. Conor made his return to the fray in the second half, which is definitely a development to be welcomed.
The only detail I have about scorers is that Mikey Sweeney got our goal at some stage in the second half.
And the result? Well, Louth are in action in the Leinster championship next weekend so they were obviously a bit sharper than our lads tonight. The wholesale changes made at half-time meant that the exercise was more about giving a good few of the lads some game time than it was about putting one over the Wee County (after all, they still haven’t got their own back on us for the 1950 All-Ireland). What it does mean, of course, is that we’re still largely in the dark about a number of positions on the team (for example, will Andy Moran play in the full-forward or half-back line?) and so it’s not just the venue for the match that’s up in the air at this point.