O’Byrne Cup: Louth Player Ratings vs Meath

O’Byrne Cup: Louth Player Ratings vs Meath

 

By Caoimhín Reilly

Louth progressed to their first O’Byrne Cup decider in six-years with yesterday’s 1-14 to 10-points victory over Meath. All-Ireland champions Dublin now lie in wait at the Gaelic Grounds next Sunday.

  1. Craig Lynch – Lynch saw the game pass without the concession of a goal, and comfortably so. Kicked the ball out with precision, generally looking for either Conal McKeever or Derek Maguire in space. Dealt with every long ball pumped in on top of him by the Royals, mostly with his fists. Certainly, the first-choice and justifiably so: 7
  2. Pádraig Rath – Didn’t have the greatest of starts, letting Sean Tobin get the ball and giving away cheap frees one of which got him booked. The Meathman didn’t have the pace or trickery to evade Rath though. Never really looked in trouble and stood-up strong when Meath came with a gush midway through the second-half: 6.5
  3. Patrick Reilly – The full-back had a comfortable day in defence, although he still portrayed his tendency to give away cheap scoring opportunities. One clear instance was in the first-half when he barged through Paddy Kennelly despite the forward heading for touch. Was really up for the game and got physical. The best man for the job: 6.5
  4. Kevin Carr – Carr was probably more involved in play yesterday than in his other two appearances. Got possession while moving forward although hesitancy saw him caught at times. Defended well, sticking tight to Kevin Ross. The highest compliment that you can pay him is that his marker was left scoreless and got substituted: 6.5
  5. Derek Maguire – Got two of the finest points you are likely to see this year before adding a third when shooting for a goal after the break. Maguire was instrumental in Louth’s flowing forward play but didn’t cut out any Meath attacks in his sweeper capacity. Still, his energy and creativity was to the fore: 7
  6. Liam Dullaghan – A lot of Louth’s attention was based on clamping down on Graham Reilly’s influence and nobody did more to stop the Meath captain than Dullaghan. The O’Mahony’s man was excellent for his 64 minutes on the pitch, going forward, marking tight, intercepting and working tirelessly. An excellent all-round performance, playing himself into a starting place for the league: 7.5
  7. Anthony Williams – Never caught out defensively despite Ruairí O’Coileáin scoring three-points, two of which came from frees. Got his customary point and got into positions to add to that. He popped up all over the pitch while always being present at the vital times in defence to pick up scraps and breaks: 7
  8. Tommy Durnin – Excellent. Won ball in the air at midfield, retreated into defence when required and scored two superb points, one off either foot. Arguably Durnin’s finest game for Louth. Dove-tailed beautifully with McDonnell on their first outing as a pair and looked genuinely made for the midfield position: 8
  9. Andy McDonnell – Excellent also. Looks in the best shape of his career in a position which allows him to utilise his pace and power to the maximum. Ran the show in the second-half, just eclipsing Durnin overall. His two notches after the break were at crucial times. It has to be said, he looked Paddy Keenanesque at times: 8.5
  10. Declan Byrne – Kicked a stylish point off his left just prior to the interval to give the Reds a buffer. Done his usual defensive chores of tracking back and getting contact on opponents who were moving forward but was unusually quiet in attack. Did nothing obvious wrong at the same time. Solid: 6.5
  11. Paraic Smith – Took a while to find his feet as Louth struggled to convert their early opportunities in front of the posts. Played better after half-time when able to orchestrate a bit more, although he didn’t look as in control as he did in some of the group matches. Will probably start next Sunday and is a likely contender to do so in Laois league game too: 6.5
  12. Bevan Duffy – Duffy was very effective yesterday as he went about his business in a very unassuming manner. Worked so hard to get back into a defensive position and was responsible for many turnovers, in the first-half in particular. Not much of threat in attack but the others revelled in the space he vacated on the left-flank. Encouraging and deserves credit: 7
  13. Conal McKeever – So underrated, arguably the most selfless player on the team. Played in the withdrawn role and got ample possessions from Lynch kick-outs when arriving into the space between the 21 and the 45. Gets forward too with his link-up, pace and quick hands evident on the day. Becoming crucial to how Colin Kelly wants the team to play: 7
  14. Ronan Carroll – Lasted 32 first-half minutes before being replaced. Perhaps he was the scapegoat but the other forwards were also under-performing in their primary role at that stage. The Ardee man wasn’t close to goal enough to be the target we anticipated him being. The service to him was also fairly poor: 5
  15. Gerard McSorley – A tough first start of the year for the Gaels poacher. Dropped an early effort into the keeper’s hands and never really got another scoring opportunity. Like with Carroll, the service into him was either non-existent or of poor quality. Either way, McSorley failed to have the impact that he would have desired: 5.5

Subs:

Jim McEneaney – He’s our best player, simple as. A willing target, assured on the ball and certain to get scores. It says a lot about a player when you get excited when he’s on the ball, that’s what McEneaney does though. Converted the penalty at the death past Joe Sheridan with aplomb: 7

Sam Mulroy – The debutant has a budding reputation within Louth and he delivered the evidence why yesterday. Scoring three-points and having a shot on goal. Big, strong and offers an end product, Mulroy looks one of the County’s biggest prospects: 7

John Bingham – Came in for Reilly and did fairly well, getting forward at times as well. Manfully protected the goals when Meath besieged the Louth posts in injury-time: 6

Adrian Reid – Brought composure on the ball to weather the Meath fightback and transferred the ball forward into the scoring zone every time: 6

James Stewart – Came on around the middle and did well: not on long enough to be rated

Ross Nally – Replaced Smith a minute from the end: not on long enough to be rated

James Califf – Came on for Durnin in second-half stoppage time: not on long enough to be rated

 

 

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