When Donegal and Louth last met, the Wee County were underdogs, but over two games they proved too strong for Donegal.
The meeting was in the Division Two League decider in 2006 - Brian McIver’s first year in charge of Donegal. Back then Division Two was divided into Division 2A and Division 2B and when they met in the decider in Kingspan Breffni Park on April 23rd, the first game ended in deadlock.
Indeed, it took the introduction of Adrian Sweeney at half-time to spur Donegal into action as Louth, under Eamon McEneaney, led by 2-5 to 0-6 at the interval, thanks to goals from Aaron Hoey and a Mark Standfield penalty.
A large crowd of some 12,000 was present to witness the Donegal comeback in the second half with Sweeney central. The Donegal side hit six unanswered points and seemed to be on their way to victory only to be hit with a third Louth goal from Martin Farrelly.
The tie ended - Donegal 0-17, Louth 3-8.
The sides were:
Louth: S Reynolds; D Brennan, C Goss, J Carr; J O’Brien, P McGinnity, J Neary; M Farrelly (1-2), P Keenan (0-1); C Grimes (0-2), M Brennan, M Stanfield (1-0); JP Rooney, A Hoey (1-0), D Clarke (0-3). Subs., S Lennon for M Brennan 51; J Kermath for Stanfield 58; T O’Brien for Rooney 62; M Brennan for Lennon 70.
Donegal: M Boyle; N McGee, P Campbell, B Dunnion (0-1); D Diver (0-1), B Monaghan (0-1), F McGlynn; B Boyle, N Gallagher; C Toye (0-1), M Hegarty, R Kavanagh (0-2); B Roper (0-1), C Bonner (0-3), M Doherty (0-3). Subs., A Sweeney (0-4) for Roper ht; S McDermott for Hegarty 44; R Sweeney for McGee 50.
Sunday 30th April
If anyone thought that Louth had blown their chance, they were mistaken as the Wee County tore into Donegal early on with three quick points from John O’Brien, Martin Farrelly and Darren Clarke before Barry Dunnion and Michael Doherty responded for Donegal.
JP Rooney put Louth clear but Michael Doherty had Donegal in front when he converted a penalty on 20 minutes. The sides exchanged points before Louth struck for their goal three minutes from the break. Christy Grimes was the engineer and he set up Mark Stanfield to fist to the Donegal net and give his side a 1-6 to 1-5 interval lead.
The second half saw Louth move four ahead, 1-9 to 1-5 with Darren Clarke getting two good scores. Michael Doherty with two frees and one from Adrian Sweeney reduced the gap to the minimum.
Aaron Hoey and Darren Clarke restored the Louth three point advantage before Donegal full-back Paddy Campbell receive a straight red card. They did have the chance of an equaliser when Adrian Sweeney was straight through but he was thwarted by the Louth ‘keeper Stuart Reynolds and Louth celebrated a famous victory.
Louth’s proud history
Even though they have not the heights in recent times, Louth have a very good pedigree of success in Gaelic football. They contested the first ever All-Ireland senior final and have won the All-Ireland title on three occasions - twice before the Sam Maguire was in vogue (1910 and 1912) - and in living memory when famous accordionist Dermot O’Brien, held aloft the Sam Maguire in 1957.
They made history when they were the first winners of the Tom Markham (All-Ireland Minor football) Cup in 1940. They had won the Minor Championship prior to that in 1936.
Their full list of honours includes:
All-Ireland Senior Football Championships: 3
1910, 1912, 1957
All-Ireland Minor Football Championships: 2
All-Ireland Junior Football Championships: 4
1925, 1932, 1934, 1961
Leinster Senior Football Championships: 8
1909, 1910, 1912, 1943, 1948, 1950, 1953, 1957.
Leinster Minor Football Championships: 8
1931, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1951, 1953
Leinster Junior Football Championships: 10
1910, 1912, 1925, 1928, 1932, 1934, 1946, 1957, 1961, 2009, 2010
Owen Treacy Cup: 1
Tommy Murphy Cup: 1
O’Byrne Cup: 4
1963, 1980, 1990, 2009
National Football League Div 3 :1