Dreadnots cruised to victory over a Geraldines side who paid a heavy price for poor discipline in Dunleer on Sunday afternoon. The scoreboard may suggest it had been close, but, the Dreadnots will probably feel their victory should have been by more, as the Geraldines scored two late goals to put some respectability on the scoreboard at the end.
The star of the show was undoubtedly young corner forward Jay Hughes.
A shining light for the Louth under 20s this year, Hughes was almost flawless for the Dreadnots on Sunday, scoring 0-11 from 12 shots over the hour. John O’Brien’s side got behind the ball with Cian McEvoy playing in a sweeper role, they forced the Geraldines to surrender the ball 25 times in that match with the likes of Padraig Rath, Aaron Scullion and Anthony Williams also deserving mentions as they moved the ball at pace.
The Clogherhead men were then able to move the ball through the hands coming out of defence, and with Hughes firing on all cylinders, the outcome was never in doubt.
It was Hughes who kicked the opening score of the afternoon on 30 seconds, a move which saw goalkeeper Ciaran Cunnigham involved. Cunnigham touched the ball 16 times in the match, coming out with the ball and often looking for the return.
The Dreadnots were 0-3 to no score ahead before Geraldines Josh Arrowsmith set up Shane Rogers to score from a tight angle. Josh Arrowsmith was sent off later in the half for a second yellow card. Peter Kirwan and Paraic Smith were the only Dreadnots players to raise white flags besides Hughes, whose six first half points saw his side lead by 0-8 to 0-3 at the break, with the lively Shane Rogers and Sean McEneneay (free) responding for the Gers.
Peter Kirwan and Jay Hughes continued to lead to Dreadnots’ scoring line in the second half, helping their side to lead by 0-14 to 0-4 by the end of the third quarter, with a brace from Hughes and Kirwan (0-2 each) and James Califf (0-1) all finding the range.
Further scores from Jay Hughes, Peter Kirwan, Paraic Smith and sub, Ciaran Finnegan saw them lead by 0-17 to 0-6 towards the last few moments of the match. Some exceptional shooting from Shane Rogers and Nicky Mackin did at least keep the scoreline ticking over for the Haggardstown side who finished the match with 13 players, after James Craven was issued with a second yellow card as the clock ticked towards the 60th minute.
The Gers did manage to put some respectability on the scoreboard after late goals from Ben Mooney and Shane O’Hanlon. O’Hanlon also saw a penalty saved by the excellent Ciaran Cunnigham. But it was Clogherhead and Jay Hughes who had the final say, kicking over the final score of the match to seal an impressive victory for the Dreadnots who look favourites to advance with the holders Naomh Martin from this group.
Dreadnots: Ciaran Cunnigham; Barry Faulkner, Padraig Rath, Conor Clarke; Aaron Scullion, Anthony Williams, Conor Faulkner; Paraic Smith 0-2 (1f), Dermot Campbell; Peter Kirwan 0-4, Pat Lynch, James Califf 0-1; Jay Hughes 0-11 (6f), Darragh Shevlin, Cian McEvoy. Subs: Carl Monaghan for Darragh Shevlin (45), Conor Shevlin for Lynch (49), Ciaran Finnegan 0-1 for Faulkner (54).
Geraldines: Sean McEneaney 0-1 (1f); Ben Mooney 1-1, Nicky Mackin 0-1, Jack Traynor; Gareth Neacy, Dan Corcoran, Ferghal McDonald; Michael Rogers, James Craven; Josh Arrowsmith, Mathew Corcoran, Shaun Callan; Neill Jones, Shane Rogers 0-3, Shane O’Hanlon 1-0. Subs: Jamie Callan for Shaun Callan (16), Paddy Hoey for Michael Rogers (26), Feidhlim Joyce for Jones (39), Stephen Reidy for Traynor (47).
Referee: David J McArdle