When Louth retreated beyond their own 45m line after Longford referee Fergal Kelly threw up the ball to start proceedings, it sent a direct message to Cork, ‘break us down if you can.’
There was only one thing for it, hold onto the ball for as long as possible even if it meant sideways and backwards movement until an opening presented itself.
Even after Louth stunned the faithful with Liam Jackson’s 18th-minute goal to level matters at 0-3 to 1-0, Cork didn’t panic despite being reeled into parity twice more.
They continued probing in the second half and even their passing drew cheers from the fans, whose patience at Louth’s tactics began to wear thin around the hour mark.
IN the Munster semi-final defeat by Kerry, captain Brian Hurley experienced one of those games when precious little went right, but not on this occasion.
He kicked two early points in quick succession, the first off his left and the other from a ‘mark’ following a fine Ian Maguire pass.
Hurley added a third from the 45m line on the half-hour before chalking his fourth with another impressive effort just before nailing his goal.
Sherlock’s consistency was a marvellous sight to behold, striking beautifully from placed balls and out of hand, too, underlining the importance of a reliable free-taker.
Would Louth have been better served by being more attack-minded earlier than leaving it too late near the end?