Leinster Final now put to bed, says Fitzer

LOUTH boss Peter Fitzpatrick has said that winning the Division Three title has exorcised the demons of the Leinster Final.

LOUTH boss Peter Fitzpatrick has said that winning the Division Three title has exorcised the demons of the Leinster Final.

Fitzpatrick, like the rest of the team are trying to forget the events of last year as they move on and after winning the league title on Saturday, Fitzpatrick was keen to ask people to move on.

“From now on, what happened last year in the Leinster Final is over and done with now”, said the manager.

“Today was as good as winning any Leinster title as it’s always nice to come to Croke Park, especially the Wee County and win the title. I’m delighted.”

The boss did express his concern coming into the last ten minutes a point down as he thought his side were about to agonisingly lose another final.

“The best thing was, with ten minutes to go we were a point behind I said to myself, please don’t let this happen again.

“But this Louth team are something. We lost the three lads to Australia, we lost Shane Lennon and a few others, but this team never gave up. And we have the best supporters in the country. In the last ten minutes, they were like an extra man.”

In the last ten minutes, Louth got the points when they really mattered showing a sign of maturity and growth, something Fitzer was delighted with.

“The team kept going and going. We said that no matter what the score was in the ten minutes, we would keep attacking and attacking and I think it was some of the best football that I’ve seen Louth play, scoring five or six without reply.”

Along with this, the manager was also personally relieved to get the monkey off his back after losing three finals.

“The good thing was they held possession, they looked up, the support play was fantastic and it was the longest two minutes of injury time ever. I knew we were five points up, but my luck in the last 18 months, losing three finals, it gets the monkey off my back.

“The big plus was coming into the game, we knew we were in Division Two next year. I think we will have to start strengthening the panel we have at the moment. It’s always nice to come to Croke Park and win a trophy.

“Today was a dress rehearsal for June 12 against Carlow. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to win the Division Three title but our main focus was concentrating on June 12 and we gave four subs a run out so we got lads some games.

“It’s the place to be and everyone wants to play in Croke Park.”

Fitzer also lauded the performance of his side over a stressful league campaign where they bounced back after losing John O’Brien, Brian White and Mick Fanning to Australia.

“The three boys going to Australia was a massive loss for us and I hope we get them back for Division Two next year. But the thing is, whatever cards you are dealt are the cards you have. We did not whinge or cry.

“We lost three games in a row, but we plugged on. We never once criticised the team because every player goes out to give their best for the team. I think what we got today was our just rewards.

“The team, the management team and County Board all worked as a combination together. People talk about Division Three but it’s a big thing for Louth to get into Division Two as we are delighted and are in the top 16 teams in the country but all I looking forward to is June 12.”