AFTER what was possibly the worst Louth display under his watchful eye as Louth boss, Peter Fitzpatrick could not put his finger on what went wrong as his side slumped to their third loss in a row.
Slumped being the all important word there as that’s exactly what Louth did in Breffni Park. Against Offaly and Limerick, despite being on the wrong side of the result they fought for the two points, but last Saturday night, they more or loss conceded the result from the early going.
Post match, a despondent Fitzpatrick acknowledged a bad display from his side.
“I think the minute the ball was thrown in, we didn’t seem to be interested in the game”, said the Louth boss.
“It just didn’t seem like a typical Louth performance.
“I thought at half time, being 0-6 to 0-3 down, with a strong wind in our back in the second half, I thought it might help us, but things did not go right for us. We got no breaking balls and things didn’t go well. Cavan got the breaking balls, they got men behind the ball.”
He did pay praise to Cavan, managed by former Louth manager Val Andrews for their physical approach, which stopped his side from playing a passing game.
“They kept coming at us. They were a strong, physical team and stopped our lads from running at them.
“I thought we were unlucky at the end. Paraic ‘Pepe’ Smith took a fantastic point but was unlucky not to get a goal and then Ronan Carroll and Paddy Keenan had chances, I thought we could have snatched a draw.
“If we had of got a draw, it would have been an injustice. Cavan played very intelligent football. I thought we looked tired and I’ve no excuses what-so-ever, the best team won.”
In the second half alone, Louth dropped six shots short, which proved vital in the end as they lost by three points, something Fitzpatrick was extremely disappointed with, considering the quality he had at his disposal in attack.
After losing three games in a row, the boss said he will go back to training this week hoping to find a solution to the problem.
“I just cannot put my finger on it at the moment. As a team, we look very tired. But the thing is, we are creating chances and not taking them. In the second half, the Cavan goalkeeper caught six balls. You just cannot do that.
“That’s something you see in a league match in County Louth, but these are top quality players and this team will turnaround. We are playing next Sunday in Waterford and it’s very important we get two points. Our goal this year was to get promotion from Division Three but it’s not going to happen now. We have no one else to blame but ourselves.
“If you look at the Offaly, Limerick and Cavan games, we are creating chances, but just not taking them.
“All I hope is that we get a wee bit of luck and our luck changes.”
Despite the loss, the manager tired to find some positives from a game where there were very few.
“I know people may say I’m silly but I look at the positive things. At one stage in that game we were six points behind, but in fairness to this Louth team, this team keeps going and going.
“Before the game, we had a lot of injuries. I am not looking for excuses but I still think we have a fantastic panel. We were missing a few big players but the whole 26 in the panel are capable of playing for Louth and we kept plugging away and could of got something or a draw, but it would have been an injustice.
“But they never say die and we have to look forward to the Waterford game.”
Missing Shane Lennon and a number of others, Fitzpatrick still thought that Louth should of won. On paper, they should of, but anyone who saw the performance knows that Louth did not deserve the win.
“Shane Lennon is a fantastic full-forward, All-Star material. Listen, I am not making excuses, I thought the team I picked today, the five subs I made, were capable of getting a result. They didn’t so we are back to the drawing board on Tuesday night again.
“All I hope is, we have 12 weeks till the Carlow game in the Championship and I am not looking beyond that. It’s very important that we beat Waterford next week and get back to winning ways.”
One thing Fitzpatrick was annoyed about was the performance of the referee, Gregory Walsh, who sent off Declan Byrne for two innocuous fouls. Walsh, who was keen to blow his whistle at every opportunity, further spoiled a dour match.
“Declan is over there and he is very frustrated. The referee gave him a yellow card in the first half and in fairness, I do not know what the yellow card was for.
“In the second half, the umpire calls the referee and he gets another yellow card. I think there was four or five of our lads booked compared to one or two of them.
“I just thought that Ray Finnegan was always pulled in the first half and every time we tried to do a one-two, they were doing a third man tackle.
“I’m not making excuses, but Declan was very unlucky to be sent off. He got two yellow cards for nothing. He’s over there very frustrated and I can understand that. But we got the opportunities at the end of the game and we didn’t take them.”
Fitzpatrick’s last win as a Louth manager came just hours after he was elected to the Dáil as a Louth TD, but in the wake of the Cavan loss, the manager said that he conceded in the race for promotion to Division Two.
“It was very disappointing losing the two games at home to Offaly and Limerick. People are using this excuse and that but we played tonight in Breffni Park, a big wide open pitch and I told the lads here, the biggest honour in this county is to wear a red jersey and hopefully they put honour back in the shirts next week.
“As far as I am concerned, promotion to Division Two is gone. I just hope we can win and stay up in the Division Three.”