The Louth Ladies will face last year’s Junior All Ireland Champions Antrim next Sunday in Naomh Malachis, with a throw in time of 2 pm.
Following impressive victories in their opening two matches, against Roscommon and Carlow, Ciaran Marks’ Ladies will be hoping to continue their fine form as they look to push forward in this year’s league.
Louth were beaten finalist against Antrim in last year’s Junior All Ireland final, but Marks and his management team are adamant that this is not a payback match.
With seventeen of last year’s panel unavailable for selection, due to various reasons, this match, along with the entire season, is being viewed as a fresh foray upon the league and Championship.
Louth come into the game off the back of a heavy win against Carlow, in which every player from seven to fifteen scored at least once, showing that no matter from which angle they attack they can be dangerous.
In what was an extremely one sided affair Louth clicked all over the field, stringing together passes and scoring almost at will.
The disparity between the sides allowed for experimentation with the bench, as every replacement more than adequately filled the boots of the player that went off.
Against the recently relegated Roscommon, Louth ground out a win, as supremacy fluctuated between both teams. In adverse weather conditions, the Louth Ladies showed that they could economise their scoring opportunities, and shut out their opponents endeavours, in what was a tough encounter. Louth provided a great example of a team working as exactly that, with each player providing a vital component to a well tuned collective effort.
Antrim conversely will arrive in Louth following a defeat at the hands of Offaly. This match will be only their second of the season, due to Carlow being unable to field a team in their opening game.
As last year’s All Ireland winners, Antrim have undoubted talent, and will pose a real test to Louth. Having scored 4-09 against Offaly, Antrim have shown their attacking potency, and Louth’s defence will have to continue their impressive form so far to shut them out. With both teams possessing strong forward lines, this may be a match in which defence emerges as being more integral to victory than attack.
Louth, along with Offaly, are one of two teams to remain unbeaten in the league so far this season, and after two matches are only eleven point shy of their entire League tally from last year.
In a match that will be tight, the test for Louth is whether or not they can build on the good start they have made. A win would mean three victories, from three played, out of a possible six, and provide a great foundation for a challenge on the League title.