Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick was bullish about his side’s chances against Westmeath, ahead of the Leinster Championship opener in Navan on Sunday.
Speaking at the Louth Centre of Excellence last Friday, the local TD believes his charges should defeat the Midlanders on Sunday and is equally confident that the Wee County can put a good game up to the All-Ireland Champions, Dublin, in the proceeding round as well.
Fitzpatrick said: “To be honest I’m confident of beating Westmeath. I think we’ve a good enough team to beat Westmeath and if we do, we’ve a good chance against Dublin.
“I think we owe Dublin one from 2010 when we played them after the Leinster final and I felt we didn’t do ourselves justice,” added Fitzer.
With Brian White and Brian Donnelly leaving the fold, there was an opportunity for the Louth manager to bring in some fresh faces after the league campaign.
“I took a load of young fellas in instead of going backwards.
“When you go back to 2010 I think there’s about six or seven from that team that got to the Leinster final still playing at the moment.
“The turnover in the last number of years has been unreal,” he stated.
“The one good thing I like about Louth football at the moment is that if we lose some players we are still able to compete with the best teams.”
The new faces added to the Louth squad include some familiar names for those who have followed the Louth U21’s exploits this year, with Joe Flanagan and Ruairi Moore, joining the senior panel.
Fitzpatrick referred back to the Louth squad after the 2010 Championship run and the players that left at that stage as well.
“In 2010 when Michael Fanning, Brian White and John O’Brien went away everyone said the Louth team would collapse.
“But we came out the following year and won Division Three. This county has come a long way.”
Despite his confidence, Fitzer stated that he is totally focused on Pat Flanagan’s Westmeath side.
“We’re not looking beyond the Westmeath match, its going to be a very tough match.
“I was talking to Pat Flanagan a couple of weeks ago and he’s very happy with the way things are going.
“I’ve been studying the DVD’s and I went to watch them against Meath on Monday.”
Looking at the venue, the Louth manager believes it doesn’t give an advantage to either side.
“Navan is going to suit both teams. Westmeath won a few championship games there.
“Which ever team gets the breaking ball in the middle and the wee bit of possession will win the game.”
However he knows that if his side produce the same level of performance that they did against Meath in the league, they’ll be a tough proposition for anyone.
“If we play the way we played against Meath, it’ll take a very good team to beat us at the moment.”