Following the match on Saturday, Louth super-sub Andrew Mackin spoke to the Dundalk Democrat expressing his delight at being able to play a part in such a memorable success for the Louth hurlers.
Having been introduced at half-time by Dee McCarthy on Saturday afternoon, Naomh Moninne forward Andrew Mackin put in an inspired performance to score 1-2 in the second period to play an integral role in the dramatic second half turnaround. Mackin’s delight was obvious as he said: “It’s unbelievable. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to start the game but that’s all you can do is play your part when you come on, and hopefully I did that.”
Despite being eleven points in arears with a quarter of the match remaining, Mackin insists that they always believed that they had it in them to pull the score back and go on to win the match.
“We knew that we had it in us. We just didn’t perform in the first half. Sligo were the better team but we knew that we had it in us, so we improved as the second half went on.”
Having come from behind in their previous encounter with the Yeats County, Mackin knew that the Reds had the physical condition and fitness to pip Sligo to the post and he believes their great fitness levels was the reason why they improved their distribution and scoring accuracy as the game wore on.
“I think we’ve worked hard on our fitness all year. We proved it in the first round against Sligo when we came from a point down with five minutes to go and pushed on to win it by four, so we knew that we were the fitter team.”
The half-time substitute also hailed the performances of the Louth backs to withstand considerable periods of Sligo pressure and insisted that they gave the team the platform to go on and secure the unlikeliest of victories.
“Andy McCrave and the boys at the back were immense. All the lads worked hard for each other and thankfully we got the result in the end. It’s just unbelievable.”
This was the Louth’s fifth final at GAA HQ since 2005 and having lost the previous four by an average of 12 points, it looked for lengthy periods like they were going to suffer another Croke Park drubbing. However, having dug deep in the second half they managed to break the hoodoo.
“It was looking as if we were going to get the same whitewash that we got in the other finals at half-time, but thankfully in the end we did it.”
Louth now face a re-match with Fermanagh in the Promotion/Relegation play-off to decide whether or not they will play championship hurling for the Nicky Rackard or Lory Meagher Cup in 2017.
The game will spell a replay of last year’s same game when the Ernemen relegated Louth to the bottom tier of National Hurling for the first time since the inception of the Lory Meagher Cup in 2009, Mackin though believes that his side will be the victors in this year’s play-off.
“It’s a re-match from last year except we were the ones going the other way last year, but we’re on the up this year and we’re ready.”