Frees are a concern for Fitzpatrick as he looks to replace Brian White

The shadow of Brian White loomed large over the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda as Louth beat Wicklow to advance to the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup.

The shadow of Brian White loomed large over the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda as Louth beat Wicklow to advance to the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup.

On the day though, Louth certainly missed the Cooley Kickhams man as they tried five different free takers throughout the afternoon.

Last year, White's pinpoint accuracy helped Louth to important wins, none more so than the Leinster Championship wins against Kildare and Westmeath, but so far, the Wee County have struggled to find a new free and '45' taker, something which weighed on Peter Fitzpatrick's mind post match on Sunday.

"We definitely missed a place-kicker today", said Fitzpatrick.

"We were up by six points at half time, but I thought we should have been up by a lot more. We missed a penalty and too many close-in free kicks. I think we had three one-on-ones and missed them too. But the only good thing is that at this time of the year, we are creating those chances."

However, Fitzpatrick vowed that his team will keep working on dead-ball situations over the next three weeks as Shane Lennon, Paddy Keenan, Derek Crilly, Paraic Smith and Brian Donnelly all tried to convert frees. Donnelly hit a terrific free over the bar, whilst Lennon converted one late on after a series of misplaced efforts.

"We've three weeks now till our first game in the National League. Over the next few weeks, along with the game next Sunday, it's something we will work on.

"Last week in training, with the weather the way it was, it was a bit hard to work on. Going forward hopefully we will improve."

Looking back on the match, Fitzpatrick was pleased with the team's overall performance against Mick O'Dwyer's Wicklow side, but admitted that his side tired in the second half.

"I knew myself that Mick was going to bring a good team. I think 12 or 13 of his side played against Westmeath in the Leinster Championship last year.

"We knew that Mick wanted to win the O'Byrne Cup before he finishes the season with Wicklow and I am delighted with the way we played.

"I thought the first half we played very well. The second half, we stopped and started. I'm just a wee bit disappointed with our distribution and some others things. I think our legs got a wee bit tired. We had a tough training session on Tuesday and Thursday night. That was our fourth game in the space of two weeks. I think the boys might be a wee bit tired so this week, we might lay-off a bit as we have a match Wednesday night against the Louth All-Stars.

"We are going to be busy over the next couple of weeks, but I am delighted as nobody got injured and we won by four points."

Fitzpatrick still has a couple of names to bring back into his squad, such as Mattock Rangers' Mark Brennan and Darren Clarke, a man who certainly could help out with the free situation. Fitzpatrick will also run the rule over players next Sunday against UCD and this Wednesday against the Louth Championship All-Stars.

"We still have Mark Brennan and Darren Clarke to come back. There's a few boys on the sideline biting to get on.

"We are delighted to give as many subs as we could a run today. You want to keep the winning trail going for the next couple of weeks and I would love to win the O'Byrne Cup."