Championship win
instilled confidence in players for years to come

IN the nine years that passed, Louth captain Paddy Keenan can still not forget winning the Leinster Senior Colleges ‘A’ Championship.

IN the nine years that passed, Louth captain Paddy Keenan can still not forget winning the Leinster Senior Colleges ‘A’ Championship.

Although he cannot remember much of the game, Keenan certainly remembers the torrid and muck ravaged conditions in Drogheda, along with the celebrations that followed when Dundalk Schools beat St Patrick’s of Navan 1-8 to 2-3 to lift the crown.

As Dundalk Schools prepare for their first final since 2002, the Louth captain cast his mind back to the year, when alongside Ronan Carroll, a now familiar face to Keenan, they stopped a Joe Sheridan inspired team from lifting the trophy.

“I remember the great celebrations afterwards”, laughed Keenan. “I also remember it was a dirty rotten day in Drogheda.” Speaking of the picture which accompanies this article, Keenan added: “I know the picture well, I’m covered head to toe in muck. It wasn’t a good day for pretty football, we had to slog it out and we did.”

Looking back at the day, Keenan knew his side had to play well to contain St Patrick’s who had future stars all over the park.

“Ronan Carroll did a great job on Joe Sheridan that day. They had a lot of lads who played in Minor Championship finals that year, so we did well to contain them, but we had a great team ourselves.”

Several players from the team went on to play for their county and currently, four players are in the senior panel, including, Keenan, Carroll, Neil Gallagher and Shane Lennon.

“If Louth got four or five more players who went through to the senior team, it would be great.”

On the day, a 16-year-old Shane Lennon scored five points, helping Louth to the win, something Keenan was not surprised about at the time.

“He was the main man even back then. He was showing what he was about to become back then. He was a lot smaller though, I think he started growing the year after. But a lot of lads on the team had great ability. St Patrick’s were one of the best teams around so beating them gave us a lot of confidence and belief.”

The Louth captain is hoping to make the clash next Saturday but in the future, one thing he would like to see is another four or five players make it through to the Louth senior team.

“The current side are flying, I hope they win the final. It’s not too often we have much underage success in Louth, but if we got a few more from that team who made it through to the senior panel, it would be brilliant.

“Leslie is still there and for someone to be still there for so long is a credit to him. “Even when other teams didn’t do well, he always stuck at it.”