The early second half sending off of Declan Byrne and the huge loss of Paddy Keenan before the match were key moments which impacted the result against Monaghan on Sunday, according to Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick.
“With 15 minutes gone in the second half and Louth leading by two points I thought we’d a fantastic chance to win the game. I thought the sending off was a major factor in the game.
“But at the end of the day Paddy Keenan and Ray Finnegan were a big, big loss for us today. Because with fifteen minutes to go we just couldn’t seem to get the ball down in the middle of the field and it’s during those moments that you need someone of the calibre of Paddy to catch the ball and lay it off. But I felt we did ourselves proud today.”
The Louth manager was open and honest in his appraisal of Monaghan. “I hold my hands up, at the end of the day we were beaten by a better team, but as the manager I have to think positive and during the first half performance and the first fifteen minutes of the second half we played very, very well. I thought Jim McEneaney came on and made a big difference.
“Monaghan are a strong, physical team, they went into a five point lead, but we managed to claw it back before half time. I felt at half time that the defence was under severe pressure and we were losing the middle of the field which is very unusual for Louth, we did so well against Tyrone last week.
“I thought we didn’t do enough in the middle of the field and our backs were under fierce pressure for the whole of the second half. Monaghan were a fitter team in the end,” added Fitzpatrick.
The one shining light from Sunday was the performance of the Louth forwards. “I can’t complain about the forwards, to score 1-15 would win you most games. But we’ve a lot of work to do in defence. We gave away a lot of silly frees, especially in the first half, in close in situations.”