If the goal against Galway last Saturday was to exorcise the demons of day one’s defeat to Westmeath, then Louth successfully cast off that painful memory and thoroughly buried it with a comprehensive performance against the Tribesmen.
It was a team effort of real verve and quality. Add to that the welcome addition of two league points and it leaves the Wee County in rude health ahead of Saturday’s journey down to Portlaoise.
One of those who stood out in the team was Conor McGuinness. The Cooley man has been the perennial nearly man for several years at inter county level. He has been there or there abouts under both Peter Fitzpatrick and before that Eamonn McEneaney.
Yet he’s never been able to truly nail down a regular place in the red jersey. His performance against Galway may change that pattern. Not that McGuinness is taking anything for granted after one game and one victory.
“It’s only two points and we still have another five tough games ahead, but we’re looking forward to it,” stated the Louth defender.
That he now has a chance to finally shine for Louth is down to a more positive and progressive new manager according to McGuinness.
“Fair play to Aidan he’s sticking by his word - If you’re doing well he’ll give you a chance - unlike previous managers. So we just have to keep going now.”
The second half on Saturday in Drogheda showed Louth at their lethal best. They tore apart Galway and had the game sown up with time to spare. Still, McGuinness knows there’s a lot more improvement needed.
“We only performed for one half against Westmeath and I think we did quite well today. We gave the ball away a bit in the second half, but that’s something we’ll try and work on. It’s another tough game next week.”
The Cooley man revealed that the disappointment in the dressing room at half time seemed to spur the Wee County on to produce that second half performance.
“We were a bit disappointed that they got eight points, we thought we were better than the draw (at half time) suggested, but we knew we had to dig in for another 35 minutes into the wind.”
In the build up to the Galway match there was a certain amount of pressure on Louth following that defeat in Mullingar. But the postponement of the original fixture and subsequent break seemed to do Louth some favours.
“There was a lot of pressure”, stated McGuinness, “but we got a week’s break which probably freshened us up a wee bit and we got a bit of hunger back. We were obviously very disappointed with what happened at Westmeath, but I think we did ourselves justice.”
The mood in training this week will no doubt positive ahead of the clash with Laois. And the big games seem to galvanise and focus the squad according to McGuinness.
“There’ll be a good buzz in training this week. We’re all looking forward to playing big games in Division Two.
“It gets tougher and tougher as the weeks go by and there’s obviously a few boys with some niggling injuries and they’ll be itching to get back.”
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