There’s one statistic that Pearse Og’s Gerard Smyth desperately wants to address.
The Louth hurler has been in 21 finals and has been on the losing end 18 times.
And Smyth is hoping to change that on Sunday against Knockbridge in the Avonmore Senior Hurling Final in Castlebellingham.
“Between myself and Shane Callan we’ve been beaten in 18 finals, so that’s something we want to change,” explained Smyth.
“I don’t know how anyone can say Knockbridge will be hungrier when we have a record like that to change.”
In the build up to the final, Pearse Og experienced a few problems regarding getting a venue to train on at night, since their usual pitch at the college did not have floodlights.
“Luckily Na Piarsaigh came to the rescue and allowed us to use their pitch to train on last week, otherwise we would have been in trouble preparation-wise,”Smyth stated.
With that problem solved, Smyth and his teammates will be training three nights this week ahead of Sunday’s date with destiny.
A major addition to the Pearse Og set up this year has been the strength and fitness work introduced by Stabannon man Barry Peadar and Smyth believes he has been invaluable to the cause.
“He’s been a big part of our plans this year. He’s worked hard to improve out fitness levels.
“Last year we felt we were being pushed off the ball a bit too much by more physical sides like Naomh Moninne and Mattock, but Barry has turned that around this year”,
Although both sides met only two weeks ago, Smyth is reading nothing into that result.
“Knockbridge had half of their County players on the sidelines that day. We both knew we were already into the final anyway, so it was more a chance to test out some of the fringe players and try out some new tactics as well.”
Bad memories for Knockbridge
For Adrian Wallace and his Knockbridge teammates Sunday’s venue at Castlebellingham will bring back some painful memories.
In 2010 they lost the county final to Naomh Moninne there, and Wallace wants to banish that particular ghost come Sunday.
“It’s a chance to get that particular monkey off our back all right” explained the Louth hurler.
“But are preparation has been great this year, more than ever before. Lots of the lads have really knuckled down and even with the introduction of some new lads the continuity has been there throughout the season.”
Having lifted the inaugural Tain League earlier this year, Wallace believes that competition has been a huge benefit to his side.
“It allowed us to blood new players and test out some new tactics, so in that respect it has been a great addition to hurling in this county.”
In his near twenty years playing hurling Wallace has seen the sport come on leaps and bounds lately.
“There has been a lot of work done behind the scenes” stated Wallace, “The County board have really got behind it and upped the ante. Hurling seems to be improving in the county.”
With only a few days until the final, Wallace knows that good mental preparation is the main thing now.
“We’ve done all the physical build up throughout the season. It’s now mostly mental preparation, making sure the lads are focused and ready for the big day.”