Having been on the losing side in three Nicky Rackard finals, Louth captain Shane Callan needs no extra motivation for the clash against Armagh in Croke Park on Saturday.
However Callan knows that the honour and prestige of leading out his County gives it that bit more.
“An extra motivation comes from being there before.
“But it’s a special honour for me being captain this time. There’s nothing better than leading your team out in Croke Park, it’s the finest stage and we feel we’ve a great opportunity to put past wrongs right.”
Those past defeats have been difficult off shake off mentally, especially last year’s loss to London.
“We had to lift our heads after that loss, it was a demoralising defeat.
“But if we look back I don’t think we really had a chance against London.
“They were just that bit ahead of everyone else and I think it shows this year, they are in the Christy Ring semi final and they had a lot of players that came in and we couldn’t begrudge them the win.”
Callan can see a different spirit and fight in the squad this year and an indifferent league campaign can be put behind his side with victory on Saturday.
“This year it’s different. We’d a slow enough league and we were disappointed with the way things went. We felt we had the league in us.
“We thought we could have won it, but results didn’t go well, so we had to regroup and take things one game at a time.
“Obviously Armagh beat us in the first game, but we came back against Sligo and Donegal and I think our second half performances in particular so hopefully we’ll get a full 70 minutes this next Saturday.”
The Wee County’s problem this year has been an inability to perfomr for the full 70 minutes. The Louth captain knows there’ll be no way that will be possible against Armagh.
“The game is not going to be won in 35 minutes against Armagh we just didn’t come out of the dressing room in Sligo and Donegal, maybe it was the long journey, we ‘re not looking for excuses. We sat down at half time and came out and gave it a good go.
“But we can’t afford to wait until half time against Armagh, if we do that we’ll be gone. There’ll be no point coming out for the second half.
“All our focus on training has been going from the first whistle to the very last whistle.”
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