IN the background, fitness coach Mike McGurn was busy training the substitutes who didn’t play on Sunday; such is the dedication to fitness of Aidan O’Rourke and his management team.
The new Louth boss walked towards the stand at the Gaelic Grounds after the match and spoke to the press following his first competitive victory over UCD. As ever the Dromintee man appeared unflustered and calm. He spoke slowly and was in no rush to break out the champagne or party poppers after one victory.
“It was a good game. UCD are a fairly useful outfit.” Simple and straight to the point.
The tough fitness work over the past few weeks looked to have paid off on Sunday, with the Wee County appearing to have few if any cobwebs. Not that O’Rourke was going to have any of that talk either.
“I don’t know if I would agree with that or not”, he only half-joked. “They did reasonably well. A lot of lads can put their hands up for a good performance. I suppose they’re jockeying for National League positions at this stage. So I can’t complain too much.”
Having dispatched 2-15, it looks like Louth are not short of attacking potential this year. But O’Rourke was quick to point out moments were his side lacked concentration.
“The movement of the ball from back to front was the most pleasing part of the game for me. When we did move it fast we were fairly easy on the eye to watch.
“We probably could have been a bit more ruthless with some of the chances we that we had. Early in the second half we allowed UCD back into the game, simply by missing chances of our own. Hopefully as the weeks go on we can sort that out.”
A slow start from Louth gave way to a more concerted effort for the last twenty minutes of the first half. And O’Rourke was encouraged with what he saw.
“The opening ten or twelve minutes we were very rusty. There was a lot of lads standing back, not sure or waiting on other lads to do things.
“It was encouraging that they dug in after that initial ten or twelve minutes. The (UCD) goal probably wakened them up a bit and they played some nice football for the last half of the first half.”
All five substitutes got a run out, as expected. However injury forced most of these switches. Gary Connolly’s was the most worrying.
“Gary was doing well. He has been doing very well thus far with the panel. It looks possibly that it could be serious enough, so we are disappointed with that,” added the Louth boss.
“Almost all of our substitutions were all forced by injury, but we were always going to use five subs anyway.”
The forward line was a source of much praise on Sunday, in particular Andy McDonnell, who was confident and strong going forward. O’Rourke was happy with his contribution, but knows the team as a whole has much more to offer.
“Andy is a very honest footballer, he covers a lot of ground. He does a lot of work that other people would shirk away from. But I wouldn’t like to single out one person. We scored quite heavily, so the forward unit was moving okay. I still think there is plenty of room for improvement.”