Last year's tough battle fresh in the mind of Paul McCormack as Cavan head to Darver

'Competition is rife for places' among Louth hurlers, says manager Paul McCormack

Paul McCormack is hopeful Louth can learn from their mistakes last week when they welcome Cavan to Darver on Sunday at 2PM. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)

A trip west to face a side that was playing at a higher championship grade was always going to be big ask for the Louth Hurlers, as they travelled to Carrick on Sahnnon to face a strong Leitrim outfit.

Paul McCormack’s troops had to dig deep to get out of the West with a win, bagging the valuable two points courtesy of a strong final quarter, but while happy with the win he was disappointed with their overall performance.

“I’m delighted with the result, however we know we need to tidy up a few things, as there were times in the second half where things we were looking to establish in our play just didn’t come off and that gave Leitrim hope and allowed them to get back into the game” he recalled.

“The water break in the second half came at a good time for us, we got those things back in line and got back to what we should have been doing and that paid dividends for us, we also asked the fellas to keep playing until the very end and it was important we showed that we could do that”

Despite winning the Lory Meagher late last year, the Armagh native made plenty of changes for their National League opener, with five men making their competitive debut in a Louth jersey.

He had hoped to play a more experienced outfit initially, but made the call to use the game as an early chance to blood the new faces into the group and show them what will be required at the county level.

They have a strong panel built for 2021 and the management team are confident other faces could show their hand ahead of Sunday’s clash with Cavan in Darver (Throw in 2pm).

“We did go for a more established, experienced team initially but we decided beforehand that if we got an opportunity that we would try and blood some players, give them the time on the field and that’s not disregarding the others who have been there with us before.”

“We have a good strong panel and we aim to use it, there may be more opportunities for those fellas and some others who didn’t play last Sunday, we are aiming to use our panel as best we can to win the games.”

“This game is hugely important because we have an opportunity now, we got the first two points in the bag and we would be hoping to push on now and that fellas take their opportunity against Cavan to do so.”

Cavan come into the contest off the back of a strong showing at home to Fermanagh, showing grit and determination to come from behind and score the last four points of the contest to bag a valuable draw.

That win leaves the Breffni men with plenty to play for in Darver, knowing a win brings them right back into contention for promotion.

The Keady Michael Dwyer’s clubman is not underestimating their threat, having come close to being knocked out by the Ulster side when they clashed in the Lory Meagher Cup last year and will give them the respect they deserve.

“It was do or die nearly last year in Breffni Park up in Cavan, we started it well and took control then let Cavan back into the game, alongside going down to 14 men which didn’t help but we saw the game out and from then on more confidence came into the players.”

“We are aware of what Cavan can bring, they have a couple of classy players, the likes of Brian Fitzgerald at full forward who scored 13 points last week, he is an excellent player and we want to stop supply to him as it will hurt us if he gets the service.”

“We know it is all on the line for Cavan this Sunday, we’ll speak about it in training this week and we will respect that it is going to be a huge challenge, we need to make sure we are spot on in terms of our preparation and attitude.”

Despite the prize of an immediate return to Division 3B almost being confirmed with another win, he is not letting his troops get carried away.

The pitfalls of looking too far ahead are something they don’t want to be affected by, with the mindset in the camp always about getting over the next game that is front of them.

McCormack is confident if they sort out the hiccups from the win last weekend they will be primed and ready to bring the contest to Cavan, while taking a step closer to promotion.

“The promotion aspect of things doesn’t factor into our preparations at all, not in the slightest, we just take it week to week which I am sure is the same with most teams, getting ahead of yourself can be dangerous and we won’t be falling into that trap”

“We are training really well, there is great spirit amongst the group and I would hope that they are hungry for more success.”

“With the small number of games in every league this year, it is like a mini championship, with people fighting to get promoted or stay up, so all of our preparation is towards the game on Sunday.”

“We are hoping to tone in on our scoring opportunities, as well as our discipline and if we can tighten those things up then hopefully we are in with a shout of getting the two points.”

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