Louth's Shannen McLaughlin. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
The Louth Ladies have been an upward curve this year, after a little hiccup on the opening day of the league they went on to win four in row all in emphatic fashion to seal a memorable Division Four Title.
Unfortunately their momentum took a big blow last week as near neighbours Down accounted for the Wee County, an early onslaught enough to seal a vital 1-6 to 0-7 victory that booked their place in the intermediate Championship Quarter Finals.
However despite this setback, their captain Shannen McLaughlin is taking the loss in her stride, feeling there was plenty of positives to take ahead of going into battle this Sunday in Clane against Offaly (Throw in 5PM).
“They scored 1-3 in the first 10 minutes and then they only scored three points for the remainder of the game, for 45 minutes. That is a positive and you could say if they had not scored the goal we might’ve won” recalled the young captain.
“But they deserved the win, they kept us to seven points which no team has been able to do this year, so they defended well too and are a very good side. They are very organised in the back and have plenty in the tank going forward but we’ll come up against that sort of thing again this week.”
“That is just something we will have to work on, we are going to keep learning and building, we’ll bring that into the game on Sunday, that desire and want, it is a sort of final for us now on Sunday and the pressure will hopefully help us.”
The sides last clashed at the same venue as this weekend, on a sweltering hot afternoon in Kildare, Louth outmatched the Faithful Girls to run out 3-10 to 2-4 winners.
Having seen first-hand the effects a loss can have; The Clan Na Gael clubwoman knows that Offaly will be eager to put that result right on Sunday.
The Midlanders came close to beating the Ernesiders when they met in the opening game, that performance showed Mclaughlin that they will be very hard to beat this time around.
“Offaly are going to be really hungry, when Leitrim beat us in the league it hurt us and I think they are going to approach it in a similar attitude to what we had in the final when we played Leitrim again. It is not going to be an easy game, they are going to bring their very best.”
“I was at their game against Down and they were exceptional, they did really well and like us were unlucky not to have come away with the win. They have a good attacking threat; they are strong at the back and it won’t be an easy ride.”
One thing Sunday’s game will have in common with June’s League encounter will be the heat, something that will make playing any sport to a high level extremely difficult.
She believes her fellow players have slowly gotten used to the demands the heat brings but feels they and her backroom team have been brilliant in making sure they prepare efficiently both mentally and physically for the challenge by hydrating well throughout.
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