Ryan Burns (Pic: Ciaran Culligan)
It seems such a long time ago since Ryan Burns launched himself into the national eye.
Nearly three years to the day since he exploded onto the national scene with a match-winning goal against Westmeath, Burns reflects on an inter-county career which has made steady progress.
"I suppose it started on such a high and kind of levelled out a wee bit,” Burns told the Dundalk Democrat.
“Back-to-back promotions have been another great boost and it keeps you going, keeps you motivated to keep getting better.”
“You know there is always another step you can go and hopefully Louth can take another couple of steps over the next few years.
It has been a great couple of years, hopefully this year’s championship will better that even further,” he added.
From the outside, Burns made the relatively large step to inter-county football look quite easy, however, working on his game is something he pays a lot of attention to.
“It is handy that Hunterstown’s pitch is just down the road from me, so whenever I get a spare minute or two, I grab a bag of balls and head down,” the DCU student explains.
“You have to be practicing in this day and age. You can't be leaving any stone unturned when it comes to senior inter county football.
“So, whenever you get the chance, you go down and have a kick about and you try to get as much done as you and then you know when it comes to the crunch you have that practice in the bag,” said Burns.
A decade ago, an 11-year-old Burns watched his uncles, Mark and David Brennan, play for Louth in the epic three-game saga with Wicklow.
Chance would have it, one game from that trilogy stands out more vividly to Burns than the rest; the drawn replay in Parnell Park, the same venue as this weekend’s Leinster Championship clash.
"I remember one of them really well, they were playing in Parnell Park. I remember standing behind the goals, at the opposite end to the scoreboard.
“They were exiting games and we really couldn't get rid of them. So, we can't take anything for granted with Wicklow.
“We played them last year in Division Four and that would have been my first time coming across them. We played them with the Under 21s this year as well and they had a couple of handy enough footballers.
“Obviously, their league campaign wasn't great this year, but championship is a different story and I'm sure they'll have their camp in order and be ready to try and cause an upset this weekend,” Burns stated.