Refreshed Kelly ready for Offaly test

Daniel Bannon


Daniel Bannon

Refreshed Kelly ready for Offaly test

Louth’s blistering early season form meant that Colin Kelly and his players were able to enjoy the luxury of a rare weekend with their feet up.

The Louth panel have been working hard since New Year’s Day but with round three not due to take place this Sunday, when Louth travel to Offaly, Kelly said that a break would only benefit his squad.

“Most definitely,” he said. “In terms of rest, there were seven matches in a six-week period so you would like to think it is a huge benefit to everyone to have a rest.

”It is a brave call to turn around to lads and say we're only going to do one session but I think the situation we're in, and with the bodies we have, it’s the right one.

“Overall it was good and it will benefit us, just as long as we don't lose any bodies in the Sigerson Cup, Trench Cup or from the U21s playing in Blessington on Wednesday night.

“Ideally we'd love to have fellas with 100% focus on Offaly, but that’s not the case,” he continued. “Lads are focusing on college games and U21 games so it will be nice to get the majority of them back on Tuesday night and see where we’re at.”

Louth went into their mini-break with two wins from their opening two games and Kelly is confident that the lull won’t disrupt their rhythm.

“The lads are very tuned in and for the last three years we've been putting down layer after layer of a gameplay and it seems to be coming to fruition now.

“The makeup of the squad and the players that fit into the plan have an understanding of it so it will come together pretty quickly next week.”

Sunday’s game will see the Reds face Leinster opposition for the third successive outing and Kelly says his troops will relish an away day in Tullamore.

“We don't mind going away from home, absolutely not,” he stated. “It’s a lovely ground and players want to play on these pitches.

“When you come out at O'Connor Park you see a fantastic stand and it’s a fantastic setting for football. It is a ground I always enjoyed playing in and our players will be the same.

“It is a little bit heavier underfoot than people would think,” he added. “To look at it from the stand you think this is a sand based pitch and it is a great surface that is immaculately kept but it is a little bit heavier than the surface we played on in Navan or Portlaoise. Overall, though, I think it will suit our lads.”

Kelly guided Louth’s U21s to victory against a much fancied Offaly side in a Leinster semi-final in 2012. As a result, he knows only too well what to expect from the Faithful County but his attention is focussed on what happens a lot closer to home.

“I know it’s a cliche but I honestly don't look outside our own dressing room,” he stated.

“Yes I've seen Offaly playing and you can have really in depth analysis all you like but if you don't do your own stuff then it counts for very little.

“We'll have a look at Offaly but for us it’s about going through what we've been doing this past 18 months - not the last three or five weeks.

“Since we came back in October 2015, we set standards for ourselves and that has continued. We will have a brief on Offaly, we will have our homework done, but as long as our standards are high we'll be in with a real shout.”