Louth manager Wayne Kierans. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Louth manager Wayne Kierans was encouraged by his team's display in securing their first victory under his stewardship, against Wicklow in Bray on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds demolished their hosts in the second round of the O'Byrne Cup to keep alive their semi-final prospects ahead of next week's final group clash away to Longford.
Ten different Louth players got on the scoresheet, with Ryan Burns and Sam Mulroy hitting four points apiece.
Kierans said: "It was a good day’s work. We won’t be getting carried away. We’ve lots to work on, but I think the group are working well together.
"The panel is getting stronger training session by training session. There is Ciarán Downey getting his first minutes of the season and was excellent, Fergal Donohoe and a couple of others to come back still, and a few guys out ill today.
"The panel is getting stronger and when it comes to the crunch towards the middle-to-end of January and 26 have to be picked for a matchday, the guys will have to be busting a gut to make the 26 never mind the 15."
"The boys did well during the third quarter, made some great decisions in attack and got some good scores. There was some good play," he added.
"The last 10 minutes was a situation of us practising how to keep the ball and keep possession and close games out. You’d have to be happy."
The result aside, the O'Connell's clubman alluded to the performance as the most pleasing aspect, especially following their dour display in the pre-Christmas loss to Wexford.
"The key was the performance, that’s what we were looking for. We felt in the Meath challenge match that the performance was ok and we didn’t feel that way against Wexford, but today, and given the variables involved, that we went down to 14 men, you’d even be more pleased with the performance.
"To win, it’s a bonus and it sets us up for another game next week where, again, we’ll be looking for a performance."
Victory over Longford on Saturday would send the Reds into the semi-final for the first time since 2017, the year they last reached the decider.