Derek Maguire is hoping to make his Louth return against Westmeath on Saturday. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Derek Maguire says Louth can’t expect to make championship progress unless they’re competing in the top two divisions of the National League.
The Wee County host Westmeath on Saturday afternoon knowing a win would put them in pole position for an immediate return to Division Two, ahead of the final round clash with Down.
Young Irelands star Maguire returned to the county set-up a fortnight ago, a week prior to the defeat to Carlow, following his club’s prolonged championship run and is hopeful of inclusion this weekend.
There is a widely-held notion that Louth would be better served by staying in the third tier in order to allow Wayne Kierans to continue moulding his young side.
But that’s not a view one of the manager’s most experienced campaigners subscribes to, though.
“We don’t travel to Darver every Tuesday and Thursday, go to the gym every Monday and Wednesday, and train at the weekend just to consolidate in a division,” Maguire told The Democrat.
“That’s not why you play football, that’s not why anyone plays football and if it is, you shouldn’t play football.
“At the start of the year, you set goals and obviously a goal for us is to get promoted. We’re not going to say that we’re just happy to stay up, no-one is ever happy just to stay up at the start of the year, especially when you get a few points.
“I know myself, there is a great opportunity here to push on for Division Two and I think a lot of the boys would be thinking the same.
“You want to go up and play with the better teams. As Richie Ford would say: ‘If you’re not at the table (‘with the big boys’), you’re on the menu’, and it’s true, if you’re not playing in Division One and Two, they’ll eat you alive when it comes to the championship.”
Maguire describes training as “top-notch” and although their three-match winning streak was ended at Cullen Park last Saturday week, confidence remains high ahead of a ‘make or break’ game against familiar opposition.
“It’s going to be a close game. Both teams are playing for the same goal which is ultimately to push on for promotion.
“We’ve played each other a lot over the last number of years and there’s generally only been the kick of a ball between us.
“But you’d be hoping to win and that a few other results would go your way so that you’re heading to Newry for a promotion play-off. Imagine the hype surrounding that. Training is intense now, but you could imagine the excitement before that one?”