Dreadnots' Craig Shevlin will captain Louth minors in Tuesday night's Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship opener against Kilkenny at Nowlan Park. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Louth U17 boss Gus Flynn can call upon two of last year’s Wee County minor panel for Tuesday’s Leinster Championship opener against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park.
Patrick Murtagh of Kilkerley Emmets and Dreadnots clubman Craig Shevlin will provide experience, while captain Conall McCaul (St. Joseph’s) and Ardee, St. Marys’ Carl Gillespie - who sustained a serious injury in last year’s defeat to Dublin - are others with knowledge of this grade who are hopeful of a return to fitness in the coming weeks.
“They’re a seriously talented bunch,” Flynn told The Democrat ahead of the game.
“We’re looking at the team week-in, week-out and we know what they’re like, but last Saturday (week) I got Wayne Kierans to do a session with them and he said: ‘I can see why you’re so excited about this group, they’re a serious team’. He put them up against his Leinster final side.
“It’s nice to get an outside view like that, especially from someone of the knowledge of Wayne.”
Club football involving this year’s U17s has been notoriously strong as the players have moved through the ages, Cooley Kickhams, St. Mary’s Roche Emmets, O’Raghallaigh’s, Naomh Máirtín and St. Joseph’s each proving themselves to be of prominent levels.
The Louth team also includes Luke Matthews, the Ardee sharpshooter who starred in his club’s 2018 minor championship final victory, while Flynn says Joe’s player Ben Collier is “faster running with the ball than he is without it”.
The manager, a Mattock Rangers man, feels his team’s forward line are especially exciting, saying that the chief task will relate to marrying their scoring power with defensive solidity.
Regardless, the Reds will be confident of starting with a win, ahead of May clashes with Kildare and Wicklow to see who progresses from the group.
But the last time Louth minors played Kilkenny in competition, in 2005, the Cats emerged victorious and Flynn is wary of avoiding a repeat disaster given that the Black and Amber come into this one after a three-year exile from competing in the Leinster Championship at this grade.
Louth: Niall Brady (Cooley Kickhams); Aidan Grant (Roche Emmets), Peter Lynch (Roche Emmets), MJ Hanlon (Cooley Kickhams; James McDonnell (Roche Emmets), Michael Staunton (St. Joseph’s), Páraic McKenny (Ardee, St. Mary’s); Craig Shevlin (Dreadnots), Tómas Rice (Sean O’Mahony’s); Kyle McElroy (O’Raghallaigh’s), Donal Leavy (Geraldines), Patrick Murtagh (Kilkerley Emmets); Ben Collier (St. Joseph’s), Luke Matthews (Ardee, St. Mary’s), Tom Gray (Naomh Máirtín)
Subs: Jack Lynch (Naomh Máirtín), Daniel McArdle (St. Bride’s), Harry O’Neill (St. Fechin’s), Evan Maher (St. Kevin’s), Ronan McBride (Cooley Kickhams), ,Jamie Ward (Hunterstown Rovers), Ewan Sweeney (O’Raghallaigh’s), Pádraig Downey (St. Nicholas), Fintan Watters (Roche Emmets), Aaron Crawford (Kilkerley Emmets), Darren Connor (St. Patrick’s), Tom Matthews (St. Kevin’s), Conall Rice (O’Raghallaigh’s), Aaron Mills (St. Patrick’s), Conall McCaul (St. Joseph’s), Enda O’Neill (Cooley Kickhams), Carl Gillespie (Ardee, St. Mary’s), Aaron Carolan (Cooley)