Louth manager Wayne Kierans. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Debate over a tiered inter-county championship may be rife, but Louth’s squad and management are adamant that Saturday’s Leinster quarter-final against Dublin is something to be embraced.
Wayne Kierans’ men face the All-Ireland champions in Portlaoise aiming to put in a strong performance as opposed to harbouring hopes of victory - the county’s first over the Sky Blues since 1973 - yet the Louth manager is approaching the game positively.
“If it ends up in tiered championships, which it inevitably will with some sort of structural change, it’s about making sure you get up to the top level,” Kierans told The Democrat.
“There’s a lot of debate around it, but, at the moment, I suppose I wouldn’t even give it a second thought.”
Likewise, midfielder James Califf says facing the top teams is deeply embedded in the attraction of playing at the elite level.
“Why would you not want to play against Dublin? Why would you not want to put yourself up against the best players where, if we put in a performance, it’s going to improve us as players?
“They’re one of the best teams in the country and we’ve a chance to put it up to them, so why not?
“Talk of the tier two or three championship; to me, I wouldn’t be in favour of that at all. I want a crack at the top teams. Every team has its day. Dublin were down for long enough and now they’re on top.
“Surprises happen in the championship; Limerick beat Tipp, Derry put it up to Tyrone, Wicklow put it up to Kildare. They’re Division Four teams.
“I know you’re playing the All-Ireland champions, but there’s no reason why we can’t go out and give a performance to the best of our ability and then see where that takes us, because it’s something to strive towards.
“We’re all here wanting to play with Louth and play and perform as best we can to bring everyone in the county along with us.”