De­fender Rath fo­cused on se­cur­ing more sil­ver­ware

The Argus - - SPORT -

PADRAIG Rath ad­mit­ted that beat­ing Meath at any stage of the year is a sweet feel­ing, but he stressed that win­ning games and set­ting up a crack at more sil­ver­ware against the Dubs on Sun­day was Louth’s main pri­or­ity.

‘Meath beat us twice last year, so it’s al­ways nice to come over here and win and that’s great for the sup­port­ers,’ he said. ‘For us it’s about win­ning the game and get­ting to the fi­nal. We en­ter three com­pe­ti­tions at the start of the year and this is a good chance to win sil­ver­ware. There’s no point in just say­ing it’s the O’Byrne Cup, they’re

games you want to win, and it’s a com­pe­ti­tion we want to win.’

Per­for­mance is also para­mount for the ex­pe­ri­enced de­fender and he felt that once Louth set­tled into Sun­day’s joust with the old en­emy, they played some at­trac­tive foot­ball.

‘We didn’t set­tle in the first-half, we missed a hat­ful of chances and dropped a few short, but we were pretty con­fi­dent com­ing in that we could give it a good rat­tle and when we set­tled it was good to have the lead com­ing in half-time. That gave us some­thing to build on and, with that, and hav­ing a ex­tra man for a lot of the game we would have been very dis­ap­pointed to let this one slip.’

Al­though Louth were slow to find their rhythm in at­tack, Rath felt they were on top in the key sec­tors and it was just a mat­ter of time be­fore they made it count.

‘We were de­fen­sively strong and didn’t give up any goal chances. They kicked a few points, but we gave them a cou­ple of silly frees. We didn’t look un­der too much pres­sure and we won a few breaks around the mid­dle and we had great en­ergy in there with Andy and Tommy and then you have Be­van and Con­nall com­ing in there as well. We tried to break fast, and it didn’t re­ally hap­pen for us in the first-half, but we were bet­ter at it in the sec­ond-half.

‘But the few scores be­fore half-time set­tled us. Tommy Durnin kicked a great point with his left foot and Derek Maguire got for­ward to get a cou­ple and that gave us a bit of con­fi­dence. That made our job at the back a lit­tle eas­ier in the sec­ond-half, it gave us some­thing to de­fend.

‘In the sec­ond-half I thought we played some very good foot­ball and we looked com­fort­able on the ball. Against Car­low we made a lot of silly han­dling and pass­ing er­rors.

‘There was a spell where we didn’t win a cou­ple of kick-outs and they got a few scores, and it’s hard to get your hands on the ball and slow it down when that hap­pens and the noise didn’t help.

‘But we got for­ward and Pepe (Paraic Smith) kicked a score to set­tle us again and we just kept the gap at three or four. When the penalty came, credit to Jim he stuck it away well and gave us a good cush­ion.’

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