Defender Rath focused on securing more silverware
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.’