Kierans keen to get started with first Louth panel
NEW Louth boss Wayne Kierans will take charge of his first full training session this week after putting the finishing touches to a 38-man squad.
The panel will have to be trimmed further ahead of the O’Byrne Cup in December, but for now the new Reds supremo is looking forward to ‘getting out on the pitch’.
‘It’s been an intense few weeks,’ he revealed. ‘We didn’t hold large -scale trials, but what we did was invite around 18-20 players in for three fairly intensive training sessions and from that we came up with about 12 guys who will join up with about 20-22 from last year’s panel. So we’ve a squad of 38, but long-term injuries Casey Byrne and Conor Grimes would be included in that,’ he said.
Kierans also revealed that the group that took part in informal trials included a number of players who exiled themselves under former boss Pete McGrath and he was delighted with the response.
‘I wanted to give certain guys a route back into the set-up and we felt that was the best way to achieve it. For example I wanted Conell McKeever back in the squad and thankfully he totally embraced the process and he’s back in now.
‘I have to say all the lads that we asked to go through that process really gave it everything and they are back in the squad on merit.’
With the possible exceptions of Patrick Reilly (travelling) and Paraic Smith (work committments), Kierans feels he is pretty much at full strength, although St Patrick’s attacker Eoin O’Connor is still abroad and Ciaran Byrne (broken ankle) and Conor Grimes (cruciate) will be out for the forseeable future.
Despite his devastating injury, Kierans insists Byrne’s return will be a massive boost to the county.
‘It was a big blow to him personally we’d love to have him back straight away but he’s going to be a huge addition to Louth football going forward. This has just delayed it a bit, but you can be sure Ciaran will be working hard. He even contacted us to ask for an upper body programme he can work on from our fitness coach Graham Byrne, so that’s a measure of the lad.’
Former Dundalk trainer Byrne will be a key figure under Kierans’ and he will be very heavily involved over the next few weeks.
‘We have a training plan set out that takes us up to the start of the National League and as you can imagine it will be intense. I met Graham when he was involved at the start of last season and he made a big impression on the players. He’ll be our fitness coach but he’ll also work on nutrition and bits of strength and conditioning. ‘
Kierans is still expected to add another selector to join Liam Kelleher and Cathal Murray on his backroom team, but that was put on the long finger as he concentrated on putting a panel together.
‘We didn’t even make contact with anyone but we’ll see how we go over the next few weeks and make a decision on it then,’ he added.
Louth manager Wayne Kierans.