All about the per­for­mance for new Reds boss

The Argus - - SPORT - JOHN SAV­AGE

FORM and con­sis­tency will trump re­sults over the next cou­ple of weeks as Wayne Kier­ans takes charge of his first com­pet­i­tive games as Louth boss.

The Reds face Wex­ford at home this week­end and are away to Wick­low in Aughrim a week later, with their fi­nal O’Byrne Cup group stage as­sign­ment fall­ing af­ter Christ­mas, in Long­ford on Jan­uary 5th.

At the time of go­ing to press there was some doubt sur­round­ing Satur­day’s clash with Wex­ford, as the 2pm throw-in dis­played on the Le­in­ster GAA web­site causes a di­rect clash with Dundalk Young Ire­lands Le­in­ster Club fi­nal date with St Brigid’s of Of­faly.

To com­pli­cate mat­ters fur­ther the Young Ire­land’s match is fixed for Drogheda.

Ini­tial re­ports sug­gested the Louth game would be moved to Dow­dall­shill at 2pm, but Kier­ans said he would be keen to avoid a clash with the Young Ire­lands game.

‘Ab­so­lutely, we wouldn’t want to be go­ing up against that game and a lot of peo­ple will want to go to both. We of­fered to play on Satur­day evening or even Sun­day, but I haven’t had any of­fi­cial word back yet.’

When the lo­gis­tics are even­tu­ally set­tled, Kier­ans would ob­vi­ously love to kick off his ten­ure with a win, but he’ll be more con­cerned with the per­for­mances against Wex­ford and Wick­low.

‘The re­sult cer­tainly isn’t the be-all and end-all. We’ll be look­ing for a pro­gres­sion in the per­for­mances from game to game. We’d hope to re­pro­duce last week’s dis­play against Meath for the full 70 min­utes next time and then you’d be hop­ing to see an im­prove­ment again against Wick­low.

‘The guys have an­other full week’s train­ing be­hind them and we’re get­ting closer to a full pick so we’re look­ing for­ward to get­ting started.’

The ex­pe­ri­enced Be­van Duffy and Andy McDon­nell both re­turned to train­ing af­ter the Meath clash, but Kier­ans is still with­out Derek Maguire and Fer­gal Sheekey, who will be con­cen­trat­ing on Young Ire­lands quest for Le­in­ster and All-Ire­land glory un­til fur­ther no­tice.

The Wex­ford game will also come too soon for New­town Blues’ un­der-21 con­tin­gent. Em­met Carolan, Fer­gal Dono­hoe, Ross Nally and Ciaran Downey all fea­tured for the county cham­pi­ons as they made it back-to-back U-21 ti­tles to go along with their se­nior two-in-a-row.

Kier­ans will also be get­ting an early glimpse of Louth’s Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship op­po­nents this week­end as Louth have been drawn against Wex­ford next sum­mer in a clash that was last week fixed for In­no­vate Wex­ford Park on May 12th.

De­spite be­ing drawn out first Louth have to con­cede home ad­van­tage due to a home and away agree­ment with the Yel­low Bel­lies. The last Le­in­ster clash be­tween the sides was in Drogheda in 2013 when the Model County de­feated Ai­dan O’Rourke’s Louth side.

Kier­ans has fond per­sonal mem­o­ries of Wex­ford Park, hav­ing guided Louth mi­nors to a Le­in­ster semi-fi­nal vic­tory at the venue in 2016, but he doubts how much ei­ther side will learn about each other this week­end.

‘I can’t see it hav­ing much bear­ing on the cham­pi­onship game. There’s a lot foot­ball to be played be­tween now and then. we’re miss­ing a few and I’m sure they are too,’ he added.

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