All about the performance for new Reds boss
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.