Pete McGrath returns to inter-county scene after taking up Louth job
ALL-IRELAND winning manager Pete McGrath was last night confirmed as the new manager of Louth – taking up the reins in the Wee County just over two months after his exit from Fermanagh.
The Rostrevor man was ratified at a meeting of the Louth County Board in Darver, having been linked with vacant posts in Antrim, Donegal and Westmeath since departing the Erne County in July.
He will be assisted by his fellow Down man Declan Mussen - who was previously part of Peter Fitzpatrick’s Louth backroom team in 2012 - plus two selectors from within the county.
McGrath, who led his native Mournemen to All-Ireland titles in 1991 and 1994, was contacted about the Louth job back in 2003 and turned the post down four years later before Eamonn McEneaney was appointed.
After leaving the Down job in 2002, the former schoolteacher went on to manage Cooley Kickham’s, leading them to a county final, so has some experience of football in the Wee County.
He takes over from Colin Kelly, who stepped down after three years in charge, during which he led Louth to back-to-back promotions from Division Four. The Drogheda man walked away in the aftermath of their Qualifier exit to Longford back in June.
McGrath’s first action in his latest managerial post will be in January’s O’Byrne Cup, before attention turns to a potentially difficult Division Two campaign in the National League.
His newly-promoted charges will start as one of the favourites for relegation in a second tier that also includes Cavan, Roscommon, Meath, Cork, Clare, Tipperary and Down.
Earlier this year, he saw his Fermanagh side drop down to Division Three on a dramatic final day when the Ernemen fell to Derry at the death, while Down’s late draw in Cork saved their bacon.
Having lost a host of players from the panel, results did not pick up by the time Championship came around, with Monaghan sending them tumbling out of Ulster at the preliminary round stage before Armagh cut their summer short in the Qualifiers.