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GAA Football

London Qualifier can be 'new beginning' for Louth says Pete McGrath

Pete McGrath was hugely disappointed by Louth's second half performance against Carlow as they exited the Leinster Championship. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

LOUTH boss Pete McGrath is hoping Sunday’s trip to London can be “a new beginning” for his men after last month’s disappointing Leinster Championship exit to Carlow.

McGrath was hugely frustrated with the Wee County’s second half display in that game as they ended up being blasted away, 2-17 to 0-12.

Coming on the back of a Division Two campaign that ended in relegation after seven defeats from seven games, it was not the start to life in Louth that the former Down and Fermanagh boss would have hoped for.

But, following a four week break, they head into the Qualifiers this weekend. And McGrath is hoping to follow the lead of other counties who have embraced the back door system through the years.

“That [break] does give the opportunity for the disappointment and the pain to subside,” said the two-time All-Ireland winner.

“Sunday now seems like a new beginning. A number of so-called smaller counties have done well in the Qualifiers in recent years, for example Longford who have beaten teams in Qualifiers and built on that.

“This Louth team has to look at Sunday’s game and see it in terms of getting experience in Championship football. They are a young side. A lot of experienced players left the squad last year between retirements, emigration, that kind of thing.

“So the more matches they get will stand them in good stead, and that’s why Sunday’s game is so important.”

And McGrath insists the rise of Carlow, and their comprehensive defeat of Division One outfit Kildare next time out, showed that Louth were beaten by a county on the up.

He added: “Carlow went on to beat Kildare, and at no stage in that game did Kildare lead.

“So when you see Carlow doing that, you maybe revise your own performance a bit. Carlow had the momentum of promotion of Division Four where we hadn’t won a game in Division Two. In that situation, whether you like it or not, a team’s confidence is brittle.

“We were all disappointed, particularly with the second half performance because the first 25 minutes of the game, Louth probably played the best football they’ve played this year.

“In the second half we just seemed to lack a competitive edge. I was very, very disappointed, even verging on being angry.

“So Sunday is an opportunity for redemption of some kind. We know what’s at stake, and we know what it will take for us to win the game.”

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