Mickey Harte will bring great profile to Louth: Conor Grimes
CONOR Grimes is lean, mean and determined to be Louth’s scoring machine under Mickey Harte.
The Glen Emmets clubman, who made his 'Wee' County debut in 2014, has had a stuttering career in red so far, a mixture of travel, injury and fitness issues hindering the talented forward.
His most consistent season in county colours saw Antrim bear the brunt of Grimes’ potency, the ‘Tullyallen Tank’ scoring the winning goal in the teams’ Division Four final meeting at Croke Park five years ago.
That was the first of two successive promotions as Louth appeared to be moving in the right direction, though a double demotion sees the Leinster outfit back in the bottom tier – a league unfamiliar to Harte and his assistant Gavin Devlin.
Indeed, Louth enter this weekend’s home clash with Antrim on a run of 11 defeats from their past 13 competitive outings, including the 2019 Qualifier loss to the Saffrons in Drogheda.
“The profile the lads bring, All-Ireland winners coming down to Division Four, it’s a huge boost for the Louth players, the supporters and the division as a whole,” Grimes says.
“The guidance and help you get from the lads; the personal attention and man-management is second to none. They’re experienced and know what we need, and they have proven ways.
“For us it’s been about trying to get to grips with the different concepts and tasks as quickly as possible, which hasn’t been easy because they’re constantly pushing us to the pin of our collar and trying to get the best out of us.
“It was kind of now or never for me this year; I knew I had more to give and I was kind of out of shape over the past few years. I’d the ACL injury and then a bad injury to my ankle – I wasn’t fully over them. I wasn’t in the head space that I’m in now, I just wasn’t committing like I am now.”
Captain Sam Mulroy was Louth’s sole scorer in last year’s Leinster Championship loss to Longford, hitting 1-7 in the two-point reverse.
Grimes knows their reliance on the 23-year-old must lessen if they are to make a success of Harte’s first term in charge. Securing Division Three football for next year is a priority.
“We know we’re not just going to click our fingers and become an All-Ireland-winning team over night,” Grimes added.
“Mickey and ‘Horse’ [Devlin], more than anyone, know the years of work and dedication it takes to get to that kind of level.
“There are a number of different ways to measure performance. We have good youth coming into the squad who will be blooded as the League campaigns goes on, and that’s another thing that bodes well for Louth football.
“But, at the same time, for the future and the lads coming on, we don’t want them coming into a set-up in Division Four and without a good chance at a prolonged championship season.
“Promotion is the goal – we don’t want to be playing Division 4 next year.”