GAA | Louth Minor boss backing his players to shine on the biggest stage this Sunday

Wee County face Dublin in their first Leinster final since 1971

Louth minors manager Wayne Kierans speaks to his players after the first round win over Laois. PICTURE: LOUTH GAA

The Louth Minor panel seemed to enjoy the attention that a Leinster final press call brings in Darver last Thursday night.

Wayne Kierans and his players certainly deserve to be in the spotlight after becoming the first minor side from this county to reach a Leinster Championship final in 46 years.

Whether they can bridge an even bigger gap and beat Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday to take the trophy back to Louth for the first time since 1953 remains to be seen but the Reds boss is in no doubt that his side have the capabilities to do it.

“It’s brilliant to have things like a media night and we have to enjoy the attention when we get it,” said Kierans.

“You’d like to think we’ll get more of it and hopefully in the future we’ll be well used to things like this.

“It’s part of the occasion and we’ll enjoy and embrace it but at the same time we’re focussed on getting our work done.

“There’s an awful lot at stake on Sunday but we’ll just say the same thing to them, regardless if it’s a game here in Darver or at Croke Park, and that’s ‘get your detail right’.
“We throw a lot of detail and organisation at them on the training pitch and work on it to the nth degree,” he continued.

“In fairness, they’re like sponges. They grasp things and they get it right and the fact that the stakes are so high on Sunday shouldn’t matter.

“If we do the right things at the right times then we should have a chance of winning the game.”

The O’Connell’s man did admit that the Croke Park factor could be an issue on Sunday.

For many of the Louth players, this will be their first time playing at HQ and Kierans says he will have to keep a close eye on how they react to the surroundings and atmosphere.

“I don’t think there’s any point in saying it’s just another pitch but, at the same time — and I know I’m contradicting myself here — it has two goals at the end of it,” he smiled.

“We have to be mentally strong and we’ve preached to them about their mentality. In the past, the mentality probably hasn’t been strong enough on Louth teams but these guys have shown they have character so we’ll handle it.”

Their results suggest that this Louth side has character in abundance. The Wee County have certainly taken the hard route to the final with all three of their wins en route to Croke Park — including the semi-final success over Wexford — coming with just one-point to spare.

“That’s testament to their character, their fitness and a testament to making the right decisions under pressure,” said Kierans.

“This is a real workmanlike team,” he added. “Last year’s minor team was really talented and there are guys there who have gone on to play for the senior team which is great.

“I have no doubt that there is potential for some of these lads to go on and play in the senior team but they are such a close-knit side.”

Kierans watched Dublin’s semi-final win over Kildare and he said they will bring no surprises to the table.

“They are what you expect,” he stated. “They’re very physical, big, strong guys, very slick with fast forwards.

“I don’t think there is a lot between the teams in Leinster and the results would suggest that. They’re not streets ahead of us.

“People might have that perception because the senior team is so far ahead of everybody else but the minter team is totally different.
“We’ll obviously give them respect but we believe we can beat them.”
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