Two teams that had reason to be happy with their opening days work in the 2017 Allianz Football league were Louth and Longford. Denis Connerton’s side defeated traditional rivals Offaly and now on Sunday next it’s another Leinster team they will face when they square up to the “Wee” county in Drogheda, it is also likely that Louth will be bouncing into this fixture with confidence after they defeated the O’Moore County in round one.
“Louth are the second best team in Leinster at the minute” That is the view that the Longford manager Denis Connerton shared with me when I caught up with him for the Shannonside radio and online preview to Sunday’s Division two round two encounter.
Now you could say the experienced Longford boss was engaging in mind games ahead of his side’s upcoming fixture in the North East. However on closer study perhaps there is foundation to the claims of Connerton when it comes to accessing where Louth are at present.
There is no argument that Dublin are the market leaders in Leinster. Fact. Then let’s look at the chasing pack and perhaps there is little to separate the rest of the teams. Meath and Kildare are operating a division higher and indeed the win last week for the Lilly Whites over the Royal County will probably elevate their status to one of the closet rivals to the almost unbeatable men from the capital.
Then start searching for the team next in the pecking order and Louth have to be the mix on recent form alone. Colin Kelly’s men went all the way to the final of the O’Byrne cup where they were beaten by what was described at the time Dublin’s third team. Some of the players on the experimental selection deployed by the League champions are fairly decent and would command a place on most inter-county teams anywhere else in the Country.
Last weekend in a live televised match Louth were very impressive winners against Laois and in the process they gave an indication just what they are capable of. The home side in Drogheda won’t have it all their own way at the weekend. Longford started off their league adventure with a win against the faithful county. A win that was built on a strong work ethic according to Denis Connerton who feels that his side dominated the game at different stages but they also need to be more consistent according to the Ratchline native
There is mixed news on the injury front for Longford. Robbie Smith and John Keegan are doubtful for the Louth match as a result of injuries picked up last weekend. Suspension robbed Connerton of Diarmuid Masterson and Darren Gallagher last weekend and while the latter will be available for the round 2 fixture, the situation with Masterson is not as straight forward as he is also struggling with injuries and Sunday’s game may come too soon in his recover process.
Full interview with Denis Connerton: