Kierans not getting too carried away by his maiden victory
Wayne Kierans had cause to celebrate on Saturday after picking up his first win as Louth manager, but he insisted he won't be getting carried away by one result in the O'Byrne Cup.
Even playing with 14 men for most of the match, the Reds proved far too strong for a woeful Wicklow team, but a much stiffer test awaits in this coming Saturday's final round of group fixtures as Louth make the trip to Longford.
The midlanders began their campaign with a one-point victory over Wicklow but were more impressive in edging out Meath - also by the minimum margin - in Ashbourne and will qualify for the semi-finals if they can beat the Wee County.
However, with that success against Wicklow under their belts, Louth can also advance to the semis with a win and Kierans will want his team to engineer another result despite the close proximity of the upcoming NFL Division 3 clash with Longford.
'The performance was what we were looking for,' he began, speaking after the win in Bray.
'We felt that in the Meath challenge match the performance was okay, we didn't feel it was okay against Wexford, but today giving the fact we were down to 14 men you'd be even more pleased.
'The win was a bonus and it sets us up for another game next week, and again we'll be looking for a performance.
'What it gives you would be another competitive game in the O'Byrne Cup. It stops the need to look for challenges pre-league. We'll definitely be going to win and if we produce another performance similar to that - with 15 men this time - we'd have a very good chance of winning.'
Given the nature of this tournament, Kierans may well tweak his line-up for the trip to Longford and one or two of the subs who made a big impression in Bray could earn starting berths.
'The panel is getting stronger with training sessions. There's Ciaran Downey with his first minutes of the season - excellent - and Fergal Donohue also and a couple of others as well, and a couple of others still to come back and a couple of guys out ill today.
'When it comes to the crunch towards the end of January, there's 26 that have to be picked for match-day and the guys really have to be busting a gut to make that 26, never mind the 15.'
Looking back, the Louth boss was delighted with the way his team reacted to the blow of losing Andy McDonnell to a red card.
'I genuinely didn't see it,' he responded when asked about the sending-off incident, 'but the referee said there was a big reaction from the Wicklow bench. He said 'check the video' and obviously he deemed it to be a striking offence, but I honestly don't know. Andy's not too sure it was a striking offence and a red card, but it was definitely a blow and it was very early in the game - about 10 minutes gone.
'Credit to the boys the way they put in such an intense workmanlike performance at this stage of the year.
'They made some great decisions in attack and got some good scores. There was good play and it was a real intense performance when we had got the ball, when we hadn't got the ball, and in the last 10 minutes we practised keeping the ball and keeping possession and closed the game out.
'All in all you'd have to be happy. I wish we'd reached a higher level of performance in Darver against Wexford, but conditions were really bad. It was a perfect day today. It was a good day's work, but we won't be getting carried away. We're not brilliant because we've won a game, the same as we weren't terrible when we lot against Wexford.
'We've loads to work on, but I think the group is working well together - that's the main thing - and there's instances and periods of the game where you'd be really happy with it and we just have to keep polishing that now.'