Monday 19 March 2018

Mighty Dubs can be beaten

GAA Electric Ireland Leinster MFC Final

Wayne Kierans
Wayne Kierans

John Savage

Louth Minor boss Wayne Kierans insists Dublin are beatable as he prepares his young Red heroes for the county's first Leinster final appearance for 46 years on Sunday (Croke Park, 2.00).

Still buzzing from his side's momentous victory in Wexford on Tuesday night, the O'Connell's clubman was a very interested spectator in Newbridge the following night as the Sky Blues saw off their hosts in another tight, but nowhere near as tense encounter.

'Dublin are what you'd expect them to be. They're big, strong and physical, but they're slick and fast too with good forwards.

'At the end of the day they're in the final, but I don't think there's a huge amount between all the teams and the results would bare that out, certainly from the quarter-final stage on.

'They're absolutely not streets ahead, there's no question about that. People have that perception because of the seniors but the minor team is totally different. We'll obviously give them respect but we'll believe we can beat them.'

Kierans admitted that playing in Croke Park will be a factor for his young team, but he insists they won't be daunted by it.

'Croke Park is a factor, there's no point in saying it's just another pitch. But at the same time it has two goals and all the same lines and I believe if we keep the same detail, whether we play in Darver or Croke Park, we should do well.

 'We keep on to them about mentality, but these guys have proved they have a strong mentality. Croke Park is a factor but I'm confident we'll handle it.'

Kierans has no fresh injury concerns with Naomh Mairtin's Jack Murphy still the only major doubt. 'Jack had a bout of pneumonia and while he wasn't going to start against Wexford he's the first or second sub in, so it was devastating for him and we'll see how he is. He's an important player for us.'

Hosting a Leinster final press conference was certainly not something Kierans was expecting at the start of the year, but he was determined that his team embrace the build-up and enjoy it.

'It's been brilliant and we have to enjoy the attention while we get it. You'd like to think it might happen a bit more in the future, but it's great, it's all part of the occasion and we'll embrace it and enjoy it.'

He also paid tribute to his players for what has been an extraordinary run to the final, with all three games won by the minimum margin.

'The run has been testament to their character, but also to their fitness and to making the right decisions at the right time. It's down to the boys making all those right decisions and fair play to them. We're plus-three points for three championship games so that's good.

'There was a lot at stake in Wexford, but we repeat the same things to them. We throw a lot of detail at them and they grasp it and they get it right - they're like sponges.

'If you keep doing the right things at the right time you have a chance of winning and that's what we're doing at the minute.

'It's a real workmanlike team. Last year's team had the ability to do really well too but for that game in Drogheda against Laois that still haunts me.

'There was only a bounce of a ball between us and Laois who went on to the final. A few of those guys broke into the senior set-up and I think there's potential for some of these guys to do the same, without a doubt.'

Regardless of the result on Sunday Louth are guaranteed an All-Ireland quarter-final spot. If they lose they will face Kerry, while a victory would see them face Munster runners-up, Clare.

The Argus