Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Old hand' Bevan takes the positives from defeat

John Savage

Bevan Duffy may have been operating in a new position on Saturday, but he's now one of the 'old heads' in a very youthful Louth squad.

With Neil Gallagher, Adrian Reid and Derek Crilly hanging up their boots and Padraig Rath ruling himself out for the time being also, the likes of Duffy, Derek Maguire and Jim McEneaney are now the elder statesmen of Pete McGrath's squad.

But age is not the same thing as experience and Duffy insists that even the young guns have plenty of miles on the clock.

'Tommy Durnin was kind enough to tell me I'm the oldest in the squad now, so that was a bit of a shock to the system. I remember being a young lad in all these squads, but it's not the case any more. There's plenty of experience there at the same time and that squad over the last three or four years has built up a lot of experience, so we just have to make sure we put it across as best we can.

'Aaron Kahn and Fergal Donohue were starting today for the first time and James Butler came on and it's good to get these lads going. 'Willie Woods put in a serious shift, I thought, at 13. He was dropping back and putting a lot of work in and that's what it's all about - getting these lads in and bedding new lads in.'

The result is never hugely important in the O'Byrne Cup, but Duffy felt Louth could just as easily have come away with a victory as a six-point defeat.

'We missed a good goal chance which would have put us a couple of points up, I think and they took their chance straight after. These things happen and that's how the game swings. It was a sloppy goal to give away. The first half was a bit frustrating. We had bags of possession but were killing ourselves dropping the ball into the keeper's hands and giving the ball away.

'We knew with the wind against us we had to get lads forward. We were getting lads forward and giving it away with sloppy hand passes and sloppy foot passes - I was guilty of a couple myself - and it killed us. We didn't take advantage of what we were doing in the first half, which I thought we did well considering the conditions.

'Their goal kind of took the wind out of us when we were up and going, but these things happen. Willie's a bit gutted in there actually, but he's no reason to be gutted. I thought he put in a serious shift. Like I said to him, it's that sort of moment that he'll definitely make sure it's right the next time.'

Overall, Duffy admitted that Longford deserved their win and that their experience was crucial.

'They're an experienced old side and went about their business quite well. You could see it - they held onto the ball a little bit better and they were a bit more patient in their build-up play and took their chances a bit better.

'All credit to them - they are a good side and they actually have a good record in the O'Byrne Cup as far as I know. 'But there are a lot of positives to be taken out of it at the same time, so we'll get to work on Monday and get up to Kildare on Wednesday.

'We're working on things constantly. Pete's got a system there in place that we're trying to work on and lads are trying to get used to it. You could see it in bits out there today that we are working on different things. It's coming together - it's not going to happen straight away - but Wednesday's another chance to get going at it.

'These games are a massive benefit. We just have to take advantage of them and get as much out of them as you can. You have to treat them with the respect they deserve. It's easy with these things to sort of go in half-hearted, but we haven't. We've got great benefit out of this over the last few years and will continue to do so this year.'

But while competitive games are very welcome in the subsidiary competition, Duffy wasn't impressed by the early start to the campaign.

'It's getting worse and worse - it's unbelievable. The college teams are gone, so I don't see what the thinking behind it is. But look, it is what it is - you just get on with it and lay off the turkey and ham for the Christmas dinner.

'We'll be on the pitch here on Monday, so we'll celebrate it [New Year] with a few runs up and down that hill, I'd say, but that's all part of it and we don't sign up for it for nothing.'

Drogheda Independent