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Backdoor suits the Dubs: Hoey

LOUTH veteran Aaron Hoey suspects Dublin's provincial failings this season may have been part of a greater masterplan deployed by Pat Gilroy and his managerial cohorts designed to deliver an All-Ireland title.

Louth, who were handed a first championship meeting with the Dubs since their 13-point mauling in the opening round of the 2008 Leinster championship, face Gilroy's side this Saturday at Croke Park (5.0) and Hoey reckons the quick procession of matches that Dublin have faced since their ignominious exit from Leinster (losing heavily to Meath) has helped build momentum.


The match will be Dublin's fourth in successive weekends and Hoey feels the benefits of such a hectic schedule outweigh the pluses of claiming another Delaney Cup.

"The back door probably suits Dublin this year," said Hoey. "Winning a sixth Leinster in-a-row wasn't going to be of any huge benefit to them as a team.

"It may even have been an idea that crept into a plan beforehand, that they'd go this route."

Hoey was surprised at Armagh's lethargy in Croke Park last Saturday but felt that Dublin's gameplan was well conceived and identified Bernard and Alan Brogan as the danger men that Louth must be wary of this weekend.

"I thought Armagh would be a lot better but the Dubs did their homework on them and didn't let them reach their best," he explained.

"Dublin were very impressive around the middle. They got in behind the ball and they obviously had a system that worked well.

"The two Brogans were very dangerous and they have a vast amount of experience that they can bring off the bench."

Hoey feels that the 11-point gap between the Dubs and Meath in their Leinster semi-final was an inaccurate reflection of the gulf in class between the teams and says Louth's ability to stick with the Royals in their ill-fated Leinster final is irrelevant for the purposes of comparison.

"You can't associate those two results, you can't put them in the same sentence, they were two completely different games," he said.

"Our game with Meath was a one-off. It was a final and any final is always a 50-50 shot. Whatever has happened before doesn't really matter."

Hoey also insisted that the debacle over Joe Sheridan's disputed Leinster final winner and the possibility of a refixture being offered by the Royals was now firmly put to bed by the Louth squad. "Basically, we've calmed the whole situation down. We're not getting too excited and it's back to normal."

Dublin's clash with Louth is part of a Croke Park double-header this Saturday with beaten Ulster finalists, Monaghan, facing Kildare at 3pm.

John Murphy's Dublin minor hurlers face Antrim this Saturday at noon at Crossmaglen in the All-Ireland MHC quarter-final. Originally the game was scheduled for Newry but has now been confirmed for Crossmaglen.

All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 4 ( All Saturday): Monaghan v Kildare, Croke Park, 3.0; Louth v Dublin, Croke Park, 5;. Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, 5.0; Sligo v Down, Breffni Park, 5.0.

All-Ireland MHC quarter-finals (Saturday): Antrim v Dublin, Crossmaglen, 12.0

All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals (Sunday): Cork v Antrim, Croke Park, 2.0; Tipperary v Galway, Croke Park, 4.0.

All-Ireland MHC quarter-finals (Sunday): Waterford v Galway, Croke Park, 12.0.