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We won't fear Dubs

IT may be 37 years since Louth last took Dublin's championship scalp, but current captain Paddy Keenan insists they have "nothing to fear" from this Saturday's Croke Park encounter with the Sky Blues.

Keenan also reckons that Dublin represent the perfect opposition to refocus on the qualifiers in the wake of 'Sluddengate', when the shocking award of Joe Sheridan's injury-time goal saw the Leinster title prised from Louth's grasp.

Stressing that there were "no easy teams" in the qualifier draw, the Louth skipper still declared himself happy that Pat Gilroy's Dubs came out of the pot.

"Dublin, if you needed to draw any team to help focus the minds after what happened in the Leinster final, they're it. It's Dublin in Croke Park so it will be very easy to focus on that. There will be no lack of motivation," Keenan told the Evening Herald.

"If we beat Dublin, we would be in the exact same position as we would have been if we had won the Leinster final," he pointed out. "But at the same time, you can't be thinking about All-Ireland quarter-finals. We haven't been in this position before where there is this new expectation behind us. You have no right to be talking about anyone else other than Dublin at the minute."

Keenan added: "There's a lot of Louth teams over the last while who have gotten very close to Dublin. They just never got over the line. But I don't think we've ever feared them.

"At this stage, we're taking everything that happens to us as a bonus. If you win, fantastic. But at this stage, you're not really expected to win. People will expect us to put up a bit of a fight and then lose at the end, but we've nothing to fear. Give everything you have and if you win, you're flying."

Notwithstanding their captain's positive mindset, the Wee County have lost their last 12 SFC encounters with Dublin - dating all the way back to 1973 when they won a Leinster first round replay by 1-8 to 0-9 in Navan.

Ticket prices for Saturday's 'back door' double-header, starting with Kildare/Monaghan at 3.0, have been set at €30 (stand) and €20 (terrace). The GAA ticket shop in Dorset St is open until 5pm this evening, and will stay open from 10am until 7.30pm tomorrow, while the GAA ticket van will be in Ardee and Dundalk tomorrow and then Drogheda and Dundalk on Friday.