Places up for grabs ahead of semi-final with Cavan

Peter Keane. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Peter Keane. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Jason O'Connor

When there is a strong air of expectancy about your side winning in advance it's hard to prevent some form of complacency setting in.

While Peter Keane might have to be more immediately concerned with his Under 17 side's trip to Ennis to face Roscommon this Saturday, he agreed that there were certain elements of the performance in Portlaoise last Saturday that left a bit to be desired.

"I wouldn't have said that it was 'home and hosed'. We did start fairly well, we were happy with that. Obviously, you are looking for a performance for the whole 60 minutes and look, we probably eased off a bit in that second quarter and that is something that we have to work on. I think that we maybe turned off," he said.

He agreed that the way Louth ran through the Kingdom at times was cause for concern.

"I actually thought that it was coming from further up the field [than the middle]. We weren't getting pressure on them up there and that's definitely something we will have to work on.

"However, you are learning every day you go out, there is always something there. At the same time though I thought we worked very well on their kick-outs. Barry O'Mahony did some fantastic fielding in the middle.

"I think we kicked some nice scores. 23 scores in a 60 minute game? Nothing wrong with that!"

On the evidence of last Saturday there might be a sense that some places are now up for grabs on the starting team ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final and Keane did state that he is happy with how the bench are contributing in games.

"There is competition for places. In the Munster final and the other two games, all the guys who came off the bench contributed and I think they contributed today as well. There is a lot to look forward to beyond what happened today.

"We've an All-Ireland Under 17 semi-final next Saturday and another one to look forward to the weekend after with the Minors so look, it's all good at the moment."

Indeed a lot of other counties would give their right arms to be in a situation where they are contesting two All-Ireland underage semi-finals in consecutive weekends. You sense for the Under 17 contingent in the Minors that 'recovery' might be the keyword over the coming weekends with the dual challenges that they will face.

Any thoughts about a re-match with Galway at minor level following last year's All-Ireland decider are gone now with Cavan's comeback win in Carrick-on-Shannon. A busy period awaits for the underage set-up with the decision to keep both under the Minors and Under 17s under the same umbrella this year appearing to be a wise one in managing the players involved in both properly ahead of a hectic schedule for both sides.