Monday 20 November 2017

Louth bank on history to halt slump ahead of 1000th game

Clarke: Trawled through records
Clarke: Trawled through records
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Louth's Leinster Championship opener against Westmeath in Drogheda's Gaelic Grounds on Sunday will be the county's 1,000th competitive game across all competitions.

The Wee County, who have suffered back-to-back relegation as they nosedived to Division 4, have won more games (481) than they have lost (441), with 77 draws.

The statistics have been compiled over many years by former manager Paddy Clarke.

Louth have been All-Ireland champions three times, the last in 1957, and have won eight Leinster championships since the foundation of the GAA and the establishment of competitions.

Clarke has trawled through the records and documented every competition, from O'Byrne Cup and Shield, the All-Ireland 'B' Championship and Tommy Murphy Cup, which are now defunct, and other competitions dating back to the beginning of the last century like the Croke Cup (1896-1913), Dr Croke Cup (1914-15) and the North East League (1942-44).

In Championship terms Louth's best decade was the 1950s when they won 21 games out of 33 played, drawing three. It matches their success rate in the 1910s when they won 21 out of 31 games, drawing two and losing just eight as they won their two other All-Ireland titles.

In more recent times, the 1990s was the only time since the '50s that they enjoyed more than 20 Championship victories (21) thanks to some extended runs. The '60s, '80s and 2000s yielded just 17 Championship successes in each decade.

Louth's qualifier record is poor since 2001 with just nine wins from 24 games played, their only draw against Tyrone in 2006.

Excluding qualifier games, Louth's Championship record is 137 wins, 20 draws and 120 defeats from 279 played.

Louth defeated Westmeath in last year's Leinster Championship but have since lost Paddy Keenan and Shane Lennon to retirement, while Brian White, John O'Brien and Mick Fanning are unavailable.

Elsewhere, Galway's hurlers have suffered another major blow ahead of their championship opener against Dublin later this month with former All-Star David Burke set to miss out.

The St Thomas' player picked up a hand injury at the weekend is now extremely doubtful for the Croke Park showdown with Ger Cunningham's men on May 31.

Irish Independent

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