'Louth just have to deal with favourites' tag'
Louth manager Colin Kelly insists his side will just have to embrace the favourites' tag they carry going into tomorrow's Leinster SFC opener against Wicklow, writes Donnchadh Boyle.
Despite writing to the county board to express concerns over his side's preparations, successive league promotions see the Wee men go into the Parnell Park clash as hot favourites against a Wicklow side who struggled to make any impact in Division 4. And Kelly (pictured) agrees his side are expected to prevail 'on merit.'
"The reason they would be expected to win it is because they carried real good form through the National League. They are favourites on their merits. That's just part of being an inter-county footballer, you have to deal with this expectation. We are not looking beyond Wicklow.
"We set ourselves goals that every day we take to the field it's 100pc effort. If it goes well it goes well, if it goes wrong it goes wrong and we reassess it. But they are favourites for a reason. Obviously that would stand that we had a really successful National League and they've done really well and they are a good bunch of players. Look, embrace it."
Louth will be without Derek Maguire, who is in the States for the summer, and the injured Andy McDonnell. And despite the disappointment of losing the Division 3 final to Tipperary on their last competitive outing, Kelly was pleased with what his side showed in the spring.
"It's not as if we went into Croke Park and underachieved. We set ourselves targets, we played a good brand of football, scored 19 times, we made a couple of errors and we were punished by a very, very good team. So it's not like we went in there and didn't perform, coming back down the road after scoring only 10 or 11 points.
"Overall, it was a very successful campaign. The initial deflation of getting beat was disappointing but pretty soon we regrouped, the lads went back to their clubs, they are a Division 2 team now and that's what we have taken away from the National League."