I’ll pick my team to face Donegal on Sunday,
Can you pick yours?
Youth over experiences? Speed over strength?
Goalkeeper Shane Nolan
The Tipp native started both Keogh Cup games and look solid pulling off numerous point blank saves and looked comfortable under the high ball. He will be pushed hard by the trio of James & Donal Connolly and Stephen Hackett but the Tipp man gets the nod for round 1.
Full Back Line
Ricky McKeown, Brian Minogue, Stephen Kettle
Strong and physical to try and bully what will be a speedy Donegal inside line. Minogue was a main-stay at full back throughout 2016 but missed the Keogh Cup due to suspension. I expect him to retake his place come Sunday. He well could well be flanked by Knockbridge duo Ricky McKeown and Stephen kettle, both tight man markers who give nothing away lightly. Other options at corner back could be Colin Griffin or Darren McDonnell from St Feichins, both capable of holding a man scoreless when called upon.
Half Back Line
David Stepehnson, Roger Maher, Andy McCrave
Good under the high ball coming from the Donegal Poc out and well able to deliver over our half forward line into our danger men. Stephenson has made the number 5 jersey his own in the early part of the year and is almost a cert to start there come Sunday. The big man from Doon will look to spray ball quick and fast picking up breaks at will, while captain McCrave will look to slot back to his number 7 spot where he collected Louth hurler of the year from last season having spent the previous 2 games operating from a more central position. A great man to attack up the line and a more tenacious defender you will not come across in this division.
Shane Callan Donal Ryan
If it’s not broken then don’t fix it! Shane Callan has worn the Louth number 8 or 9 for nearly a decade and will be ably accompanied by Donal Ryan who will be making his national league debut. Ryan impressed in his county debut last month when ripping through the Longford defence getting 3 scores and laying on another 2 or 3 from his midfield spot. The engine room of the Louth hurlers looks in safe hands with this pair.
Half Forward Line
Paddy Lynch Paddy McCormack Michael Ryan
A hard working half forward line to win plenty of dirty ball and the speed to get down the lines and take a score. We could see a St Feichins half forward line take the field the weekend, with prolific little men Lynch and Ryan play either side of hard worker McCormack. McCormack will get through a mountain of ball playing at 11 coming off the poc outs and foraging under Callan and Ryan in the middle of the field, and laying off to his clubmates either side to take the simple score.
Full Forward Line
Diarmuid Murphy Liam Dwan Seaghan Connelly
Goals win games! And these 3 can find the net at will. I expect us to line out in an almost 2 towers format similar to Kerry when Walsh & Donaghy caused so much trouble, with Dwan and Connelly operating close to goal and being the perfect long ball outlet from the half back line or midfield with Murphy coming in underneath to clean up the scraps and throw the ball over the bar at will.