‘The Mullingar Ambush’

by louthandproud on May 18, 2014

in County

Operation Beat Westmeath(6)

An ambush it most certainly was….

We certainly weren’t favourites entering the game, they had all the pressure and expectancy to advance but here’s how we did it.

Warm Up.

The lads were so low key for this game that when they even came out for the warm up they were all in their respective club jersey’s!

In fact it wasn’t low key at all, it was a really nice touch and I heard whispers that the idea came from our captain PK.
The players were simply reminded of where they came from and who they were representing.

All in all, 20 clubs were represented,you could see Louth fans beaming with pride if their club was lucky enough to be on display and opposite was seen too as there was louth fans envious of other clubs if they were not represented.

In doing so, the warm up symbolished what an honour it is to play for your county to everyone.
Players and fans.
It set the tone

The game itself

The opening ten minutes was like a prizefight!
No scores on the board, nerves on show, both sides were trying to figure each other out!

Westmeath struck the first blow in fact it was a flurry of punches as they went 3-0 up at one stage!
I thought ah no, here we go, Down game allover again!

But our lads found a way…

The Match ups

-As expected Heslin went to the middle and Connellan went inside where Dessie picked him up.
-Dessie Dolan went to the forty and JOBser picked him up and played CB
-Crilly went right half on Ger Egan who had moved out
-Reido went on Martin
which left
-O’Hare on Glennon
-Pops on McCormack

The success of these match ups were crucial.
I would say 5 out of 6 worked, which is pretty good going. O’Hare had a horrid time with Glennon, specifically his pace, as most defenders do. I would have liked to see how would have fared. However in fairness to O’Hare his effort never waned. He’ll be the better for it come Croker.

Stopping Sharry

Sharry made one driving run up the right hand touchline and was planted a shoulder by Mick Fanning and turned over it was a significant moment and we grew in confidence then after, going into a 3 point lead before HT.

I mentioned and even drew up a picture highlighting his influence on the Westmeath team in the build up! Luckily we did stop him and they and he had no answer for it. plain and simple.
AOR wisely chose our paciest man to pick him up from the get go. That man was Derek Maguire. He hassled and harried Sharry into submission it was his finest hour in a Louth jersey as not only did he put Sharry on the back foot but he kicked five super scores and had a handful of goalchances. Super effort from the DYI man.

Our Intensity

A sides intensity is seen in two area’s in gaelic football: around the middle of the field and in the tackle.
Luckily we had Paddy Keenan in the middle for us. His presence and sheer brilliance just synergised everyone around him. Especially Decie, Andy and Mick Fanning.
Mick won breaking balls he never should have, Andy covered ever single blade of grass in his workrate and Decie kicked the two best points in the game.
(His free kick out of the hands on the near touchline was amazing….he coils like a corkscrew and unwinds and releases to strike from the outside of the right foot over the bar, you can’t teach this sort of shit!)

Turning them over on numerous occassions broke their spirit, on the night we wanted it more.

Tale of two managers

Sure we wanted it more, I want to win a million euro’s in the lotto really bad. more than the next man, but you have to have a structure i.e. buy a ticket and pick the right numbers.
Want it all you want but if you no structure or idea then you can want something all you want, you aren’t going to get it.
AOR comes in for some massive credit here his tactics were spot on.
We soaked up pressure and broke time and time again. We really got success when it went through Reido’s hands and another day a more direct ball might be more successful but the fact is we tried them all yesterday and found the most successful option all the time.
His team learned the most from the league (not letting a lead slip) and his players are now so familiar in our system, In fairness his belief in it has never wavered in the bad and really bad times!

Put simply, the players know their roles before they go out and they then because of that,play with purpose.
You could say the opposite of Westmeath, they were clueless and we even frustrated John Heslin come the end!

However AOR will know more than anyone there is plenty to work on 14 wides for one!

Squad Game

In the midst of all this euphoria of beating Westmeath a nugget may have been overlooked. AOR sprung a squad member straight into the starting line-up right beforee throw in and he was Outstanding!
Conor Grimes from Glen Emmets, Tullyallen and this years U21 was brilliant, sitting in beside Shane Lennon he was a real handful. He kept attacks alive with his strength and presence and is quite pacy for a big man. A real prospect going forward.
Such is modern football now that it really is a 21 man game but,If I was to tell you before the game Shane Lennon and Brian White would only score 1 point miss a rake of free’s between them and both be taken off or black carded and Louth would still win you’d have laughed me out the gate! Well, it happened yesterday others stood up to the plate and 4 championship debutants slotted in comfortably too.

Final word goes to Burnsey, just when I thought he couldn’t surprise me anymore he did. Coming off the bench into the white heat of championship and scores the vital goal! amazing! It doesn’t matter if he’s young, only doing his leaving, he was the perfect person to have the ball in that moment, he has scored so many goals this season and hopefully it won’t be the last!

Oh me Oh my, Operation beat Westmeath: Success!
Roll on Croker!

thanks for Reading

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

louthandproud May 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

Thanks for the comment diehard louth fan….the most comphrensive commenter so far, keep it up.

I forgot about JP’s effort in 2002! thanks for the reminder!

Die Hard Louth Fan May 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

The game v kildare in croker 2000, complete robbery, most positive thing out of that game was when Colin Kelly flattened Brian Lacey who literally just hung onto his markers jersey for the game!!

Since the Micko era Louth have always had a decent chmapionship record against Kildare, who would supposedly be a stronger county….

1991: The most famous Louth ambush of them all in Drogheda, the Laois massacre ended our season

1995: Colin Kelly masterclass in Newbridge, the Dubs on the way to All-Ireland glory ended our season

2000: Robbed in Croke park by late penalty (at least 2m outside the box) Louth had built up great momentum winning Div 2 League and Kildare went on to win Leinster

2002: Again robbed in Navan as JP’s late shot was sailing over the bar the referee blew his final whistle, Louth kicked it away with something like 20 wides!!! I think Kildare contested the Leinster final

2007: Another ambush this time in Newbridge in qualifiers. Kildare thought all they had to do was show up!!! Brian White’s pointed free on the 13m line out near the sideline in front of the stand with the Kildare crowd abusing them was a highlight. Cork ended our season in the last 12

2010: One of our best performances in recent times, best of the Fitzer years. Convincing victory. Kildare didn’t know what hit them. Razors goal. 1-22 some scoring. Followed by Joe’s try in Croke Park and a 7 pt defeat by the Dubs in the last 12

2013: Defeat in Newbridge in qualifers. Good performance but Louth faded near the end and Kildare tagged on some easy scores. Casey Byrne our shining light with 4/5 pts.

If I’ve forgotten any games please let me know 7 games – 4 wins – 3 defeats (2 robberies and last year). Not a bad record so historically we have nothing to fear!!!!

louthandproud May 19, 2014 at 10:40 am

James, Colm and Stephen thanks for your kind words, really appreciate them!

Thanks for all the comments in general…it’s great to see Louth people talking sense about the game, really insightful too….

Cicsaor Louth were fasmously robbed in 2000 against Kildare in Croke Park…we had just won the league and had great momentum going into the game against them.
Then Kildare got a penalty outside the area or should I say big Willie McCreevy did, they scored it and it swung the game in their favour!

Stephen OConnor May 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Another enjoyable report from the Louth and Proud team, hit the whole night on the nail. I look forward to reading your notes in preparation for Croker

louthman May 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Great result yesterday. Everything didn’t work out for us but the lads kept to their tasks and in the end it stood to them. Roll on Croke Park.

cicsaor May 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Was walking out of Mullingar with chest stuck out last night, very much louth and proud after some very poor performances in last couple of years in league and championship.
Just a couple of small points:
1.Westmeath where poor, but you can only beat what’s in front of you. Was very worried after 15 mins. But we seemed to weather the storm.
2.Gallaghers kick outs where poor, again two straight over side line and numerous kick outs not find men they where intended for. But in his defence he pulled of two great saves and kick outs can be worked on before Kildare game.
3.Also agree with above regarding Lennon / White. Both where poor in my opinion, White too casual at times for a championship game and passes intercepted a couple of times but in fairness he was on the ball a lot. Lennon seems to me that he thinks he should be scoring to play well, on a few occasions he took wrong option going for difficult shot when it was easier to lay off, a prime example of this was in 2nd half when he opted to shot when PK was steaming through middle unmarked and would have been in for goal. Everybody from Louth leaving where impressed with Grimes, he didn’t score but won some great ball and laid it off.

Bring on Kildare.

I don’t believe we have played Kildare in Championship in Croke Park in my lifetime and I am thinking back as far back as 78 or 79 when Tommy Carew beat us on own in Navan in a Leinster Championship game. I stand to be corrected on this ??

Colm May 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Another fantastic passage! It’s definitely better than any articles in any of the local and national papers!! Well done louthandproud!!

James May 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Great review and great blog in general. Keep up the good work.

Great to get a win yesterday after such a disappointing league and definite room for improvement against Kildare so definitely in with a shout against them.

Up Louth 🙂

Ken Dunne May 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Great performance by all in the Louth camp, great game on a brilliant surface…

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