Louth cross the Irish Sea this weekend expecting a road victory against London.
What: All Ireland Championship Football Qualifiers – Round 1
Who: London v Louth
Where: McGovern Park Ruislip, London
When: Sunday, June 10th at 2pm
Odds: London 6/4 Draw 15/2 Louth 8/11
The least glamorous of the Round 1 qualifier matches sees Louth travel to London.
Louth have lost every league and Championship match to date,. Pete McGrath, an All Ireland-winning manager with Down, has perhaps never had such a limited group of players to pick from as he does now.
But that is perhaps only one part of the story. Let’s not forget that under Colin Kelly (now Westmeath manager) Louth earned back to back league promotions.
McGrath has tended to blame his players and question their attitudes, as he did after their defeat to Carlow in the Leinster Championship last month, but the veteran bainisteoir must also take on some of the responsibility himself.
His side has been tactically inept, deploying a defensive system that doesn’t appear to suit any of the players within the squad.
Defeat against London would be the perfect fitting to what has been an abysmal season for Louth football.
London could be ready to spring that surprise too. For the first time ever, London fielded seven English-born players in their defeat to Sligo in the Championship’s opening game. Mark Gottsche has been a quality player for London for the past number of years and a big performance from the midfielder could put Louth under pressure.
Based on the fact that Louth have at least been playing decent opposition this year in division 2 and against Carlow in the Championship, I am going to back them to get the job done in London. But it would not be at all surprising if London were to come out of the battle with another famous Championship upset.
Prediction: Louth to win by 1 point