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Donegal Triumphs Over Louth to Secure All-Ireland Semi-Final Spot Against Galway

Brennan States: “We’re Not Just Here to Make Up the Numbers, We’re Here to Compete”

Louth manager Ger Brennan and his team are setting their sights on their upcoming clash against Jim McGuinness’s Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-finals this Sunday at Croke Park. Fresh off a thrilling 1-9 to 1-8 victory over Cork in Inniskeen, Brennan is confident that his players’ hard work and dedication will inspire a new generation in the Wee County.

Brennan, a former Dublin player, emphasizes that his team is not just showing up to Croke Park to participate—they are there to compete. This historic moment marks Louth’s first appearance in an All-Ireland quarter-final, a milestone achieved through a remarkable win that will be remembered by Louth supporters for years to come.

As they prepare to face the current Ulster champions, Brennan is cautious yet optimistic. He acknowledges the formidable challenge posed by Donegal but highlights Louth’s potential. This is the same Louth team that not only triumphed over Cork, who had previously bested Donegal, but also delivered a strong performance with three goals against Shaun Patton in the group stages. Brennan believes this is the best Louth team since their All-Ireland win in 1957, attributing their success to both skill and mental resilience.

Reflecting on his own career, Brennan notes the importance of experience in overcoming tough opponents. “We used to get the crap kicked out of us at this stage of the championship by Tyrone, Kerry, or Cork, but we managed to break through eventually,” he said. This experience, combined with the expertise of the management team, is crucial in keeping the players both physically and mentally fresh, especially with the quick turnaround of a seven-day week.

Brennan acknowledges the challenges of the condensed championship season and the toll it takes on both players and management. “Even though I’m not playing anymore, speaking to my backroom team, lads are emotionally drained after the weekend with two games on the bounce,” he said. He stresses the need for recovery time before the players can focus on their upcoming match against Donegal.

Despite the rigorous schedule, Brennan remains unfazed by the quick succession of matches. “I have no issue with it; it’s what you get for finishing second and that is how it goes,” he said, emphasizing the importance of adaptability and perseverance.

Drawing inspiration from Monaghan’s success, Brennan encourages his players to believe in their potential. “If Monaghan can do it, why can’t Louth?” he asks, reminding his team of the achievements of their counterparts with a similar population.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s match, Brennan notes that Louth will need to score significantly to compete with Donegal’s high-scoring side, which averages over 18 points per game. “We got 19 shots away against Cork, but we know you have to be getting up to 30 shots if you want to compete with the likes of Dublin and Kerry. Donegal are the same,” he explained.

Brennan is realistic about the challenge but remains confident in his team’s fighting spirit. “Yes, it’s going to be a big challenge against Donegal at the weekend. They have the extra week break, they have a good bit of momentum behind them, they have an experienced manager behind them too, so we know we’re going to be up against it but the lads are going to go out fighting.”

He praises the honesty and hard work of McGuinness’s teams and is prepared for a tough battle, but he believes in the dedication and talent of the Louth players. Brennan highlights the rejuvenation of Louth football, first under Mickey Harte and now under his leadership, with the team making back-to-back Leinster finals.

Brennan attributes the recent success to the squad’s talent, referring to them as ‘All-Star players.’ He hopes this talent will be on full display this Sunday in Croke Park. “For Louth, we as a team are trying to promote GAA in the Wee County as much as possible, and getting results attracts more attention, but we also have to look at the individual talent in the team,” he said, highlighting the evolving recognition of players beyond their star captain Sam Mulroy.

The Louth manager concludes by emphasizing the team’s commitment to competing and representing their county with pride. “We’re not just here to make up the numbers, we’re here to compete and represent the county with pride.”

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