According to Johnny Doyle, there are clear parallels between Mickey Harte’s move to Louth and Mick O’Dwyer’s leap of faith to Kildare three decades earlier.
But the Lilywhite selector hopes the similarities end there on Sunday – and that Harte’s revival of Wee County’s fortunes in Leinster SFC’s quarter-finals doesn’t come at Kildare’s expense.
Both managers achieved several All-Irelands on home soil before spreading the gospel to the dormant former Leinster giants. O’Dwyer won two provincial titles in his second appearance with Kildare and Doyle was there in the second in 2000.
“When Micko first came to Kildare I remember I was at the 1990 County Final and he was introduced to the crowd at half time and the pitch was packed to the rafters because of Mick O’Dwyer coming to Kildare. It was like the Messiah,” he recalled.
“I’m sure it’s similar in Louth. Louth is traditionally a huge football region. You can see with the crowds traveling now. They went up from Division 4 to Division 3 to Division 2 – that must lift everyone involved with Louth football.
“That’s a huge plus for them, but we also have to distance ourselves from that and make sure we’re performing at our best… but we see a lot of similarities to what Mickey is doing. I spoke to one or two of the Louth lads when he first came along and players who had decided Louth football wasn’t for them have come back and got behind the wheel – and that’s always a good thing Sign.”
While Louth has shown a knack for raiding popular Kildare teams in the past – 1991, 1995, 2007 and 10 – Doyle stressed that “it’s not something we talk to players about. I don’t think it really matters. What I did yesterday no longer interests anyone today…every player draws from their own experience. You have to play in the now.”
However, Doyle was suitably impressed with the form of the current Louth team – not only throughout the league but also in their five-goal win over Carlow last Sunday.
“They were very organized, as you’d expect from a Mickey Harte team, very disciplined, scoring a lot of goals and scoring some very good goals against Carlow,” he said.
“I would know Carlow well if Niall Carew, a good friend of mine, was involved and I know the work he did there so Louth seems to be building with a good league final win over Limerick and I have no doubt about that challenge that lies ahead of us.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/louth-revival-under-mickey-harte-has-echoes-of-lilies-under-micko-johnny-doyle-41595020.html The revival of Louth under Mickey Harte has echoes of Lilies under Micko – Johnny Doyle