Massive lift for Louth as McEniff strengthens links

LOUTH footballers have received a huge boost with the news that Brian McEniff will play a more significant role for the Wee County in 2012.

This year, the Donegal legend served in an advisory capacity for the north Leinster outfit before their Leinster Championship opener against Carlow. But Louth boss Peter Fitzpatrick has persuaded the former All-Ireland winning manager to come on board as a selector for next year’s campaign.

McEniff will fill one of the vacancies left by the departure from Fitzpatrick’s backroom team of former Armagh player Martin McQuillan and ex-Armagh manager Peter McDonnell.

Fitzpatrick is expected to fill the remaining vacancy – St Patrick’s clubman Gerry Cumiskey is remaining on – in the near future.

Additional good news for Louth is that Fitzpatrick will be able to call on Mark Brennan and Pepe Smith for next year’s action for the O’Byrne Cup in January.

Mattock Rangers player Brennan missed all of this year’s championship campaign due to a back injury, while Dreadnots clubman Smith was a long-term absentee with a groin problem.

“It’s great to have Mark and Pepe back with us and their return certainly strengthens our selection options for 2012,” enthused Gerry Cumiskey.

“Mark played a few league matches for us this year, but his injury kept coming back at him, so he never really got an extended run in the team. Eventually, he had all sorts of scans and that helped the medical people to get to the bottom of his problem.”

Cumiskey is also hopeful key players Mick Fanning, John O’Brien and Brian White, who have returned to Australia, will be available to feature with Louth over the next year.

“I believe that the work visas for the three lads run out early in the New Year, so that should mean that we will have them for next year’s league and championship matches,” remarked Cumiskey.

But prior to the end of the year Cumiskey is hoping newly-crowned Louth champions St Patrick’s enjoy a decent run in the Leinster Club Championship.

After their replay final win over Newtown Blues, the Cooley Peninsula outfit take on Portlaoise at O’Moore Park on Sunday week.

“With the exception of Mattock Rangers getting to the final against Dunshaughlin in 2003, Louth teams haven’t been doing well in Leinster,” said Cumiskey, who managed St Patrick’s to the county title in 2004 and 2007.

“Portlaoise have a good record in Leinster and they will be favourites, but hopefully our lads will rise to the occasion and so give themselves a good opportunity of upsetting the odds.”

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