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Paddy Keenan talks Louth | Why he retired at 29 | 2010 Leinster final & Mickey Harte’s impact

Wee County legend sits down with OurGame to discuss his county’s recent rise and the highs and lows of his own career

It’s an exciting time in Louth football and Paddy Keenan, the county’s only All-Star, looks at the strides being made under Mickey Harte with a degree of envy.

Keenan would love nothing more than to play under the three-time All-Ireland SFC-winning manager, who has brought the Wee men from Division 4 to the brink of promotion to the top tier.

“You have to admire it and I’d probably love to be in that environment playing where you have such high standards and such high expectations and thankfully the lads are responding to it,” Keenan told Shane on the OurGame Review Show.

Harte’s side may have missed out on promotion when falling to Dublin in Croke Park last Sunday but Keenan is hugely optimistic about what the future holds.

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“We’d take a lot of heart out of the League. We learned a lot and I know the rumours coming from the panel were that they were pushing for promotion from the Meath game (in round 4),” Keenan said.

“So it wasn’t a surprise to them and it’s great that they are in that type of mentality. They are looking at Division 1, they’re looking at promotion and it gives a great boost around the county.

“We’re a small county, we don’t have a massive pick. We’ve blooded a lot of new young lads in, we’ve created a bit of depth in the panel and you just know by watching the team that they are drilled very well.”

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Keenan lauded the work of Harte and his right-hand man Gavin Devlin since taking the reins for the 2021 season, as well as county board chairman Peter Fitzpatrick for aiming high and attracting such a celebrated duo.

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“To be where we are now and to even be talking about competing with Dublin, to even be talking about Division 1, you wouldn’t have even dreamt of it a few years ago,” he said.

“You have to give massive credit to Peter Fitzpatrick and the county board for getting the lads in and having the vision to get them and give them everything they need and want to perform at that level.”

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In a wide-ranging interview, the former midfield powerhouse discussed whether Louth are now the second-best team in Leinster and reckoned that their heartbreaking 2010 Leinster SFC final defeat to Meath “probably set the county back a number of years”.

Keenan retired in 2014 aged 29 citing bad injuries and the demands of travel with work while revealing his admiration for those who tog out multiple times per week as “being a county footballer is tough going”.

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