Anthony Williams: 'We have momentum'
By Cian O'Connell
It has been an action packed three years in a Louth jersey for Anthony Williams.
Williams’ first senior inter-county campaign culminated in relegation to Division Four of the Allianz Football League in 2015, but since then Louth have earned back to back promotions.
Colin Kelly’s excellent work with Louth has been reflected on pitches throughout the country for the last 18 months.
Now Louth make a welcome return to Croke Park for an interesting Division Three decider against Tipperary.
“Yeah, it is amazing to be back coming here again a year on from the Division Four Final,” Williams says.
“I suppose at the start of the year we were thinking about seeing how far we can get in Division Three - if we maintain our status, that would have been seen as good, but we were always pushing for that promotion spot. To get promotion, to finish top of the table and now with the Final coming up we are really looking forward to it.”
"He has created a new fresh team, we are all enjoying playing together and there is a great spirit."
How Kelly has transformed Louth into a cool and consistent outfit is hugely encouraging according to the highly rated Williams. “We have massive momentum now,” Williams admits.
“When Colin came in there was a clearout with lots of players leaving and he had to bring lots of players in. We were relegated the first year, but we have now got two promotions in a row. It just seems to be a building process.
“He has created a new fresh team, we are all enjoying playing together and there is a great spirit, everyone is playing. The fact that we are winning means it keeps going and going. Everybody is in great spirits, we are really looking forward to the Final. Hopefully we can win it now.”
It has been quite an adventure for Williams, who is relishing the opportunity to perform for a rapidly developing Louth team.
“Exactly, I have seen the lows and the highs. I know how low the lows can actually get so it is great when you are winning.
“You enjoy your football, you know the dedication and commitment you put in is worth it in the end. It is hard when you are losing and you aren't getting to these Finals. When you are playing in Croke Park all of them winter nights training are worth it. You really think this is what I'm doing it for.”
"It is important to build a base to make sure you have good players coming through for the future of Louth GAA."
Ensuring Louth remain a competitive force is precisely what Williams wants to do as Kelly’s charges continue to seek improvement. “I suppose everybody really wants to do the best that they can, to get as far as they can,” Williams remarks about what Louth can achieve in the coming weeks and months.
“Everybody I imagine sets short term goals at the start of the year, how far they want to get, win the next match, the next match, they are short term goals. The long term vision for us would be to get promoted and then to have a good run in the Championship.
“It is hard to see where are you going to go in the Championship because it is all on the day, at least in the League you can measure your performance week by week.
"That can be hard in the Championship, but obviously we are going to be trying to get as far as we can get. We would be looking at getting to a Leinster Final this year if at all possible, as you would be.”
The winning habit Louth have acquired means the Gaelic Footballers are capturing the attention of the county. “It builds a massive interest with young people, especially with our local clubs. You can go around to the schools, last year when we won the Division Four we brought the Cup into the schools, that brings great interest in the sport around the county.
“You have two big clubs, Dundalk and Drogheda, two big soccer clubs in Louth. A lot of players might play soccer instead of Gaelic, but it is important to build a base to make sure you have good players coming through for the future of Louth GAA.” The present offers significant cause for optimism with Williams a central figure in Louth’s splendid success story.