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GPS system to ensure Gavin's foot soldiers don't lose their way

HE had just seen his new-look Louth licked by Dublin to the tune of 17 points, but Aidan O'Rourke refuses to accept the perceived wisdom that Jim Gavin's decorated troops are at a different level to everyone else in Leinster.

Asked if this was so, or whether you can get within touching distance of the Dubs in the space of 12 months, the new Louth manager was withering in his response.

"That's a ridiculous question," he countered. "It's an O'Byrne Cup game in January. Dublin had an experimental team out as they have had through all the O'Byrne Cup games. We've an experimental team out as well. Now, obviously, the strength in depth in Dublin is much stronger than it is in most counties.

"Ask that question again in June or July when everybody's at the full of their health, starting teams on the field, match hardened, whatever else. It's not really a question you can answer with a month or less of football under their belt," he stressed.

In mitigation, Louth were shy a host of familiar names including the Finnegan brothers, Shane Lennon, Darren Clarke and former All Star midfielder Paddy Keenan, the latter crying off the listed subs because of injury.

But on a more promising note, John O'Brien made his playing comeback yesterday after spending the last two years in Australia.

Back in 2010, O'Brien was an All Star nominee on foot of some brilliant defensive displays - notably against Bernard Brogan - but the same Brogan had already put Dublin out of reach yesterday when his former marker was introduced elsewhere to shore up a badly leaking Louth.

"John came back a couple of days before Christmas. He had a huge amount to do, conditioning-wise," O'Rourke explained.

"If you ask him after the game, I'd say he still feels the same way, but he's made a lot of ground up. Today was a perfect opportunity to get him a half - I probably brought him in a wee bit earlier than we thought and he was probably blowing a wee bit at the end.

"John is a quality footballer and the more game time we can get under his belt, the quicker we will get him back near National League pitch," the Armagh man added.

Meanwhile, Jim Gavin confirmed yesterday that his management are availing of GPS (global positioning system) technology to track the on-field movement of their players during games.

In response to a question on the subject, the Dublin boss confirmed that their system monitors the distance travelled by individual players as well as speed, with the information available "pretty much" straight away.

"Quite a number of teams would use it. I think it would be quite commonplace in most inter-county squads - I wouldn't see it as innovative by any manner of means," he insisted.