I knew Antrim had terrific character, says Harbinson
Louth 1-11 Antrim 2-16
Antrim showed tremendous resilience to come back from six down to win by eight points against Louth in Round One of the Qualifiers on Saturday night.
Manager Lenny Harbinson revealed the 14-point turnaround was always in his side and that character was moulded and shaped in their misleading Division Four league campaign.
"It has been a difficult campaign in the league," Harbinson said. "But there were games where I could see character and I could see elements of good play coming out of the team, particularly against Limerick. We were six behind, something similar to here, in the first half and ended up winning by four, a 10-point turnaround.
"So the team showed a lot of character and resilience that day in Limerick and we had to show that character and resilience against a good Louth side."
Louth had the better of the early exchanges and opened that lead when Andy McDonnell punched the ball to the net.
Antrim dug deep and held the hosts scoreless for a quarter of an hour as Matthew Fitzpatrick pounced for two give the Saffrons the lead at half-time.
After the break, Harbinson's side built on their lead through Ryan Murray and resumed their composure as Louth lost theirs with Fergal Sheekey and Declan Byrne being shown red.
Harbinson is looking forward to the next round with Antrim for the first time in four seasons.
"Winning brings confidence, our name is in the hat, hopefully we can have a home draw and see where that takes us," he said.
Louth manager Wayne Kierans said: "I thought they were very good, they can be very proud. They were the better team."
Scorers: Louth: Andy McDonnell 1-1, Ryan Burns (2f) and Declan Byrne 0-2 each , Conall McKeever, Emmet Carolan, Ciaran Downey, Tommy Durnin, John Clutterbuck and Bevan Duffy 0-1 each
Antrim: Matthew Fitzpatrick 2-1, Ryan Murray 0-6 (1f), Patrick McBride 0-3 (1f), Ruairí Scott and Colum Duffin 0-2 each, Patrick McCormick and Niall Delargy 0-1 each.