Antrim's two-goal hero Matthew Fitzpatrick left Drogheda on Saturday with the praise of manager Lenny Harbinson ringing in his ears.
The centre forward struck twice in the first half to help the Saffrons to a 2-16 to 1-11 victory over Louth, which earns them a home tie against Kildare in the second round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
"He is a class act and there is a number of other good footballers in Antrim. Sometimes we don't get that recognition," said Harbinson, who was delighted with how his side bounced back from their Ulster SFC quarter-final defeat to Tyrone and a disappointing Allianz League campaign.
"It has been a difficult campaign in the league. 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."Tweet