So far, so good: Curran left pleased
“This is getting to be a habit,” says Portlaoise co-manager Mick Lillis as the Ballymun dressing room calls for a bit of hush. “It was another Dublin club last year and I’ll say to you what I said to Brigid’s. You deserved every bit of it. You can go all the way to the All-Ireland if ye have the belief.”
Ballymun have the winter now to make those more than just a defeated manager’s pleasantries. They’ll be the competition’s rank outsiders come the semi-final in February, almost certainly against Dr Crokes.
(Although if Tír Chonaill Gaels are after some fodder for the dressing-room notice-board on Sunday, they can feel free to get the highlighter pen out for the next paragraph).
“I think with all due respect to the teams we’ve played,” said Ballymun manager Paul Curran, “every game has been a step up and I think the next one, even though we won’t be talking about it for the time being, will be another step-up. The Kerry champions are always going to bring a certain amount of talent and class.
“But when the time comes, we’ll knuckle down and prepare.
“It’s a difficult thing to do first time, especially in this competition with so many great teams out there. But we took it game by game this year, first of all in Dublin which was a serious ask.
“I think once we won that and got back training about three days later and forgot about the Dublin win, this was the goal. Thankfully it came to pass.”
At the far end of the corridor, the other Portlaoise co-manager was full of regrets at his side’s lack of economy in front of goal.
“It was tough to break them down but we still had the chances. If you look at the first 15 minutes of the first half, we had the chances but just didn’t take them.
“ Having said that, they came back up the field and got five points from frees and one point from play. That would suggest to me that we had chances and we didn’t take them. They took them and that’s the nature of the game.”