Begley: Laois need marked improvement against Dubs

Begley: Laois need marked improvement against Dubs

Laois captain Colm Begley says his side will require a much improved performance if they are to beat Dublin at Croke Park in a fortnight's time.

The O'Moore men only beat Longford by a point in their Leinster SFC opener last Sunday, amassing 11 wides on a blustery day in Portlaoise.

Begley, who played in midfield alongside Brendan Quigley, said: "Without doubt we have a lot to improve on. Dublin are flying at the moment.

"They are going great and without doubt they are one of the contenders for the All-Ireland, so it is a massive challenge for us.

"If we want to get to Leinster and All-Ireland finals you have to beat the best teams, so we have a lot to do over the next two weeks.

"We will take the positives from the win over Longford, look at the negatives and move on. We know that we have a lot to improve on, rather than thinking that we are there already.

Laois led by 0-09 to 0-06 entering the final quarter but only scored one point late on, as Longford cut the deficit to the minimum and almost forced extra-time.

Begley was proud of his side's defensive display in the closing minutes, stating: "It was obviously one of those games which basically was hard to grind out.

"I think the team that wanted it the most won out in the end. I am delighted with the boys, they really worked hard until the last minute.

"Longford really put a lot of pressure on us in the second half with the wind, but the full-back line was fantastic and the work-rate from everyone was brilliant.

"We should have killed it off but we didn't. You can look at that negative and then look at the positive of how we kept in there.

"There were some great blocks and some great defending. Kieran Lillis came on and was fantastic I thought and really brought that spark to us back in there. Niall Donoher again is always good.

"I was delighted with the work-rate and the way the lads were tackling and working hard. To come out of a a close game like that with a win and not playing well, I am happy enough."

But Begley knows that defensively Laois will be up against it next time around, with Dublin scoring 18 goals and 96 points in eight league games this year.

"You are looking at Dublin who have six lethal forwards and their midfielders can come through with the ball," he added.

"It's going to take a massive effort from us. There's going to be a lot to do but if we can build from this now and look towards pushing even further in terms of our performance, who knows what can happen?"

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