Portlaoise primed for Garrycastle test

PORTLAOISE may be favourites to win their seventh Leinster Club SFC title at Tullamore on Sunday, but they are expecting a titanic battle against Garrycastle.

Manager John Mulligan was pleased with his side’s work rate in their nine-point defeat of Clara at O’Moore Park on Saturday but has had little time to bask in the satisfaction of that win with the final coming up so quickly.

By contrast, , Garrycastle will be appearing in their first final, but the manner of their victory over Dublin champions Ballyboden St Enda’s suggests they will be very difficult to overcome, especially with Dessie Dolan and David O’Shaughnessy in such excellent form.

“We’re delighted to be in a Leinster final” said Mulligan. “We take it one step at the time, this is another game we have to look forward to. We know we’re up against a big team but we’ll be prepared.

“When you’re thinking of Westmeath football, the first club that comes to your mind is Garrycastle, they’re synonymous with Westmeath football.

“We’re under no illusions about what we’re up against. They’re a really good, powerful team who know how to play football. Big, physical men that move the ball well. We’re going to be really up against it to get a result.”

Mulligan acknowledges the importance of Anthony Cunningham’s role as Garrycastle manager.

A two-time All-Ireland senior hurling winner with Galway, Cunningham has been very successful at this level, leading St Brigid’s of Roscommon to a shock Connacht title in 2006.

Portlaoise’s management team will not be daunted, however. “Our selectors and backroom team have a lot of experience as well, said Mulligan. “It goes without saying, it’s going to be on the day and who wants it most.”

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