Friday 15 December 2017

Portlaoise have pedigree to burst Moorefield bubble



(Portlaoise, Tomorrow, 3.0)

HAVING been undone at the All-Ireland semi-final stage last year, it's probably safe to assume that Portlaoise's ambitions for this season stretches far beyond the collection of a fourth successive county crown.

Their unraveling by Killmurray-Ibrickane last February was a considerable shock to a team that had openly harboured All-Ireland notions and were, in many eyes, favourites to win the thing.

Luckily for Portlaoise, this competition rewards nothing if not experience. And generally, there are two types of teams in the provincial club championship.


The first is the team that wins its county title after a long absence or a gruelling journey and by the time Leinster participation comes about, they're half caught on the hop.

The other is the sort of team Portlaoise represent. They're county champions so often that they immediately re-gear themselves for the slog of provincial football and adjust their game to the conflicting demands of playing football in generally atrocious weather conditions.

The likes of Cahir Healy, Paul Cahillane, Brian 'Bruno' McCormack and Zach Touhy are hardened campaigners in this specialist competition and have a proven capacity to negotiate the most tricky of obstacles.

Moorefield, meanwhile, are probably still floating on the satisfaction of last week's county final victory over rivals, Sarsfields.

Quite obviously, Jack Sheedy has moulded a smart, hard-working team and in Keith Duane, Ronan Sweeney and David Whyte, they possess physically imposing players with a touch of class to boot.

The Kildare club were supposed to have home advantage for this tie but surrendered that right due to a ban handed out by Leinster Council in 2007 arising out of a brawl they had with Dromard that year.

It could prove costly. Dublin's champions, Kilmacud Crokes, who are the provincial favourites with the bookies await the winners and Portlaoise look the more likely to progress.

ODDS: Portlaoise 4/9, Draw 15/2, Moorefield 21/10

VERDICT: Portlaoise

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