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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Portlaoise now in red-hot Mannion's targets

CLASS: Mannion in action. Photo: Sportsfile
CLASS: Mannion in action. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul Mannion admits that Kilmacud's Dublin SFC triumph would have been "tainted" if they had fallen at the first provincial fence.

As it transpired, there was no chance of that scenario unfolding in Navan, where the capital kingpins demolished their Meath counterparts, St Peter's Dunboyne, by 2-17 to 0-7 last Sunday.

This was Mannion's Leinster club SFC baptism - he was too young to be involved when Crokes won their fourth provincial title in 2010 - and he didn't disappoint with a 2-6 haul.

"It would have tainted it a bit, getting knocked out in the first round in Leinster after winning the Dublin championship, which we all know is so difficult to win," the two-time All Star explained.

"We're here to just keep going as long as we can. Another huge game in a couple of weeks' time."

That will be against Portlaoise on Sunday week. The venue is Parnell Park - unlike 2010 when these two heavyweights last met in a Leinster quarter-final at O'Moore Park.

Victory

Portlaoise raced out of the traps to establish a seven-point lead (2-2 to 0-1) with just over ten minutes on the clock, but they only managed two more points as Kilmacud dug deep to eke out a 2-7 to 2-4 victory.

Portlaoise are seeking an eighth provincial title, enough to edge them back ahead of St Vincent's at the top of Leinster's roll of honour, and have reached the last-four by dint of toppling the holders from Moorefield.

Mannion described their Laois rivals as a team with "a lot of experience in this championship" and insisted Crokes must be "at our absolute best" to win it.

"I haven't won a championship before at all with the club, so it's really, really nice to get that.

"We'll do our best to get a Leinster championship under the belt now," he added.

The Dublin forward allayed fears over his recent hamstring injury, despite coming off in the last ten minutes on Sunday, soon after fisting his only point from play.

He had carried the niggle through his Dublin final tour de force when he amassed 1-6 from play against St Jude's.

"It's fine," he said. "I actually think it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.

"I just felt a little nick in it, in the final, but tests and everything proved that it's alright."

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