Laois manager Justin McNulty spoke of his delight at getting off to a winning start in the NFL after Saturday’s game in O’Moore Park, but was quick to point out that his team have plenty to work on despite the seven point win.
“It was a good start, but we need to recognise there are major areas for improvement in our performance, and recognise that it’s going to be so much tougher next week” said McNulty, before adding the caution that “if we float along thinking we are going to cruise through this Division then we have another thing coming.”
Of the positives, the twenty point total was certainly one, and the Armagh man was glad his team took advantage of an ideal night for football. “You would have to be happy with 20 points. Conditions were perfect, given the weather we have had over the last numbers of week, for the pitch to be such good condition, you have to give Laois county board and the groundsmen huge credit for that.
“The conditions were perfect for scoring points, but I would question why we didn’t actually score more. Armagh missed a lot chances that could have made the game a lot tighter for us, but we should have had the game totally under control.
“We had a few goal chances and that’s something I talked about, when you have an opportunity to go for goal you go for the jugular, and we didn’t execute that as well as I would have liked.”
McNulty was not happy, however, about some of Laois’ play in the second half, when they allowed Armagh to come back into the game. “We took our foot off the pedal, certainly, Armagh totally dominated the middle of the field and won the vast majority of our kickouts, and it’s something we will have to look at, I’ll have to look at the videotape and see why that happened because it’s not acceptable, and against different opposition we might be punished more acutely for that.”
The Laois manager was pleased with Donie Kingston’s contribution on his return to the senior fold, but admitted that like all the other players, there is more to come from the Arles-Killeen man. “Donie showed some of his brilliant skills, his vision when he’s on the ball is extraordinary and he scored a couple of great points from play.
“For his first performance back with Laois you would have to be positive about it, but I think there is so much more left and Donie knows himself he has a lot more to give, but there was no player out there who could say he gave the complete performance, and we have to get that level where we have complete performances all over the pitch.”
McNulty also paid tribute to Darren Strong, who lined out and wing back and scored two points, despite having seen his grandmother buried that morning. “He scored some fantastic points, and in the circumstances you have to give him massive credit for that, and it shows the character and his commitment to get to where we want to get to.”
He was also keen to point out, however, that there was more to come from this team. “We’re up and running and you have to be positive, you have to applaud the guys because they have been very committed over the last three months in terms of their individual programmes and their lifestyle and their camaraderie and togetherness, but this is only the beginning, we must really seek to get better and push harder as we go forward.”