*Our county football final coverage is in association with The Baba's Barbershop
The energy and pace that Gareth Dillon provided in Portlaoise’s three in a row success was a feature of their play throughout the season, and again Dillon delivered in the final.
After a slow first half, Portlaoise began to reel off scores in the second-half, with Dillon kicking three fine scores from play, as well as bounding up and down the field non-stop.
In each of Portlaoise’s games this season they have found a way to haul themselves over the line, and that’s a commendable trait.
“I think that’s probably in the team a bit for the five games so far, but on a positive it probably shows an awful lot of character that we are able to win these tight games.
“We know now we need to be upping our performance from here on in. We’re getting it right in the training field, just for whatever reason we’re putting thirty minutes together, little patches together. It’s about driving it on now, and sixty minute performances are needed from here in.”
Portlaoise came extremely close to reaching a Leinster club final last year, as they heartbreakingly fell to Kilmacud Crokes in the semi-final. Dillon knows that Portlaoise haven’t quite hit the heights in terms of performance as of yet, but there’s still time to go up a few gears.
“We’ve four big weeks now. We’ve a super management team in place. To be fair, we just don’t seem to be putting it together in consistent patches, but we’ll enjoy this county championship. You don’t take them for granted.
“They’re really big achievements, but from probably Monday or Tuesday on now it is going to be all about the first round of the Leinster and really upping our performance.”
Killeshin’s spirit proved a bit of a thorn for Portlaoise in the final, as they just couldn’t shake them off. It went right down to the wire, but eventually Dillon pointed the winner to edge The Town to glory.
“To be honest, we didn’t really take them for granted. We saw the quarter-final match, and I thought they were the best team on show of that one. I didn’t seem much of the semi-final game, but we knew what we were in for.
“It’s easy to say it now, but I don’t think it was complacency. They’re a phenomenal team with phenomenal pace and a couple of really top class players, and fair play to them.”
It’s not always easy to take over a winning set-up, but Niall Rigney has managed to continue that success and Dillon complimented the Portlaoise manager.
“He’s brilliant. His stature speaks for himself. Everyone will remember him as a player. It’s the same kind of tone and intensity he brings as a manager, and we have a really good backroom team as well.
“We are getting it right, as I said, on the training field, it’s just we’re not bringing it as consistently as we need in matches. That’s up to us now as players, to really drive it forward for the next four weeks.”