Playing in his sixth season of senior football with Portarlington, defender Robbie Piggott is enjoying the good times.
Three months ago, he won his first senior championship after they beat Graiguecullen in the delayed 2020 final and he is hoping the good times will continue to roll.
Portlaoise await them in this year's decider on Sunday and while many view Portarlington as the new kingpins of Laois football, the Laois defender insists that Portlaoise still have that class and mentality to be one of the top dogs.
“For me growing up, football was just Portlaoise winning the whole time. We are under no illusions but looking forward to it as well.
“They have some really quality players. The likes of Gareth Dillon and Kieran Lillis. Graham Brody is back for them now as well and he brings another string to their bow. We are going to have our hands full, that's for sure.”
Portarlington's main strength this year has been their defence. The old line of defence wins you matches and the forwards decide by how much is very much the case here. Piggott has been in good form in the half back line but insists the full back line and keeper Scott Osborne have been the unsung heroes so far in 2021.
“Defensively, we are fairly well setup. The backs love hard work. Even in goals, I don't think Scott (Osborne) gets the credit he deserves. He is an unbelievable keeper.”
Portarlington have been knocking on the door for a few years now but 2020 was the year they finally fulfilled their potential. When asked what has clicked for them in the last two years, Piggott explained that having a core group of players with leaders all over the field has been massive for them.
“There is a good group of us there that have stuck together and and as far as we are concerned there are 15 leaders out there on the pitch.
“I think it is just that crop of players that are there at the moment. There is great unity in that group, we are all the best of friends and I think that's one of the main reasons we have stuck together and put our shoulder to the wheel.
“David Murphy and Cathal Ryan are great leaders. When things might be getting a bit frantic, they are there to calm things down and have a word with the younger lads. Experience and leaders everywhere.”
Martin Murphy's charges didn't get to play a Leinster club championship after winning the 2020 championship and while it was a disappointment, Piggott insists that they haven't dwelled on it nor has it come into their train of thought this year.
“They (Portlaoise) beat us in a semi final two years ago and we were very dis-heartened by that but we will be looking to set that right now.
“Our whole focus is on this final against Portlaoise. We are not looking one step further.”
The modern game is now heavily stats and performance based. Markers are set down and targets to be met. Portarlington are no different and Piggott has credited manager Martin Murphy for bringing in that degree of professionalism to the squad.
“There are goals. We have team and individual goals. Martin has really brought that into us. While we do take it game by game, we also take it quarter by quarter and take it from there, that's what we aim for.”
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