Laois manager Justin McNulty dedicated his team’s win over Monaghan to his selector John Mulligan, who attended the game on Sunday despite currently undergoing treatment for a serious illness.
Mulligan stood with the players for the national anthem before then seeing them produce one of their best display in years, and after the game the Laois manager said he and the players wanted to dedicate the win to the Portlaoise man. “I think the first thing I have to say is that performance was for John Mulligan.
“John is fighting a serious illness and he came along today and was with the guys on the sideline for the national anthem. That was such a lift for the team, that man has had such a positive impact on so many Laois footballers lives down through the years, and for him to be there supporting the team was such a massive lift, and the guys gave that performance for John Mulligan.”
McNulty was also unquivocal in his answer when asked if he felt that the six point win over Monaghan has been Laois’ best display during his tenure. “Absolutely, without a doubt.
“In terms of work-ethic, the work-ethic from the team was phenomenal, it took the light out of my eyes in terms of how hard the team worked for each other, worked to effect the game plan, it was heart-warming to see that performance.”
After two below par performances, against Wiclow and then Carlow, Laois showed great resolve to bounce back from criticism received after both those games, and their manager acknowledged that in the wake of Sunday’s win. “The team deserves huge credit, for a team that has been knocked-down from within the county and from all over the country, nobody had given us a chance to achieve any sort of success, and for those boys to take that on the chin and keep coming back hungry for more, it’s a testament to the character of these lads, and I applaud them from the greatest heights for the character in that performance today.”
The key now for Laois is to play like this again next time out, and McNulty was quick to point out that nothing tangible had been achieved yet. “This is only one game, we have six or seven days to recover and then we’ll see who we get in the draw.
“Whoever we get it’s an opportunity for us to grow as a team, and that’s what we’re seeking to do every time we play.”
If Laois can continue to score goals as they did against Monaghan then their long-term prospects in the All-Ireland championship will only get better, and McNulty paid tribute to the team effort that went into both strikes. “They were great team moves, the first goal started in our full-back line, they were phenomenally fast, quick accurate team moves.
How many players were involved? How many players were involved in stopping the Monaghan attack to create that chance? It was a phenomenal team effort, and they were team goals, and that’s what was most encouraging.”