After the disappointment of the Mayo game, Laois manager Justin McNulty was no doubt a more contented man after Sunday’s victory over Donegal, although he was keen to keep a rein on expectations after the game.
While the Armagh man was obviously happy to have gotten the win, it was the manner in which it was achieved which pleased him most. “The performance, we would be very happy with. I would have to commend the lads for that over the full 70 minutes, pulling that performance out of the bag. There was a lot of criticism shouldered by the players after the Mayo defeat and to bounce back with that performance, we would have to be more than delighted with,” said McNulty.
“This is not about one player, it’s about the squad from one to thirty six, no one player is more important than the team and that’s what we are focussed on,” said McNulty, who felt that the work-rate was a much greater factor in the win than the two goals.
“The workrate was the key thing today. For the full 70 minutes, they gave their all.“
While players and supporters will be looking for bigger days ahead, McNulty was keen to keep everyone grounded, maintaining that this was just one victory in what was going to be a long league campaign. “This is just one game, we have won a game in Donegal. Armagh beat Kerry last night and this isn’t going to decide the season. We will not get carried away with this,” said McNulty.
“Obviously Donegal were short quite a few players. I’ll tell you what I’m most happy about, the workrate, the effort of the team on the pitch today.”
The Laois manager showed a lighter side when asked if the first Donegal goal may not have crossed the line, and a decision like that could have impacted on the team’s fortunes on another day. “I thought our players said ‘we’ll make this interesting for the crowd and give them a bit of excitement!’ No. it’s something we will look at it but we’ll not be too concerned about.”
In relation to Padraig Clancy’s performance at full-forward, McNulty admitted he wasn’t surprised by the form of his veteran star at the head of the Laois attack. “Padraig playing full-forward is not a revelation; it is something that he has been doing quite regularly for his club. He has proved very effective there at club football so we thought we would give it a go. It worked today, some other days it mightn’t work and Padraig can be a good target man.”