In the end it was so near and yet so far for Killoe as they bowed out of the Leinster Club Senior Football Championship on Sunday last when they were defeated in the semi-final by Portlaoise.
Three points separated the sides in the end and although disappointed to lose the game, Young Emmets manager Tommy McCormack was delighted with the way his players stepped up to the mark in the biggest game in the club’s history.
“Portlaoise are an exceptional team and we played exceptional football too. We left the margin so close. We came here in hope and on previous performances we would have been annihilated. The lads stepped up to it; there was a different level of intensity, pace and level of intelligent there today,” he told the Leader.
Killoe were underdogs and went into the game knowing they had nothing to lose but were quietly confident. “We have self belief,” said McCormack. “We maintain that irrespective of what history a team brings with them – like Portlaoise – they still have to do it and we certainly put it up to them. We played very well but unfortunately just fell short.”
Meath referee Cormac Reilly didn’t endear himself to the large Killoe support with a number of questionable decisions going against the Longford champions. In one incident Sean McCormack was on the receiving end of a rather robust challenge and he hurt his ribs. “Sean got a good rap on the ribs but played on through the pain barrier; that’s the type of lad that he is. You are going to get those in games like this and when a player thinks he can get away with it he’ll do that. There were a couple of incidents that we didn’t get the decisions. But look it’s history now,” said the Killoe boss.
Speaking of support Killoe totally outnumbered the Portlaoise fans with many people from various other clubs in the county there to support the Longford Champions. McCormack was delighted with the support they received: “There is no doubt about the great support we had. All the clubs around the county have been great. It was a unique occasion for us to get this far and we came up against one of the consistently best teams in Leinster.”
It has been a long few months for Killoe since their first Championship game against Ballymahon. They have now made a name for themselves not just in Longford but in Leinster stated McCormack: “We struggled in our own championship and played a lot of football with replays. This is a young team, we have nine U-21 players and it’s a learning process for them. To win the county senior championship this year was a big ask. When we got into Leinster we were an unknown quantity but people will now sit up and take notice of us now. People will be wary of Killoe in the future.