St Loman’s, Mullingar manager Declan Kelly.

‘Disappointed’ Kelly non-committal about future with St Loman’s

Understandably, St Loman’s, Mullingar manager Declan Kelly was disappointed with his side’s exit from the Leinster senior club football championship race in Portlaoise today, his troops’ admirable comeback after a dreadful start still not enough to topple Laois kingpins Portarlington.

An early burst from Port’ saw St Loman’s trailing 1-6 to 0-3 at the first half water break, but the Lakepoint Park men recovered to trail by a goal the break, with John Heslin and Ronan O’Toole among the scores.

Portarlington were reduced to 14 men when corner back Alex Mohan was dismissed, and St Loman’s managed to level matters at one point in the second half when TJ Cox kicked a superb goal. However, Port’ dug deep to eke out a 1-14 to 1-12 to set up a semi-final against Dublin’s Kilmacud Crokes.

“After 15 minutes, it wasn’t looking good for us at all. They got a great start. They were 1-6 to 0-1 ahead and the game was nearly over at that stage,” Kelly opined after the match.

“In fairness to the lads, in the last 15 minutes of the first half we clawed it back to a few points again. At half-time, even though our conversion rate hadn’t been good enough in the first half, we still felt we were well in the game.

“Then we got the goal and went a point up. It was nip and tuck from there to the end, but Portarlington got a few scores at the end to see it out.

“It took a fair effort to come back into the game, but when we got to a point up we probably needed to push on and lead by two or three. That just didn’t happen though,” he added.

Kelly conceded that his charges had paid a heavy price during the game for some unforced errors.

“When you get to the Leinster club championship, mistakes are punished and it’s the team that makes the fewer unforced errors that tends to win out,” he said.

“The lads are very disappointed. It’s 2017 since they were last in it and they wanted to give a good account of themselves. We knew coming down that there wasn’t going to be a lot in it. We had played them recently and it turned out to be close again.

“We set out at the start of the year to win the Westmeath championship as our first goal, and the lads achieved that. Back-to-back wins for the club was a big achievement. The second goal was to get a Leinster final, but obviously it’s not going to happen this year.”

He concluded in a non-committal fashion, when asked what his own plans for 2022 with St Loman’s might be, by stating: “From my perspective, I’m going to have a think about things, but there’s ambition in the club definitely.”