Tuesday 6 December 2016

O'Leary wary of 'goal machines' Brogan and Connolly

Published 04/06/2011 | 05:00

Peter O'Leary has warned his Laois team-mates about the threat posed by Dublin "goal machines" Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan.

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Pat Gilroy's side hit the back of the net 16 times in seven Division 1 league matches and defender O'Leary believes Laois must keep a clean sheet if they are to have a chance at Croke Park tomorrow.

"Bernard Brogan and Diarmuid Connolly seem to be goal machines at the minute," said the O'Dempseys man. "They are scoring up to three goals on average per game.

"The key to beating them is trying to stop them from scoring goals. If we can't we are going to find it very hard to compete with them.

"That will be our main task, but then again they have Kevin McManamon and Bryan Cullen out the field and they will do an awful lot of work as well. We can't even target one or two men, because they have six very good forwards."

Under new manager Justin McNulty, Laois showed plenty of promise early in the season and eventually secured top-flight football for next year after a mixed campaign in a competitive Division 2.

But they were disappointing in the one-point win over Longford in their championship opener and O'Leary agrees that a similar performance will end their interest in the Leinster championship.

"Dublin are a very hard team to beat in Croke Park. They have serious support there and that counts for an awful lot for them.

"It helps them to lift their game. It is up to us to try and mute that as early as we can and stop them getting a head of steam up."

O'Leary was part of the Laois side that beat Dublin in the All-Ireland minor final in 2003 after a replay. That was the same year the seniors registered their last championship win over the Dubs on their way to a Leinster title.

"At underage level we had good success from a few different teams at minor and U-21, but when it came to senior we haven't always brought that through and been successful against them.

"The way the year has gone we have had an awful lot of ups and downs. The first round of the championship was all just about getting a victory.

"Dublin got to a league final and have been playing unreal football so far this year and they have built on the success they had when rebuilding the team last year.

"We are probably only getting started down that road. For us to have a realistic chance of winning on Sunday, we are going to have to double our performance from the last day."

Irish Independent

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