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Parade debacle aided Kilmurry, admits Mulligan

PORTLAOISE were adamant that complacency wasn't to blame for their All-Ireland semi-final disaster against 7/2 outsiders Kilmurry-Ibrickane.

But manager John Mulligan admitted the recent decision of the Portlaoise St Patrick's Day parade committee -- to postpone this year's event because of a possible clash with the All-Ireland club final -- had played into the hands of their Clare opponents. Now, the only ones marching on March 17 will be Kilmurry -- all the way to Croke Park.

"All this rubbish about the St Patrick's Day parade being called off -- OK, it was used probably down in Clare as a motivating factor, but we had absolutely nothing to do with it," Mulligan emphasised.

"The first we heard about it was when it came out in the (local) paper on a Wednesday. And from the word go, we were fierce upset over it.

"As regards complacency, no way, end of story. They're a great bunch of chaps in that dressing room. They respect everybody, and the last thing we wanted was an insult like that to Kilmurry, giving the impression that we were after calling off a parade -- because that's the biggest insult you can give any team."

Another factor beyond Portlaoise's control -- their odds at the bookmakers -- had also been pounced on by Kilmurry. "If anything, it drove us on," related winning manager Michael McDermott.

According to McDermott, his players already had "total control" by the time Portlaoise were reduced to 13 players, citing their "intensity" as the critical factor.

"I don't think Portlaoise could live with it or they weren't expecting it. We were huge underdogs, a little club from west Clare coming into the game, but there's savage belief among all those players. They wanted their day in Croke Park."

But he warned: "It's no use getting there to enjoy the occasion or to make up the numbers. Let's give it our best shot for the next three and a half weeks and see where it brings us."