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Laois edge past brave Blues

JOE DOLAN would have had to wear a cap. There was a gale blowing in Mullingar.

"More like a hurricane," remarked Dublin's Brendan Cooper.

The Dubs junior team were in Cusack Park last Saturday for the National League Division 3 final.

Laois took the title by two points, 0-9 to 0-7. They are an accomplished side.

But Dublin went into the final with a 100pc record. They had beaten Laois away in the pool.

Yet, despite the loss, the mood on the Dublin bus remained upbeat on the journey home.

"The players were a bit down after the game. That's only natural after losing a national final," reflected Brendan.

"But they gave it everything. We just couldn't get the vital score or two that you always need.

"It was the first half that killed us. We had the wind, but it took us a long time to get into our stride."

But even before the throw-in, Dublin were in bonus territory. They had just gained promotion last term, coming up as Division 4 champions.


They had also reached the All-Ireland Junior 'A' Championship final, losing to Westmeath at Donaghmore Ashbourne.

"We said it all along that the league was always a stepping stone," added Brendan. "Of course it would have been nice to win it, but it's not the end of the world.

"The big focus was always on the championship. And we are very pleased with how the campaign has gone.

"We weren't sure how we'd get on in Division 3. After all, it was a step up. But if we had been told at the start of the season that we'd get to the Division 3 final, we would have taken it."

Brendan manages the squad with Sandra Tarr, Dave Dunning and Dave Pearson. There's good depth in the panel.

They have put in the hours on the training ground and they'll now prepare for their home Leinster Championship tie against Offaly.

Then the real business begins – another home appointment versus Offaly in the All-Ireland Junior 'A' Championship in June followed by away championship tests against Cavan and Carlow.

"We have learned a lot this year. And we'll hope to carry that into the championship.

"We'll get over Saturday's defeat. We are still very much on course."

The Brendan Voyage sails on.