Saturday 16 December 2017

Colm Parkinson: It's hard for for me to have sympathy for Portlaoise despite Dublin transfer edge

Paul Durcan is congratulated by Ballyboden St Enda’s team-mate Darragh Nelson following their Leinster SFC victory
Paul Durcan is congratulated by Ballyboden St Enda’s team-mate Darragh Nelson following their Leinster SFC victory

Colm Parkinson

Most observers will point to Paul Cahillane's poor missed free as the losing of the game for Portlaoise in Sunday's Leinster club football final.

For me, the most important moment came in the 50th minute. Brian McCormack was through on goals with only the Ballyboden goalkeeper to beat. He made an outstanding save, tipping McCormack's shot on to the post, and it completely changed the course of the game. The teams were level at the time and Portlaoise were playing the better football.

Ballyboden's goalkeeper is none other than Paul Durcan, a double All-Star and All-Ireland winner, widely regarded as the second best goalkeeper in Ireland behind Stephen Cluxton. Durcan is not from Ballyboden. He transferred this year and is a key factor in their success.

In 2007, when I played for Portlaoise, we met St Vincent's in Parnell Park and were well beaten. That day their midfield consisted of Hugh Coughlan and Michael O'Shea from Tipperary and Kerry respectively. They also had Brian Maloney and Pat Kelly from Mayo. They won the All-Ireland that year.

When that team broke up, Vincent's transferred in Eamon Fennell from O'Tooles and Barry Egan, Sligo's centre-back, and won another All Ireland club title.


All the big Dublin clubs benefit from the transfer system from both within the county and from other counties.

Oliver Plunketts' current transfers include Armagh captain Ciaran McKeever, Declan Lally from local rivals St Brigid's and former Cavan goalkeeper Alan O'Mara.

Kilmacud Crokes boosted their forward line with Longford and Cavan's best forwards, Brian Kavanagh and Eugene Keating.

Ballymun Kickhams have James Burke from Mayo, Kevin Leahy from Clontarf, Karl Connolly from Fingallians and this year they had the services of Cavan midfielder David Givney.

It is definitely an unfair advantage when teams like Portlaoise, Garrycastle or Moorefield come to play them in the Leinster club championship. Dublin clubs have won eight of the last 12 Leinster Championships and four of the last five.

This is not sour grapes on my part. While I'd have sympathy for the Portlaoise players, I wouldn't have any for the Portlaoise club considering they suspended me for comments I made on Off The Ball regarding two of my former managers. The suspension, which still stands, prohibits me from playing with the Portlaoise intermediates, a team that would benefit greatly from my services. It's difficult to have any sympathy for a club that makes decisions like that. CP

Irish Independent

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