Leinster club football veterans McCormack and Dolan add to extensive medal hauls

Brian ‘Bruno’ McCormack lifted his 16th Laois senior crown with Portlaoise while Garrycastle’s Dessie Dolan won his eighth Westmeath SFC medal.

Bruno McCormack and Dessie Dolan.
Bruno McCormack and Dessie Dolan.

TWO VETERANS OF Leinster football added to their extensive medal collections after club victories at the weekend. 

Brian ‘Bruno’ McCormack won his 16th Laois senior medal with Portlaoise yesterday, which arrived 22 years after he made his debut for the club. 

And 40-year-old Dessie Dolan picked up his eighth Westmeath SFC crown on Sunday, surpassing his father Dessie Snr’s haul of seven as Garrycastle defeated St Loman’s in the decider. 

“A bit surreal actually,” McCormack told Midlands 103 yesterday.

“I think we were really lucky today. Fair play to Killeshin, they got a goal early and never gave in. It was a tough day at the office. I think realistically now we could say we were very lucky to win today.

“They sort of played a sweeper for most of the game. But they were well organised and we just struggled to get room up front there today.

“It was a weird game, I’d say we’ll have to sit down and look at it ourselves to see it was very hard to get room in there. But thankfully the guys out the field started playing well in the second-half.”

It was a family affair in Westmeath with Dolan’s younger brother Gary in charge of the side as they bridged a five-year gap without the county title. 

The former county star told RTÉ Radio afterwards that this was his final act on the field in Westmeath and said he would be hanging up his boots after this campaign.

“This was (title) number eight,” said Dolan. ”I’m delighted because my dad has seven. It’s hard to beat your dad at anything but I beat him at county titles finally. I’ll take that one over him!

“Today was my last day playing Westmeath county football. I’ll do a little bit in Leinster but I’m finished with county football in Westmeath.

“It was a massive performance. No one had performed in the first-half. County finals are for performing, and no one was happy. There’s a bit of character in that room and we showed it in the second half.

“I turned 40 during the summer. My younger brother is the manager. He was saying, ‘just play a little bit, help the lads on the pitch.’ I was delighted to do it. It was a special day for Garrycastle.” 

John Heslin bagged 2-2 for St Loman’s but was unable to prevent them from falling to a 2-13 to 3-6 defeat.

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The elder Dolan was withdrawn at half-time following a conversation with the manager. The 2012 All-Ireland finalists went on to pull off a dramatic comeback. 

“We were struggling with St Loman’s all over the park,” explained Dolan.

“We couldn’t contain Ronan O’Toole and John Heslin. Myself and Gary had a chat. I went off and we put James Sheerin in at full-forward, a big target man. We got a couple of balls into him and it kind of changed the game for us. The lads were incredible. The longer it went on the better we were getting.

“St Loman’s were playing all the football but they never turned up in the second half. We smelled the opportunity and we took it. It’s incredible.

“You might take for granted getting the county title, but this was special. We’re five years without getting one. There were incredible scenes at the end. I don’t think anyone could believe the win.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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