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'In a county final at 42 years of age, it doesn't get much better than that'

Mick Lawlor scored two goals in the O’Moore County final on Sunday.

Image: INPHO

FORMER LAOIS STAR Michael Lawlor rolled back the years with a fine display in Sunday’s county senior football final.

Lawlor’s two-goal blast almost helped to pull off a shock victory for Emo against a Portlaoise side chasing a 9th successive crown at O’Moore Park.

The clubs will go at it again next Saturday (6.30pm) to find a champion but there’s a major problem looming for the winners as they will have to go again less than 24 hours later against Palatine in the AIB Leinster club championship.

That game has a 2.30pm start at Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow but Lawlor and Emo aren’t too concerned with that prospect at this point in time.

“There’s speculation that whoever wins on Saturday is out the following day against Palatine,” said Lawlor.

“I don’t honestly know, we won’t be too worried about it.

“The Laois thing is what we would be looking for. If we win, we’ll get on with it.”

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Lawlor netted twice during the second half but Emo needed a late point to salvage a replay.

And he reflected: “We didn’t kick in the first half, to be honest about it.

“Paul Lawlor got a few frees and Evan Costello kept us in it.

“We were three down and the couple of goals lifted it.

“But they brought on Zach Tuohy and he made a fierce difference.

“We got the score to draw it and we’ll be hoping to improve the next day.”

Zach Touhy takes to the field Portlaoise's AFL star Zach Tuohy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Speaking to The42 this morning, Lawlor admitted that he was stiff and sore after yesterday’s exertions.

“It’s enjoyable at the end of the day,” he smiled.

“In a county final at 42 years of age, it doesn’t get much better than that.

“We have to enjoy it while it’s there.

“I can’t remember how the first goal came about but for the second one, I got on the end of it around the square and she snuck in. Happy days!

“A lot of people were saying afterwards ‘ye left it behind’ but there was none of that talk in the dressing room after.

“When Portlaoise got the point ahead with a minute to go, I’m sure they thought they had us but we got the ball up the field and worked a free, showed a bit of character.”

When Emo won their previous county senior title, in 1972, Lawlor wasn’t even born.

Michael Lawlor 20/6/2004 Michael Lawlor during his playing days with Laois. Source: INPHO

And that might give you some indication of what it would mean for the club to overthrow the champions and bridge a 43-year gap at the second time of asking.

“This is what we want and there could a lot of the juniors getting a shot on Sunday morning if we win it!” Lawlor smiled.

“We’ll have a swim session tonight, train Tuesday and Thursday but mainly relax.

“Saturday will come around when it comes around, there’s no point in panicking about it.

“We’ll get the bodies and heads right and take it from there.”

Still going strong after all these years, Lawlor doesn’t think recovery will be too much of an issue this week. Adrenalin will help carry him through.

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“I’d find that for League matches, you might not get out of bed for a couple of days!

“But it’s championship now, your head takes over and you recover a small bit quicker.”

Source: INPHO

While sole focus remains on Saturday, the prospect of a second game in two days for the winners if far from ideal, Lawlor insists.

“I was listening to Newstalk during the week, (Colm) Parkinson and the boys. 

“They have the right idea, to reschedule things because the club is so put back.

“We started in August with a first round game but in other counties, they play the first round in May and don’t do anything for 3 months.

“Then they’re out week after week and it’s crazy, to be quite honest.

“You have to grin and get on with it until it’s sorted out.

“But this isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last unless they have a serious look at it.

“I think the replay was going to be fixed for Wednesday night but that didn’t suit ourselves.

“We have a couple of boys working in England and they would only be available for Saturday so what do you do?

“We have to be realistic. We’re not even thinking about the Leinster championship.

“Portlaoise are going for 9-in-a-row and they’re a good side so they might be but we’re definitely not.”

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