Sport

"Everyone was out on the streets" Noel Mackey on Portlaw's return to senior football

Portlaw return to the senior football ranks tonight as they take on Gaultier in Carrickbeg at 7.30.

The blue and gold beat Dungarvan in last year's intermediate decider and manager Noel Mackey recalls it fondly.

"Coming back to Portlaw was unbelievable that night. Everyone was out on the streets. It's tradition here that you drive the streets with a cup. Everyone was out at the front door. We were coming out of Covid and things were getting back to normal. People just wanted a lift and a celebration and the football brought that."

He says that they will be up against it tonight. "We've had a total reshuffle. No lies, we're down six or seven starters from the county final. That's genuine. Lads have travelled, lads have retired, lads have got jobs away. We had to go back to the drawing board."

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Mackey and his management team will put their faith in youth. "We have a few young lads coming through. Over the years, you'd hear lads saying 'blood them in at junior for a while.' We don't have that luxury. We're a rural club.  You see lads training greyhound pups and they start them off on the fluffy teddy. There will be no fluffy teddies tonight! The pups will be thrown in there and they'll have to get on with it."

Hear more from Noel Mackey on Lár Na Páirce from 6.10.

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