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Dunne hopeful Dillon will provide a spark on return

Ger Dunne's Portlaoise AFC need a favour from Ballyfermot tonight
Ger Dunne's Portlaoise AFC need a favour from Ballyfermot tonight

PORTLAOISE AFC manager Ger Dunne is hopeful returning striker Jody Dillon will help his side to cause a cup upset tomorrow.

The Leinster Senior League side take on Dublin Bus, a team two Divisions above Portlaoise, in the second round of the Metropolitan Cup on Sunday morning.

Dillon missed last week’s 2-2 draw with St Joseph’s Boys because he was representing the Irish Defence Forces team in the Army World Cup of Soccer in Oman.

Despite finishing the group by beating USA 6-1, Ireland failed to advance to the next stage and Dunne says Dillon’s early return is timely as Portlaoise are set to be missing a few players through work and holiday commitments.

He said: “Jody will be back in the squad this weekend so that should give us a few more options.

“A couple of lads who were on the bench last week are unavailable so it’s certainly a boost to have him back.

“Dublin Bus are two divisions above us and are in second place. But we beat UCD, who are three above us, on penalties in the first round so we will have no fear against these.

“It’s a cup competition so anything can happen. We will try to go out and play like we can and hopefully we will get the result.”

Dunne is hoping that his side can get over this challenge and bring a big side down to Portlaoise in a game which would draw a big crowd.

“Well that’s what we are hoping for,” he told Laois Today.

“If we can squeeze through this, maybe we could get a couple of home games against teams we could beat and advance to the latter stages of the competition.

“A game like that would be brilliant and we could promote it to hopeful generate a buzz about the club.

“This is the biggest cup competition and the standard is very high but we will do our best and see what happens.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.