London win in Hyde Park to set up first Connacht final
Published 01/07/2013 | 05:00
MANY of them will be back at their desks and building sites in London today.
But last night the footballers of London were savouring the prospect of the 'county's' first appearance in a Connacht final, when they take on Mayo in Castlebar on July 21.
Following a draw against Leitrim a week ago, they won the replay 2-11 to 1-13 yesterday.
Not many of London's 12 million citizens made it over for the match at Roscommon's Hyde Park. The bulk of the crowd of 5,217 came from Leitrim's 32,000 residents.
Most of the London supporters were parents and family of the players, with John McGoldrick from Ballintogher, Co Sligo, saying it was a huge boost. His son Padraig is on the London squad, having emigrated three years ago to work in construction. He witnessed Leitrim reduce London's 2-10 to 0-2 interval lead to just a point but the Exiles held on in a dramatic finish.
"It's great that they won it, they deserved it . . . and hopefully now they can give a good account of themselves in the final," said proud father John.
London manager Paul Coggins, a native of Roscommon, said that the victory was not just testament to the work of the current group of players, but to all the people who helped the GAA develop in Britain.
"It has taken us three years to build this team but it goes back much longer than that and for us to get to a Connacht final is a reward for all the people who put the work in down through the years in London," Mr Coggins said.
His London team became the first one to win a match in the Connacht championship for 33 years when they defeated Sligo by a point at their home ground in Ruislip in the first round on May 26.
They will now take on red-hot favourites Mayo at McHale Park in Castlebar.
"Mayo are a fabulous team. But we will work hard for the next few weeks. We are a good team and we will go into the final and do our best and let's see what happens," Mr Coggins said.