Monday 22 January 2018

Brave London hold on to make history

Gaelic Games Martin Breheny

London's brave heroes withstood a stirring Leitrim fightback to create history yesterday by reaching the Connacht final.

Paul Coggins' charges had to dig deep into their resources of courage to win the Connacht semi-final by a point, thus qualifying for a clash with Mayo on July 21.

It's the first time in London's 38-year participation in the Connacht championship that they have reached the final.

The Exiles led by 2-10 to 0-2 at half-time but managed just one point in the second half as Leitrim staged a recovery which eventually left them a point short (2-11 to 1-13). Leitrim head to the second round of the qualifiers with the other seven beaten provincial semi-finalists.

Dublin's All-Ireland SFC odds have been slashed to 9/4 after their stunning 16-point rout of Kildare in Croke Park yesterday.

Jim Gavin's ultra-impressive side joined their hurling counterparts in the Leinster final after hitting the hapless Lilywhites for 4-16.

Kildare made a great start, scoring 1-2 in the opening seven minutes, but lost the remainder of the game by 4-16 to 0-7.

On a day when London made history by reaching the Connacht final for the first time, Dublin's powerhouse performance took them into their eighth Leinster final in nine seasons, where they will meet Meath on Sunday week.

Dublin led by 2-7 to 1-5 at half-time and completely dominated the second half, a period in which Meath also thrived after trailing Wexford by a point at the break in the other Leinster semi-final.

The Royals went on to win by 0-18 to 0-13 to set up a repeat of last year's final which Dublin won.

Armagh and Derry made it an Ulster double in the first-round qualifiers. Armagh blitzed Wicklow 2-21 to 0-2 in the Athletic Grounds, while Derry, who have a good record in the qualifiers, beat Sligo by seven points in Owenbeg – a result which prompted the resignation of defeated boss Kevin Walsh.

Meanwhile, TV3 has confirmed they are covering the mouth-watering All-Ireland SHC qualifier between Kilkenny and Tipperary live next Saturday, which is expected to have a 7.0 throw-in at Nowlan Park.

Following their shock defeat to Dublin on Saturday night, Kilkenny are again set to be without Henry Shefflin and Michael Fennelly for their do-or-die affair.

Irish Independent

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