London lament lack of games after Woods lifts Louth
Louth 2-26 London 1-19
GAA structures are holding back the development of the London football team, according to manager Ciaran Deely.
The Exiles boss saw his side beaten by 10 points in a shoot-out at Ruislip, and while gracious in defeat the former Wexford man expressed his frustration at limitations unique to London, which he believes are preventing his side from improving.
"We've had two Championship games and six League games. For us to develop we need lots and lots of high-quality games which we are just not getting," he said.
"I've been involved with the team now for four seasons, three as manager. Unfortunately, we haven't got a Championship win. As manager I carry that on my back but it's very difficult for us to compete and to get better when we don't have enough matches."
William Woods starred with 13 points - 12 from placed balls - to book Louth's place in today's qualifiers draw.
The victory was Louth's first since beating Kildare in the O'Byrne Cup on January 3.
The Wee County got off to a great start hitting three points inside the opening two minutes before Ryan Elliott rounded Neil Gallagher to finish to the net and bring London level on 10 minutes.
The black-carding of Louth native Martin Carroll stalled the Exiles' momentum though, and they were five points down on 18 minutes when Ronan Holcroft shot past Gavin McEvoy.
London did manage to stay in touch but suffered a hammer blow two minutes before the break when Conor Grimes fisted a high ball to the net.
That gave Louth a 2-12 to 1-9 half-time lead and they made the game safe early in the second period with five unanswered points.
London surged, with Adrian Moyles hugely impressive, and managed to reduce the deficit to four points, before Louth pulled clear once again.
Woods' only negative of a fine afternoon was a penalty effort that blazed over the bar, but it mattered little.
Louth boss Pete McGrath said his side will take plenty from the victory.
"We are delighted with the win," he said. "It's our first competitive win this year and I think it will do a lot of good for our confidence.
"In difficult circumstances they've kept on going and we knew coming here it was a game we could win. We knew we had to play well in order to win it, and I think generally we did that.
"To score 2-25 is quite an impressive statistic; conceding 1-19 is something we have to look at seriously. But I think we did enough today to convince ourselves that we are a decent team and if get a half-decent draw we will certainly be optimistic."
Deely was reluctant to be drawn on his own future.
"I suppose it has come to the end of a cycle - three years," he said. "I'll have to sit down and have a look at that and chat to the county board and see is there somebody else better who can take things on."