By Damian Dolan
London senior football manager Ciaran Deely is hoping to get Mayo’s two-time All Ireland winner Liam Irwin on board with the Exiles as early as this week.
Deely was at the Scrubs on Saturday to see Irwin, amongst a few other possible new additions to the London panel, qualify to play for the Exiles when he lined out for new club North London Shamrocks in a senior football championship preliminary game against Kingdom Kerry Gaels.
“We’ll be chatting to him about his availability,” Deely told the Irish World. “We always want to bring in quality…..he’s definitely on our radar.
“We’d like to get him in to train with us this week. There’s always a space for a couple of quality players within the squad, but anyone who does come in will train and then we’ll see.”
Irwin played National Football league for Mayo’s seniors last year. The Breaffy clubman previously won an All Ireland U21 title with Mayo in 2016, scoring 2-2 in the final to help capture the Clarke Cup for the first time in ten years with victory over Cork.
In 2013 he was part of the Mayo team which beat Tyrone in the All Ireland Minor final, scoring 0-4f.
He also helped Breaffy reach the Mayo senior football championship final in 2015, only to lose out to Castlebar Mitchels.
Those other additions, who are also now qualified to play for London after Saturday’s game at the Scrubs, could include Peter Witherow (Naomh Mícheál) who was on Donegal’s All Ireland winning panel in 2012 and last year played for New York against Sligo in the Connacht Championship.
Eoin Flanagan (St Johns) also featured for New York last year against Sligo, having previously played senior for Sligo.
He 2015, he helped the Yeats County reach the Connacht final. Another Sligo native, Gareth Ryan (St Farnan’s), has played senior for the Yeats County.
Witherow, Flanaghan and Ryan all togged out for new club Shamrocks last Saturday, while the Kingdom fielded former Kerry U21 star Colm Moriarty, who helped Dingle reach the Kerry senior county in 2012, only to lose out to Dr Crokes.
Deely might also be able to call upon a familiar face in KKG’s Caoimhin Carty, who has previously played for London (2015-17) and won a senior county title with the Kingdom in 2013.
However, Deely added a note of caution. He said: “The one qualification you always have to make with lads coming over to London is it takes them time to settle into life in the city.
“And a lot of times they’re not up to the fitness level of the other lads we have in, because they’ve been training since mid-November.
“We’ve got three league games left and not that much time, so it’s hard to get lads up to speed in a very short amount of time.
“If a player comes in with a great attitude and works hard, integrates into the team then he’s got a chance, but I’d never dismiss any of the lads who’ve been there in the trenches with us over the last few years and from the beginning of this season.
“We’ve already got 31-32 real soldiers working hard and doing a lot for London GAA, and I’m certainly not going to forget about those lads.”