By Damian Dolan
London must eradicate the mistakes which saw them concede five goals in a 5-9 to 0-11 loss to Sligo, but new manager Michael Maher won’t be hitting the panic button just yet.
The Exiles travel to McGrath Cup winners Limerick on Sunday on the back of leaking as many goals as they conceded in the entirety of last year’s league campaign.
But Maher told his players to keep their heads up following last weekend’s loss, and says the Exiles were far closer to Sligo than the final scoreline suggests.
“We have to fix the mistakes we made this week and improve,” Maher told the Irish World.
“No excuses, we lost the game because we gave away cheap goals, but we’ll definitely come on from that game.”
The Exiles trailed by 1-1 to 0-2 when they conceded two unfortune goals.
First, goalkeeper Noel Maher was lobbed by Patrick O’Connor’s innocuous ball, and then a routine O’Connor free slipped from Matt Moynihan’s clutches and was deemed to have crossed the London goal-line.
— the Irish World (@theirishworld) January 26, 2020
Sligo’s fourth goal also owed much to an element of good fortune, as Conor O’Neill lost sight of the ball and Pat Hughes capitalised.
“The goals were a killer. Three of them were pure flukes; one the umpires said has gone over the line – and the boys are adamant it didn’t,” said Maher.
London were not without goal chances of their own – Sean Hickey and Liam Gavaghan both had clear-cut first half opportunities.
“Sligo took their chances – we didn’t take ours,” said Maher.
“The scoreboard says it was a hiding, but anyone inside the ground will tell you it was a hell of a lot closer.”
He added: “The positive thing is we created those chances. Had Sean Hickey’s goal chance gone in would the game have had a different complexion? Would we have settled quicker?
“Probably, but it didn’t and we didn’t manage that situation well enough.”
Maher says the Exiles will take a lot of positives from their second half performance. Despite conceding two Hughes goals in less than a minute, the home side managed eight scores to Sligo’s six.
“The second half was about restoring pride, getting as many scores as we could on the board, and the lads did that,” he said.
“We racked up a good score against the wind. We were braver, we got closer to them and made it a lot harder for them.”