London rounded off their 2016 league campaign with a sixth defeat toWicklow at Ruislip at theweekend, finishing bottom of Division 4 with two points
With Waterford edging Leitrim out by a point on Sunday, London remained at the bottom of the table,recording two points from a possible 14 after their penultimate win a week previous. But it was a game that the Exiles could have won, a frustrating pattern that has formed of many of their league games this year.
Down by eight points with 25 minutes still left to play, a steady push on the Wicklow posts got London to within a score of their opponents by the final whistle. But they will rue a lack of urgency, decision making and that final killer instinct from preventing them from doubling their points tally on the table.
The game got off to a disastrous start when on 25 seconds Wicklow went a goal up through Mikey O’Connor after a lapse in concentration allowed Mark Kenny to set him up dangerously close to Gavin McEvoy’s goal.
But London responded almost immediately as Mark Gottsche powered onto set Adrian Moyles up for a goal opportunity of his own, but an instinctive block by keeper Will Hender put the ball out for what would be a missed ’45.Adrian Hanlon got London on the score board in the seventh minute when he was set up by a diagonal ball by North London Shamrocks’ Scott Conroy.
Rory Finn negated the score with his pointed free soon after, but things were looking up for the hosts on 10 minutes when Dualtach Molloy’s brilliant run through the centre of the field freed Liam Gavaghanin space in front of goal to expertly place the ball underneath the visiting goalkeeper.
An error after a short kick-out saw Kenny get the next score, which Conroy soon evened out with along-range free of his own.Finn responded with his own pointed free before a Colin Dunne ball to Hanlon allowed him to equalise from what looked like an impossible angle just left of the goal line.
Wicklow would remain a point up after two McGrath frees either side of a successful Conroy set play.It was a competent first half display by London, but the mixed tempo they were able to find in its earlier stages; using both patient play interspersed with high tempo passing in a quest for points started to lack them from the 20-minute mark.
They started to look a bit flat and were positioned too linear at times instead of running on, making them force the issue of a wasted ball at times when no other option was available.
They would equalise through a Conroy point from play, set up by Greene,before Kenny, Wicklow’s player-of-the-match, who seemed to have masses of space on the right side of the pitch put Dunne the wrong way with a brazen dummy for his second score.
The scoreline would not be as close at the break, as the Garden County went in four points up after Dean Healy’s run allowed him to net a goal at close range on the rebound, after here acted quickest to McEvoy’s initial block on his shot.
It was a less than ideal start to the second half for London as their opponents picked up where they left off, scoring four unanswered points; two from play from Greystones midfielder Darren Hayden, along with two frees from Finn and McGrath.
London got back in business when they almost got a second goal, with Gottsche taking the ball superbly from the hands of his defender after a Moyles pass, but Hanlon’s resultants hot at goal heartbreakingly spun off of the crossbar to safety.
Hanlon opened London’s second-half tally with his next free, and after substitute Lorcan Mulvey went wide with the next set play, Gottsche stood up to take the next one, and struck it beautifully from 40 metres out to get back to within six points.
The inclusion of Mulvey made a real difference with increased height in the middle of the field, as well as a sense of urgency in pushing forward.
Moyles’ pass to Mulveynext fell to Eoin Murray fora simple, short-rangeconversion, before Mulveyset up Gavaghan forLondon’s next goalopportunity which wassaved without fuss byHender.
London moved to within three points of Wicklow’s score through Conroy’s next two pointed frees, but although the visitors did not score for there maining 25 minutes after their initial four-point run,there was still something lacking from the hosts’ final play which meant an equalising goal never looked likely.
The final ten minutes saw many wasted opportunities to chip away at Wicklow’s lead with points, with play becoming too laboured, and attacking opportunities too slow in the closing stages to mountany convincing comeback.
London: Gavin McEvoy; Philip Butler, Ciaran Dunne, Caoimhin Carty; David McGreevy, Danny Ryan, Colin Dunne; Cathal Greene, Liam Gavaghan (1-0); Dualtach Molloy, Mark Gottsche (0-1,1f), Eoin Murray (0-1); Adrian Hanlon (0-3, 1f), Scott Conroy(0-5, 4fs), Adrian Moyles.
Substitutes: Lorcan Mulvey for Molloy, Gerard Minihane for Moyles, Shane Buckley for Murray, Darragh Quinn for Ryan, Michael Walsh for Dunne, Sean Hickey for Adrian Hanlon
Wicklow: Will Hender; Cieran Hyland, Paul McLoughlin, Eoin Murtagh; Stephen Kelly, Dean Healy (1-0), Kevin Murphy; Rory Finn (0-3, 3fs), Danny Woods; Darren Hayden (0-2), Gary Allen, MarkKenny (0-2), Mikey O’Connor(1-0), John McGrath (0-3, 2fs),Marc Lennon.
Substitutes: Cathal Fitzgerald for Lennon, Anthony McLoughlin for Woods, Ross O’Brien for Allen, John Crowe for Murphy, Niall Gaffney for O’Connor, Chris Murphy for Finn
Louth and Mayo next for London
The London County Board have confirmed that Louth will travel to Ruislip, as part of their 1916 commemorations, fora useful warm-up match before their championship campaign begins against Mayo.
The opening Connacht match takes place on May 29, and online tickets have already sold out for the hotly anticipated event,but four weeks previous London will get the chance to play Louth at home.
Louth, who Londonlost to by two goals in theirfirst league tie in January,will travel to Ruislip onMay 1.
London’s 1916 weekend starts with a special commemorative hurling challenge match between Brothers Pearse and Thomas McCurtains on April 30, the same day that Tara Camogie hold their Sevens tournament in Greenford, celebrating their 30th anniversary.
There will be entertainment at Irish TV Grounds, Ruislip that evening with an evening of traditional music, before the extravaganza’s main day on May 1.
London Juniors will play Lancashire, before the Louth match, with a half time mini exhibition.
The London development squad are also pencilled in for a yet to be announced challenge match before a London Ladies Sevens tournament on Monday, May 2.
More details will be announced and confirmed in due course, but tickets will cost £10 Seniors /Students £5 Children U16 free, and will cover all of the weekend’s events.
For ticket enquiries for the London v Mayo match contact email@example.com