13-man London stun Carlow to claim impressive league victory
By Larry Cooney at Netwatch Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow
Allianz NFL Division 4 – Round 2
London are off the mark after a most impressive five-point victory over Carlow in Dr. Cullen Park last Sunday. First-half goals from John Daly and Kieran Hughes gave London the perfect platform for a memorable first league victory since their narrow one-point win over Waterford in Dungarvan in March last year. But the quality of London’s first-half display was also reminiscent of some of the Exiles’ memorable performances from the summer of 2013 when Paul Coggins’ charges became one of the big stories of that year’s championship.
The hosts, who were still savouring the performance of their minor football team’s victory over Dublin on the previous day at the same venue, could scarcely believe their eyes as the Barrowsiders fell 2-11 to 0-7 in arrears by half-time.
Fast start from the visitors
After last week’s heavy defeat in Ardmore it would be a real test of character from the Exiles to produce an improved performance. But as they defended the Dublin Road end of the stadium the visitors made an impressive start with corner forward Rory Mason on target with his first attempt at the posts after three minutes.
However two points in as many minutes, including a Darragh Foley free and an effort from Alan Kelly had the hosts in front by the fifth minute. But as the visitors settled and began to run at the Carlow defence they eventually began to dominate the exchanges.
Beginning with an excellent equalising solo point from London captain Liam Gavaghan in the 6th minute the Exiles were back in front through a Rory Mason free three minutes later before Liam Gavaghan punished another Carlow turnover with another fine finish. A foul on wing back Cormac Coyne in the 11th minute then gave James Gartlan an opportunity to point from the 45 metre line before a Coyne effort just dropped short into the arms of the Carlow goal-keeper. But when a dropping ball was superbly caught by John Daly in the 13th minute he easily rounded his marker to rifle an unstoppable attempt to the net.
Carlow were clearly rattled and although top scorer Paul Broderick kept the Barrowsiders in contention with two pointed frees in the 15th and 18th minute London were back in control from the 21st minute until the end of the half. Two Liam Gavaghan pointed frees in the 21st and 23rd minutes opened up a 1-7 to 0-4 lead before Darragh Foley replied with a 27th minute pointed free before London finished the half with a flourish with points from Rory Mason (2), Liam Gavaghan and John Daly before Kieran Hughes claimed his second London green flag just before half-time.
Carlow were on the rack and very grateful for two late Broderick points including his third successful free to leave the amazing half-time scoreline reading: London 2-11 Carlow 0-7.
London face inevitable third-quarter onslaught
A shell-shocked Carlow team collected in a huddle just after the short-whistle before withdrawing to the dressing room where they hoped to plot what would have been the greatest of great escapes. And indeed nobody could fault the men in red, green and yellow for giving their all in the second half as they outscored the visitors by 0-9 to 0-4.
Five unanswered points for Carlow in the third quarter halved the deficit and real asked some serious questions of the London defence. But to their credit the superbly marshalled London rearguard held firm and displayed some great composure despite finishing with thirteen players after double yellow card dismissals for Conor O’Neill and Anthony McDermott. Rory Mason and Caoimhin Carty were also black-carded but Carlow never managed to get the London lead below four points. Paul Broderick registered four of Carlow’s second half points with all but one coming from placed balls.
Darragh Foley scored three including one from a free with a quiet Brendan Murphy pointed free closing the Carlow scoring. On a day to forget for the Barrowsiders Paul Broderick was red-carded in the final minutes. London substitute Mark Jordan who replaced Cormac Coyne had London’s last point just three minutes before the end of normal time while Kieran Hughes was unlucky to see his effort come back off an upright deep into injury-time. But it didn’t matter on this occasion as London celebrated a victory that was as well-deserved as it was unexpected.
The Exiles now have a week off before they prepare for a trip to Aughrim to face Wicklow on February 26th. On last Sunday’s form London have every reason to be optimistic of a repeat of the result in Baltinglass in 2014 when Paul Coggins’ charges ended their league there with a two-point victory.
LONDON – Rory Mason 0-7(0-4)f, Liam Gavigan 0-6(0-3)f, John Daly 1-1, Kieran Hughes 1-0, Mark Jordan 0-1.
CARLOW – Paul Broderick 0-7(0-6)f, Darragh Foley 0-6(0-5)f, Alan Kelly, Shane O’Neill and Brendan Murphy (0-1)f 0-1 each. Teams:
LONDON: Conor Hallissey; Philip Butler, Caoimhin Carty, Conor O’Neill; Cormac Coyne Ryan Jones, Jarlath Branagan; Anthony McDermott, James Gartlan; Eoin Murray, Mark Gottsche, Kieran Hughes; Rory Mason, Liam Gavaghan (capt.), John Daly. Subs: Ciaran Dunne for Carthy (BC 37); Mark Jordan for Coyne (45); Martin Carroll for Gartlan (53); Killian Butler for Mason (BC 63); Adrian Moyles for Hughes (69).
CARLOW: Craig Kearney; Chris Crowley, Conor Lawlor, Kieran Nolan; Sean Murphy, Shane Redmond, Gary Kelly; Brendan Murphy, Eoghan Ruth; Alan Kelly, Darragh Foley, John Murphy; Darragh O’Brien, Paul Broderick, Daniel St. Ledger. Subs: Ciaran Moran for S Murphy (29) Danny Moran for Lawlor (29); Shane O’Neill for Ruth (h/t); Graham Power for Kelly (48); Shane Clarke for A Kelly (69). Referee: Shane Hehir (Galway).