Larry Cooney was at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday to see Carlow’s second half goals deny Exiles a share of the spoils in their second match of the Allianz Football League Division 4
London are still searching for their first league points after a narrow two-point defeat by Carlow at a cold and very foggy Netwatch Cullen Park last Sunday afternoon. Despite a much improved performance following their opening round defeat by Offaly, two late points from Daniel St. Ledger and late inclusion Dara O’Brien proved the difference between the teams.
But it was the concession of two second half goals that really denied Paul Coggins’ brave charges a deserved share of the spoils. Understandably the London manager was quite crest-fallen and disappointed by the result but was nevertheless very proud of his team’s efforts and on another day they might well have shaded the outcome.
But Carlow, sporting a new kit and under new manager Turlough O’Brien, are a much more focused team this year and, following their deserved point in Belfast on the previous weekend against Antrim, were determined not to settle for anything less than a victory before their home support. And they also regarded their hard-earned victory as a ‘massive’ result which is also some indication of the respect they held for the impressive Exiles.
Carlow also lined out without long term casualty Brendan Murphy and late injury casualty Paul Broderick who was replaced by Dara O’Brien. London started Michael Walsh instead of Danny McBride in the only change to their original line-out.
Stuttering star from the hosts
Carlow began brightly playing into the pavilion end but they also appeared to be quite tentative and nervous when it came to their decision-making. But much of an error-ridden first half was also the result of some good defending by the Exiles.
Despite their monopoly of possession, the hosts took until the eighth minute to open the scoring from a Hugh Gahan point. But that score was also the result of an unlucky turnover ball from wing back Cathal Og Greene who fielded splendidly under pressure before the Carlow full foward opened the scoring.
However from a rare attack in the opening quarter London were on level terms two minutes later through a splendid finish from Lorcan Mulvey. The Cavan man was in fine form and is clearly now very much part of many opposing team’s game plans as is influential midfielder Mark Gottsche.
After a Darragh Foley pointed free edged Carlow back in front in the eleventh minute, London lost Greg Crowley with a hand injury with Brian Smith taking his place in attack. But a foul on Lorcan Mulvey in the eighteenth minute gave Scott Conroy an opportunity to equalise for the second time.
However for all their possession, Carlow still could not make any impact on the scoreboard and despite John Murphy setting up Ed Finnegan for a point in the twenty fourth minute, London were back on level terms a minute later through Alan O’Hara from a Mark Gottsche assist.
That O’Hara point was soon followed by a very impressive brace of points from Adrian Moyles with Carlow heads were now in danger of dropping as the visitors suddenly opened up a 0-5 to 0-3 lead. But a well-worked team score just before half-time and finished by Alan Kelly proved crucial and left the half-time score: London 0-5 Carlow 0-4.
After the game, London manager Paul Coggins was: “Very proud of one of London’s best performances in my time.”
Although London are still searching for their first league points last Sunday’s London display offers much promise and hope of the new season. They are still a relatively new team but are gelling well with established players like Mark Gottsche and Lorcan Mulvey and played some impressive football. “It’s a disappointing result but I’m pleased with that performance and I will not rest until we get the results we deserve but although we have a short break before the Longford game, there will be no let up in training because I know this team has potential and that will soon be reflected with positive results,” he added.
For the full report, see the February 14 Irish World.