London hurlers are still able to progress to the Division 2A final in a fortnight’s time, but a shock result elsewhere in the table means that they need to rely on other scores to get them there.
Prior to their threepoint win over Derry at the weekend, it looked likely that their concluding match against Antrim on Sunday would be a winner-take-all battle.
However, Antrim lost at home to Carlow at the weekend, meaning that they can no longer finish second in the table.
Westmeath, who are unbeaten so far, have booked their final place as they are unreachable as they sit atop the table with eight points.
Carlow’s win leaves them on six points, with Westmeath left to play, while London have five points. They will need to beat Antrim on Sunday and hope that Westmeath beat Carlow in order to advance.
“We couldn’t believe the scoreline, it was some result for Carlow up in Antrim,” says manager Fergus McMahon.
“I haven’t studied the game, but Antrim lost two players and I think at this time of year when you’ve two men sent off it takes a lot out of the players because the ground is so heavy. London lost their opening match to Westmeath, before going on to beat Carlow 5-16 to 1-11.
“We’re hoping to face Westmeath again. I think that first game came a bit too early for us, they had been playing matches and we weren’t long training. It was annoying to lose points there, so we’re hoping that we can face them again.
“But if Carlow win, that will put us out of it. It’s a shame that we dropped a point against Kildare.”
Although Westmeath sit comfortably at the top of the table, McMahon believes they won’t rest on their laurels as it would be a psychological blow to face a team in a final just a week after being beaten by them.
“I can’t see Westmeath sitting back or playing games. I’m sure they’ll want to go through the league unbeaten so they’ll be going all out against Carlow.
“It would be nice to face Westmeath again. Every game we can get against teams of that calibre is a help going in to the Christy Ring cup.”
McMahon has made no secret of his quest for a good run in the Christy Ring competition this year, but treats his side’s standing in the league at the moment as a bonus.
“We set some goals at the start of the season, and one of them was to do as best we could in the league, but as we’ve gone on perhaps the goalposts have moved a little bit. If results go well for us then of course we will push to get promoted.”