By Damian Dolan
London boss Ciaran Deely says Leitrim have shown a ‘lack of class’ by choosing not to fulfil their outstanding Division 4 fixture with the Exiles.
Leitrim had been due to visit Ruislip on March 3 but the game was postponed prior to Leitrim travelling, as Storm Emma put paid to that weekend’s entire schedule of National League and Club Championship fixtures.
Leitrim’s decision to hand London a walkover was confirmed by Croke Park last week, with the Exiles awarded the two points.
“We wanted to play Leitrim; we tried to facilitate Leitrim massively. We said we’d play any week in April, we said St Patrick’s week, we said we’d play on the Friday of Easter. They said no to all of them,” said Deely.
“We even said we’d play on the Saturday, which didn’t suit us because we’d be missing seven players who are away, but they still refused to travel over.
“It was a little bit of a lack of class on their part for not fulfilling a league fixture.
“It’s disappointing one for us; we got the walkover and in some ways it’s good we’ve finished with five points, but we wanted the game.”
Leitrim county board chairperson Terence Boyle confirmed to the Irish World that the reason for conceding the fixture was to ‘facilitate’ a full programme of club league fixtures scheduled for the weekend of March 31-April 1, and not financial.
“Our CCC had a full round of fixtures fixed for that weekend because of us travelling to New York in early May. They brought them forward a week to get the club season up and running.
“It was going to interrupt the while season if we travelled to London that weekend. Cost never came into it.”
London now face going into their Connacht Championship clash with Sligo on May 6 without a meaningful game for six weeks.
Deely added: “Lack of games is a big problem for us, that’s why we’ve loved the league campaign. Unfortunately we’ve got six games instead of seven this year.
“Lads like Ryan Elliott and Killian Butler need loads and loads of games. They’re at the stage of their development where they need matches, pressurised matches.
“Training will prepare you to a certain extent, but it’s matches that really prepares you.”