Despite the loss of London’s footballers and hurlers at the weekend, there were plenty of positives to take out of the performances.
Fergus McMahon’s hurlers retained their Div 2A status, while Ciaran Deely’s footballers ended their game against Leitrim on a high, as they finished the tie by scoring six unanswered points. The hurlers flew to an 11-point lead by half-time against Kildare and despite missing out on a win, the close tie meant they survived ahead of Armagh, who lost heavily to Carlow, on points difference.
“Through the match we weren’t thinking ‘how is Armagh getting on?’ All we wanted to do was to get our own two points on the table, but luckily enough the other result went our way so we still have 2A hurling next year,” said McMahon. “We didn’t pay attention to the score at all, not even at half-time, as we wanted to concentrate on our own game. It was only at the final whistle that we checked it on the sideline.”
And after a series of disappointing results in the league the manager was encouraged by the improved performance.
“They started very well. Before the game we said we needed to be more aggressive in the tackle and on the ball. And, by the way they went out the players definitely bought into what we were saying. “But the thing about playing on the front foot is it uses a lot of energy. Playing in a high-tempo game, the tiredness started to show as the second-half wore on, so our fitness levels came into it.”
And his squad have four weekends before they open their championship campaign, with a trip to Wicklow in the opening round of the Christy Ring cup on April 22nd. “We have four weeks to prepare, so we’ve a lot of time to work on fitness. We were disappointed with the result against Kildare as we felt we had a strong team and preparations had gone well all week.
“Despite being up at half-time, it’s never enough in hurling. A couple of goals can come quickly and a game can turn in the blink of an eye. Kildare are strong and had the wind in the second-half. We knew they’d come back at us.
“We are focussing on Wicklow next. There’s no easy games in the Christy Ring.
“They are playing Meath in the league final this weekend, so a few of us in management will look at that to see how they are going. They’ve had good results in the league and put out some good scores so it will be a tough start.”
Meanwhile, in the penultimate round of the football league, Ciaran Deely’s men faced Leitrim. Before the game the game was billed as a curtain-raiser for the opening Connacht championship tie at the end of May, when Ruislip gets its official opening.
The cautious encounter was lacking in intensity from both sides, who seemed to play their cards close to their chest, but some fine play from London forwards Liam Gavaghan and Killian Butler will ensure that the men in green and gold have food for thought ahead of their trip to the Emerald Grounds on May 28th.