By Damian Dolan
London’s All Ireland SFC First Round qualifier with Louth at McGovern Park on Sunday is a chance for redemption, says Exiles captain Liam Gavaghan.
While the Wee County arrive in Ruislip winless in 2018, Gavaghan and his London teammates are keen to “prove a point” after their chastening ten-point loss to Sligo.
“We were very disappointed with our performance against Sligo, so this is redemption,” Gavaghan told the Irish World.
“We really want to put in a performance to show that London does have a good team. There’s definitely a point to prove.
“We all want to redeem ourselves. We pride ourselves as good footballers, but good footballers have to turn up on the day and on Sunday every single one of us is going to have to turn up.
“Hopefully it clicks and we put in a performance worthy of this team.”
London had high hopes going into their Connacht Championship quarter-final with the Yeats men, but they were unable to reproduce their league form and it was all just a little bit too comfortable for Cathal Corey’s Sligo in the end.
“The league campaign was a solid one and we were competitive in every game, but we were off the pace against Sligo,” added Gavaghan, who is still searching for a first championship win as captain.
The Tir Chonaill Gaels forward has led the Exiles to league victories over Carlow in 2017 and Wicklow this year. He’s now desperate to lead his native county to championship success.
“Championship is the be all and end all. Even though we’ve had some wins in the league in the last few years, and put in some good performances in the league this year, our season is going to be defined by getting a championship win,” said Gavaghan.
“A victory over Louth would turn our year into a good season. It’s a really big game.”
Having made his championship debut for London in 2011, coming off the bench during extra-time as James Horan’s Mayo avoided what would have been one of GAA’s great-ever upsets, Gavaghan was part of the London panel which beat Fermanagh in a first round qualifier.
The win gave the Exiles a first championship victory since 1977.
If they are to repeat that success, the Exiles will need to learn the lessons of Sligo and rediscover the form they showed in the league.
— the Irish World (@theirishworld) May 6, 2018
Gavaghan is anticipating a “good battle” and is reading nothing into the Wee county’s form this year.
He said: “They got relegated from Division 2, but you’ve top teams in there like Cork, Roscommon and Cavan. They’ve played against high level teams and that’s only going to stand to them.
“They’re going to be a quality outfit. There’s no doubt we’re going to be up against it, and we’re going to be underdogs. But it’s another challenge.”