London 2-11, Leitrim 1-13
By Damian Dolan.
While it’s hard to imagine a time when London football jerseys rival those of Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal, or even London Irish for that matter, in number on London’s streets, Paul Coggins and his charges have united the city’s GAA community behind them, and long may their fairytale adventure continue.
In scenes reminiscent of Carrick-on-Shannon the previous week, London’s players were mobbed at the final whistle at Dr Hyde Park, only this time their growing army followers really did have something to celebrate – a first-ever Connacht SFC final appearance for the Exiles. History, quite literally, in the making.
While officially this small corner of Roscommon amounted to neutral territory, in reality it was anything but as the travelling London support among the 5,217 crowd did their utmost to make it a home from home for Paul Coggins’ Exiles, with the manager’s Roscommon links enough to also ensure any inquisitive locals were fully camped in the London corner.
But oh how the Exiles put them all through an emotional rollercoaster. London never do anything easy, but they took that to new extremes on Sunday, as their 14-point half-time lead was whittled down to just one. But that proved to be enough, if only just.
Never before has a London team contested a Connacht SFC final, but all records are made to be broken, and Dr Hyde Park will forever more hold a place in London GAA folklore.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World