By Damian Dolan
One of only two counties yet to concede a goal in the National Football League, London goalkeeper Gavin McEvoy has paid tribute to the defence in front of him for not allowing the Exiles’ net to be breached after 210 minutes of football.
Division 3 leaders Longford are the only other side who can rival the Exiles’ record after three rounds – especially not five-in-a-row chasing Dublin.
“We did a lot of work over the winter on out defensive shape and it seems to be working, and that’s a positive. Hopefully it will continue,” McEvoy told the Irish World.
“Every player knows their position; they know where they need to be when the ball is moved through the defence, or when we’re in a defensive shape. Every player knows their role, and everybody else’s.”
McEvoy was between the London posts when Wexford were humbled two weeks ago – the Tir Chonaill Gaels shot-stopper producing a stunning diving fingertip save in the first half to prevent a certain Wexford goal.
He also donned the gloves in the defeat to Limerick, while Kingdom Kerry Gaels’ Dan McDonagh was in goal against Derry.
“We’ve done what we’ve had to do when called upon, but thankfully we haven’t had much to do,” said McEvoy, who says it was London manager Ciaran Deely who’s got the team defending from the front.
The idea being to make it as difficult as possible for the opposition to “build a platform” from which to attack.
“The lads up front work hard and if they slow the ball down by a couple of seconds that gives us more time at the back to organise,” he said.
The Exiles and McEvoy will hope to keep that run going when they travel to Antrim on Sunday – a side still searching for their first win after one-point defeats to Leitrim and Derry, and a four-point loss to Wexford. McEvoy is taking nothing for granted.
“They’re a good team; we’ve never had an easy game against Antrim and they’ve always been close affairs,” he said.
“They’re well organised and structured. They never seem to beat anyone by many scores, but they get over the line. This year they’ve just fallen on the wrong side of that line.
“The loss to Wexford probably put them back a bit – I don’t think they would have necessarily have expected to have lost that game – which obviously puts us in the firing line for a reaction from them. We need to be ready for that.”
London warmed up for this weekend’s clash with Antrim with a run out against Tir Chonaill Gaels at McGovern Park last Saturday. Nearly all of the TCG players on the London panel lined out for their club side.
Perhaps most significantly, the Irish World understands that Fearghal McMahon got a run out and could be in line to return to the London starting line up, after pulling a hamstring against Limerick in Round 1.
“We had the full panel on the pitch – every single player was involved – so it was a good exercise,” added McEvoy.