By Larry Cooney
London hurling manager Kevin McMullan is confident his team will improve during the course of the national league, despite suffering a 12-point opening round Div 2B defeat to Kildare last Sunday.
The Exiles face another “tough challenge” when they welcome Derry to McGovern Park on Sunday, but McMullan says there’s plenty of positives to take from Newbridge.
“Because we did not have any games before today we did not really know where we were in terms of performance levels,” McMullan told the Irish World.
“I made that fact clear to the team and so the result did not mean that it was all doom and gloom.”
He added: “Kildare are a very organised tightly-knit team with many leaders and full of running and promotion contenders, but we matched well for much of the first-half.”
Two of McMullan’s fellow selectors Neil Rogers (St. Gabriel’s) and Stephen Bardon (Fr. Murphy’s) were also making their inter-county management debuts.
Rogers admitted that London were severely disadvantaged by a lack of games in the build-up.
“It was tough for the team today and we expected that but London’s improvement and finish to the game also means that there are genuine reasons to look ahead to the challenge ahead,” said Rogers.
Making his London debut was former Kerry star Jack Goulding.
His point from a sideline ‘cut’ was one of the features of the opening half. He was also unlucky when one of his ‘assists’ almost resulted in a London goal during a good spell for the visitors in the opening quarter.
“It was always going to be a tough challenge against a well organised and prepared Kildare team, but we scored 0-20 and also missed some scoring chances,” said Goulding.