By Damian Dolan
Tir Chonaill Gaels captain and match-winner Liam Gavaghan wants to turn Ruislip into a “fortress” for their Connacht Club semi-final on 10 November, as the Gaels prepare to give the competition a “rattle”.
Gavaghan kicked an injury-time winning free to give the Gaels a 1-11 to 1-10 victory over Fulham Irish in Sunday’s London senior championship final at McGovern Park.
The Gaels can now busy preparing themselves for a Connacht semi-final against either the champions of Sligo (Coolera/Strandhill) or Roscommon (Padraig Pearses).
They play their Connacht quarter-final on 3 November.
Twelve months ago, Tir Chonaill Gaels put it up to Roscommon champions Clann n a nGael
in Connacht at Dr Hyde Park, before going down by just five points.
“We’re in Ruislip and whoever we get, hopefully we can turn it into a fortress,” Gavaghan told the Irish World.
“Hopefully all of the London Gaels get behind us, and we can get a good crowd and we can give it a good run.
“Whether it’s the Roscommon or Sligo champions they’re going to be very good, and it’s going to be a very tough game. But hopefully we can do ourselves justice.”
For Gavaghan, last Sunday was his fifth senior title with the Gaels – ten years after he won his first as a 17-year-old.
His winning point came moments after he opted to fist over the bar, when one-on-one with Fulham ‘keeper Andrew Walsh, only for Liam Staunton to level the scores up.
Gavaghan admits he “probably should have buried the goal”.
“I thought that might have haunted me, so when that free came I knew there was a slight wind behind it,” he said.
“The referee said there was 20 seconds on the clock and I backed myself. I wanted to make up for not taking that goal.
“I just went through my routine, made sure I got a good connection and thank God it sailed over the bar.”
Gavaghan paid tribute to the “hunger” and “desire” of manager Paul Coggins, and to his teammates.
“This group of lads is probably the hardest working team I’ve been involved in – TCG or London. Lads have stepped up to the plate who last year weren’t starting,” he added.