By Damian Dolan.
The hoodoo of 1977 was finally buried at Ruislip on Sunday as Paul Coggins’ London secured only their second-ever Connacht Senior Football Championship victory.
Victory over Fermanagh two years ago in the All Ireland qualifiers was one thing, but this was something different. When referee Padraig O’Sullivan put his whistle to mouth after three agonising and drama filled additional minutes it was the cue for wild scenes of celebration, as the Ruislip pitch was invaded from all angles.
After taking Mayo to extra-time in 2011 and being edged out by a point by Leitrim 12 months ago the Exiles can now look forward to a Connacht semi-final date with Leitrim on June 23. Sunday 25th May, 2013, truly was history in the making.
Up to 3,000 squeezed into Ruislip on a baking hot west London day, but no doubt that figure will rise over the passing years, with more and more no doubt claiming to have been there.
Those that were will be able to tell of a game filled with drama from first minute to last. Of a missed penalty, a red card, of how the crossbar was twice rattled, but ultimately of how close Sligo came to breaking London hearts.
The crossbar has been no friend of London’s, either this year or in the past. Against Roscommon in 2005 at Ruislip it denied the Exiles a famous victory, and this year both Cathal McGee (v Limerick) and Ciaran McCallion (v Leitrim) have cause to curse their luck.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World