London mayor hails 'mightily impressive victory'




'Go London!' - that was the message from Mayor of London Boris Johnson as he reacted to the news of yesterday's historic Connacht SFC semi-final victory over Leitrim.

London staved off a second half comeback from Leitrim to reach their first ever senior provincial final, the 2-11 to 1-13 replay win sending Paul Coggins' men through to the July 21 decider against Mayo.

A #GetBorisToCastlebar hashtag was trending on Twitter last night as GAA fans willed the London Mayor to make the trip west in support of the Exiles.

Leitrim County Councillors actually invited the enigmatic politician to the drawn semi-final against the Exiles last Sunday week but he declined and will be unable to attend the Connacht final in Castlebar.

In a statement issued to RTÉ earlier today, Johnson said: "Huge congratulations to the London team as they continue on with their historic march towards this year's Connacht Senior Football Championship Final.

"Regardless of the result against Mayo, London can be proud of their mightily impressive achievements this year

"They travel to Castlebar on their momentous quest for victory with best wishes from me and all London fans. Go London!"

London's defeat of Leitrim owed much to the winning platform they built during a wind-assisted first half at Dr. Hyde Park.

Eoin O'Neill and Lorcan Mulvey were particularly impressive in attack as Coggins' side took a 2-10 to 0-2 lead into the second period, with Greg Crowley and Ciaran McCallion both finding the net.

Leitrim lost Darren Sweeney and talismanic captain Emlyn Mulligan to injury, but they chipped away at London's lead and James Glancy's 61st-minute goal cut the gap to five points.

The deficit was down to the minimum when Glancy missed a final scoring chance wide in injury-time, leaving London to celebrate a gritty success as they added a second big scalp after knocking Sligo out of the running in May.

"It has taken us three years to build this team but it goes back much longer than that and for us to get to a Connacht final is a reward for all the people who put the work in down through the years in London. I'm sure it means the world to all those people," admitted manager Coggins afterwards.

"It is all about lads working hard. We put everything into it and it was a tremendous first half by us. We couldn't have asked for any more in the first half but we needed every bit of it.

"Leitrim are a top team. We have now beaten two top teams in Connacht, two counties with a great history and tradition."

Can they make it three and overcome defending champions Mayo in three weeks' time?

The final pairing is quite a mismatch give Mayo's current standing as Connacht title holders and All-Ireland runners-up last year.

But Mayo were given an almighty scare when the sides clashed in a Connacht quarter-final in Ruislip two years ago, with the visitors needing extra-time to secure a hard-earned 0-19 to 2-10 triumph.

Coggins is remaining optimistic about London's chances of causing another upset, insisting: "You can do anything, but we will enjoy the celebrations (of this result) first.

"Mayo are a fabulous team, let's not go anywhere regards that. But we will work hard for the next few weeks, we are a good team and we will go into the final and do our best and let's see what happens."

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