London calling: We’re a serious team — Coggins

Leitrim 0-13 London 2-07

London calling: We’re a serious team — Coggins

Leitrim looked like becoming the second Connacht side to fall to London in this year’s provincial championship when substitute Sean Kelly rattled the net 11 minutes from time. But Leitrim worked their way level with two points in the last two minutes to set up a replay Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon next Sunday (3.40pm).

“We are a serious team, I have always said that. All we want to do is play football to the best of our ability, knock down the walls, keep going,” said Coggins.

“Leitrim know what we are like, Sligo know what we are like and more importantly we know what we are like,” said the Roscommon native.

“They gave it everything they had, we could not have done any more than we did. We took our chances well, I felt, we never gave in.”

The largely Leitrim populated crowd of 7,698 left relieved to be still in the Connacht championship, but they would have sealed a spot in the final against Mayo had full-back Ciaran Egan slotted a 45 with the last kick of the game.

However, the confusion leading up to the kick that saw Kevin Conlon – who wanted to take it – substituted, can’t have helped him either.

But Leitrim co-manager Barney Breen was not too pleased with his side’s performance, despite the courage they showed late on to seal a replay.

“Today’s performance wasn’t good enough over the 70 minutes, we were good in patches. London played very well but we felt they scored the goals against the run of play.

“We worked very hard, we showed great character and resilience to pull out a draw in the end.”

Despite Breen’s insistence that Leitrim didn’t play to their ability, a lot of that had to do with London’s game plan being executed to perfection.

The physicality of the Exiles around the middle was notable, with Ciaran McCallion at centre-forward and Mark Gottsche looking particularly impressive.

Gottsche was forced off before the half-hour mark with a groin injury, but his departure came after Leitrim’s star man Emlyn Mulligan limped off with a calf injury in the 15th minute.

Mulligan’s last action was to kick a simple free to level the game at 0-3 each, but the injury he carried into the game caught up with him, and he must surely be a doubt to start next week.

Perversely, losing Mulligan seemed to galvanise Leitrim.

Shortly afterwards, Brendan Brennan and McGowan both pointed for the home side, directly from possession gathered off London kickouts, to give them a 0-6 to 0-4 lead, but when Mulvey bundled the ball over the line after a Cathal McCrann error, crucially London took a 1-4 to 0-6 lead at the break.

Leitrim started the second-half the sharper, scoring four of the first five points, but when substitute Sean Kelly goaled from an acute angle six minutes after his introduction and added a sublime point four minutes later, the shock looked on.

“They were two very soft goals from our point of view, especially the second one... it was just opportunist,” said Breen.

And like his opposite number Breen is just happy to get another chance. “It’s a short turnaround but it’s the same for both of us.But I’d rather be playing next weekend than be out of the championship.”

Scorers for Leitrim: K Conlon (0-3, 2f), P McGowan, D Sweeney, B Brennan (0-2 each), P Brennan, J Glancy, R Lowe, E Mulligan (f) (0-1 each).

Scorers for London: S Kelly, L Mulvey (1-1 each), S Hannon, M Gottsche (f), C Magee, P McGoldrick (f), D Traynor (45) (0-1 each).

LEITRIM: C McCrann; A Wynne, C Egan, G Reynolds; D Beck, E Williams, B Prior; D Sweeney, B Brennan; P McGowan, E Mulligan, P Brennan; R Lowe, J Glancy, K Conlon.

Subs for Leitrim: C Reynolds for Mulligan (15), A Croal for Reynolds (55), S McWeeney for Beck (67), R Cox for Conlon (72).

LONDON: D Traynor; D McGreevy, S Curran, P Butler; T Gaughan, S Mulligan, S Hannon; M Gottsche, C Doyle; B Mitchell, C McCallion, G Crowley; C Magee, P McGoldrick, L Mulvey.

Subs for London: P Geraghty for Gottsche (29, inj), D Dunleavy for Mitchell (38), E O’Neill for McGoldrick (53), S Kelly for Doyle (53), D O’Neill for McCallion (69).

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).

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