Coggins says underdogs won’t be intimidated

Paul Coggins insists his London side are undaunted by the prospect of facing Mayo on their home patch in Sunday’s Connacht final.

The Westerners are overwhelming favourites to claim a third successive provincial title, with one bookmaker pricing them at 1/500 to lift the Nestor Cup.

However, having come agonisingly close to claiming Mayo’s scalp in his managerial debut in 2011 when London took them to extra-time, Coggins is confident his side will give a good account of themselves in MacHale Park.

“We have respect for every team we play but there is no fear in this team,” said Coggins, a native of Ballinlough in Roscommon.

“Mayo are a top team and have proven as much over the last few years. They’re a Division 1 outfit so we’ll have to be up for the battle when we head into Castlebar. It’s a huge challenge but one we’re looking forward to.

“We look to ourselves for inspiration, but obviously you take things from other teams, how they play and how they’ve improved. We’re concentrating on ourselves, though.

“There’s no point in us talking about the opposition, that’s for somebody else to do. We’ll look at Mayo in our own way, like we do for any other game.”

A hugely successful manager at club level with Tir Chonaill Gaels, Coggins quickly made his mark at inter-county level, running Mayo close in 2011 before defeating Fermanagh in the qualifiers later that summer for the Exiles’ first championship victory in 34 years. Regardless of the outcome Sunday, Coggins has inspired London to their longest and most successful championship summer. And he believes there is still more to come.

“We always had good footballers in London and came close over a number of seasons,” said Coggins.

“When I took on the job I knew there was great talent there, and if we all had the ambition and worked together, we had a chance to do something special.

“It takes a lot of work and commitment and it’s nice that we’re making progress all the time, but we’ve a lot more to make. We have to keep building upon the blocks that we’re putting in place.”

Coggins is confident captain Seamus Hannon will be fit to start on Sunday. He suffered a stinger injury to his shoulder in the replay win over Leitrim but has recovered well and returned to full training late last week.

London’s only major injury concern is midfielder Mark Gottsche, who required an operation on a foot injury sustained in the first outing against Leitrim.

“I’ll know by the end of the week,” said Gottsche. “I just have to keep going through the rehab and if everything goes well I might have a chance. It’s hard to know, it’s still fresh from the operation. We’ll have to play it by ear.”


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