DESPITE being ravaged by injuries London manager Paul Coggins remains hopeful that the Exiles can test Roscommon in Sunday’s Connacht Senior Football clash at the Emerald GAA Grounds.
Speaking to The Irish Post Coggins said: “We do have a few injuries and our squad is not that big so that is having an impact on us. At this stage Tony Gaughan and Greg Crowley are rated as extremely doubtful and we are hoping that Stephen Curran and Mickey Walsh will be okay.
“Then we also have long term casualties like Conor Sheridan and Philip Galvin ruled out so we’ve been hit fairly hard. It is something we’ve got to deal with.
“The lads have trained hard all winter long so those who come in will be in good conditions. We’ve added players to the panel too – guys were impressing for their clubs and we know that they could do a job for us too.”
Last week London played challenge games against Tir Chonaill Gaels and St Kiernan’s and Coggins was satisfied with how the Exiles performed.
“The games we had were great practice for us,” Coggins admitted. “Obviously it is difficult for us in that we cannot get games against inter county opposition. We are very thankful to both clubs and we were happy with how the games went.”
Coggins is encouraged by the manner in which his panel have prepared throughout the spring and summer so far. “We are really looking forward to it - this match is always a big occasion for everybody involved especially the Exiles in London.
“As a management team and panel our focus is very much on the game we have. We played two challenge matches recently, everything has been good. The lads have been putting in a serious amount of work over the past number of months. There should be a great atmosphere at Ruislip.”
Coggins wants London to start smartly, but insists all of his players must perform to the ‘highest level they possibly can’ if a shock is to occur.
“The Championship has really begun now. Big matches are taking place every weekend from now until the end of the summer.
“You have to play for the full 70 plus minutes. You have to keep it going all of that time. You have to take it minute by minute because there is no point starting off great in the first 10 minutes and then doing nothing for the rest of the match. We will be ready for this challenge.
“If you look back at the last few years in league and championship we generally have done quite well during the first half of games. Of course it is something we want to do again, but we know that it will only really count if we keep it going for the whole match.
“Roscommon are a very good side, who will be looking to do their own thing too. We still know that if every one of our guys plays to the highest level they possibly can we have a chance. Each individual must focus on their own performance and at this stage we feel as if we are in good shape.”
Roscommon native Coggins, now so synonymous with the London cause, is urging the GAA community to back the Exiles. “It is a real honour to lead London every time we take to the field,” a typically determined Coggins commented. “This is a particularly great group of lads. It is a great privilege to manage London and of course there is an edge to it when Roscommon are visiting.
“I will know a lot of people travelling over from my own club in Roscommon, Michael Glaveys. I will meet them after the game, but we know how important this fixture is. With it being the last Connacht Championship match at Ruislip it will be special and we always have a great support in this match.
“We need everyone to get behind us. I’m urging all the Gaels in London to support us, these guys deserve it. I’m asking them to support us and I can guarantee that we will give them everything we have.”