Paul Coggins commits to London for another year
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Paul Coggins commits to London for another year

PAUL COGGINS will manage London for another season.

The Roscommon native told The Irish Post the deal was swayed by a commitment of progress agreed upon with the County Board.

“There is no point in hanging on, that’s not the way I do things,” said Coggins.

“This is the best city in Europe. We’ve got a pick of 32 counties and between us we can make huge progress.

“The only thing I wanted to happen was to put in place the best training and facilities we can.

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“It’s not all about finance, money does play a part but we’ve talked about all these things and they want success.

“There is a development project going on [in Ruislip] but my belief is that you have to put in a strong county set-up and to try and get better.”

The London manager said that, backed by further commitment, London can begin the 2015 league campaign in a better state of preparedness than his previous four as manager.

“I believe we can be a lot better prepared than in recent seasons; I’m hoping that a team or two will come over and play a game before Christmas and we’d give the league a huge shot. There are positives for London.”

Last season London followed the heroics of reaching the Connacht final with an uninspiring league campaign hindered by an absence of facilities that inter-county teams in Ireland typically enjoy.

But already it has been mooted that the Exiles might be in position to utilise London Irish’s new state of the art training facility in Hazelwood.

“I’m in talks about possible places. It is up to the county board,” said the manager. “We can compete with all these counties if we get our preparation right.”

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Coggins will begin his fifth campaign with a new backroom team after the departure of Kevin Downes, Tony Murphy and support staff. But he said popular kit man Phil Roche will remain.

He also said he will be watching closely the progress of North London Shamrocks and Tir Chonaill Gaels in the All-Britain and All-Ireland club championships.

A businessman and father of young children, Coggins admitted there was much to consider before he made the decision to return.

“I have a good woman that gave me the go-ahead. Anne has been a huge support. She is happy to get me out of the house!” he said.

He also revealed conversations with London senior players who have been involved throughout his tenure.

“Some players have not made up their mind but I’m hoping to have the majority of last year’s squad back. We are having a players meeting the week after next.”

Asked if the improvements would take the form of more games and whether that was the biggest barrier to London success in the future, he said: “I don’t think it’s just the games. We beat Sligo with no real games [in 2013]. It’s down to attitude, commitment and belief from the whole county of London.

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“We are not considered in the Connacht Championship and this is two years after we played in the Connacht final — but I know all the teams are well aware [of us].

“We have to get training right and for everyone to believe we can achieve things. We have got the support of London clubs.”

He added: “I’m relishing the prospect of dealing with a new backroom team. It’s a new adventure, a new challenge and new players to train.”