Paul Coggins: London need more competitive games in order to progress

Paul Coggins: London need more competitive games in order to progress

LONDON need more competitive games if they are to realise their potential as a county team.

Speaking in the days that followed the Exiles 1-16 to 1-13 defeat to Limerick – a performance Paul Coggins rated as the best during his time in charge – the London manager said that the county needs regular meaningful contests if progress is to be maintained.

“We have to do what other counties are doing if we are going to compete,” he said.

“It’s something we have to decide upon with the budget that we have to work with. We want games and we want them to be competitive.”

Coggins, who said it was too early to determine whether he would stay on as county manager, suggested the proposed redevelopment of Ruislip may provide that opportunity, if completed.

“It has been [suggested] that teams would come over when Ruislip is developed and that would be something worth looking at. Even the FBD league, maybe bring over a couple of teams one weekend and we’d travel back another weekend.”

A lack of pre-season games and the absence of an all-weather floodlit pitch hindered London’s preparation this season, and the manager said a 3G pitch with lights would be high on his wish list, should he remain.

He also expressed his disappointment over the sentiment that London have not progressed since reaching the Connacht final last summer, but he pointed to a bright future.

“I was disappointed to read in the Irish Independent that London haven’t moved on,” he said. “But we done better in the league than last year and but for a couple of kicks of the ball we would have had six more points.

“We lost 11 players last year – you know, let Dublin, Mayo or Donegal lose 11 players and see how they cope. On top of that, there were injuries.

“It was a season of consolidation when you consider all the logistics that go with it.

“In an ideal world, we would improve in the league again. We’d being hoping to bring through more young players from minor. We identified three from last year and brought them through, they’re part of the squad and you’d hope to do the same again. The ambition is there with the players and the management.

“I took great heart in how they responded from the Galway match. A lot of weaker players would not have responded, but that didn’t just come together from Sunday. It came from very hard work over the year.”