LONDON manager Ciaran Deely has declared himself ‘proud’ of his side’s performance in defeat to Mayo at Ruislip last Sunday.
The Exiles suffered a 13-point Connacht Championship quarter-final defeat to the All-Ireland contenders, who are bidding for a sixth consecutive provincial title.
However, Deely was encouraged by what he seen from both his experienced players and, more importantly to him, his younger players as he looks to build for the future.
“This London team is very much at the start of their development and they’ll learn from this experience, move on and improve in time,” he said after the game.
“If you look at players like Adrian Moyles, David McGreevy, Mark Gottsche, Scott Conroy, PP O’Hara – they are experienced players, fantastic players, and they performed very well on the big day.
“We’re happy with that aspect, but also when you have lads like Ciaran Healy coming on for his debut at the age of 18 – a London-born lad whose family are from Mayo originally – and he equipped himself perfectly well against some of the top, top players in Ireland.
“We could have brought in Killian Butler or Alfie McNulty as well. So I think that would be the biggest thing to take from this, but not withstanding our more experienced players who did very well too.”
Having scored nine points to Mayo’s 2-16, Deely was slightly disappointed not to break the double-digit barrier.
He added: “In general, we’re never happy with a defeat and we would have loved to have gotten into double digits at the end with a couple of our chances, so there’s a lot to work on over the next few weeks, but there’s a platform now to push on and let’s see who we get in the qualifiers.”
While Mayo advance to take on Galway in the Connacht semi-final, London will regroup and prepare for their qualifier ahead of the draw, but Deely has already played down hopes of a win when the time comes.
“It’s very difficult for London to ever actually get over the line and get a win against these teams,” he said. “Look at Mayo and their backroom staff, they came over here with 50 people in total, we just don’t have those resources.
“At times in the last few weeks we weren’t even able to use Ruislip to train on or use the goals to practice shooting. Little things like that can disrupt you, but all you can do is focus on the game and I’m very proud of the players for the commitment that they put in.
“They’re a credit to themselves and their family and their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, Deely was impressed with the performance of his London-born midfielder Liam Gavaghan – a player he has frequently named the ‘future of London football’.
“He’s a fantastic player and can really mix it with anyone – the best of the best,” said Deely of the Tir Chonaill Gaels man. “He’s not the tallest guy, but I’ve yet to see him be out-field or out-muscled in midfield, he had a fantastic game.”