UNDER the shrewd guidance of Paul Coggins London's brief has been to gain respect. That has certainly been achieved, but leaving Ruislip on Sunday London were reflecting on what might have been following this Connacht Senior Football Championship quarter-final.
Ultimately seven points separated the teams at the end of a strange game in which London competed diligently, but the Exiles just weren't sufficiently clinical. Fifteen wides were registered by London, who manufactured chances throughout the match. The main problem, though, was that London didn't take enough of them and their shot selection in attack was awry.
At the opposite end Roscommon were that bit more efficient especially in the first half when punishing London turnovers. Enda Smith was the chief beneficiary of London's generosity initially, but despite leaking a few preventable scores there was a commendable defiance to how the home defence performed.
Even in the closing stages Brian Collins, Philip Butler, and David McGreevy, who typified London's commitment were still seeking to influence the contest. That was an encouraging sign of how feisty and physical London were, but Roscommon had a lead which they never looked like relinquishing.
Craving a positive start Roscommon reeled off three early points on the spin courtesy of Donie Shine, Cathal Shine, and the excellent Smith. That gave Roscommon the initiative and while London did enjoy a few productive opening period bursts the favourites always responded.
An Adrian Moyles free and a splendid Alan O'Hara effort trimmed the deficit, but once again Roscommon stitched a decent sequence of five scores together. Indeed that spell also included a controversial black card for London's Cathal Og Greene, who had been working tirelessly.
Twenty two minutes had elapsed when Greene's involvement was finished by referee Eddie Kinsella and it was a decision which irked the London sideline.
While Green's energy and enthusiasm were missed London did continue to battle with Lorcan Mulvey carrying a threat. When the interval eventually rolled around Roscommon were 0-11 to 0-5 ahead and London required a goal after the restart.
Unfortunately it was Roscommon who got one in the 38th minute as Ciaran Murtagh thumped a fine right footed shot low and true into the corner of the London net. Suddenly London were under serious duress, but with Mulvey thumping a string of long range frees over the Exiles stayed competitive.
For all of London's drive and desire there was never much hint of a shock occurring as Roscommon's advantage remained fairly healthy. Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley was well protected by a pacy Roscommon defence, who closed out the deal with the minimum of fuss.
Mulvey was causing Roscommon problems, though, and his strength kept them honest, but London's forward unit couldn't offer worthwhile support to assist their talisman. Opportunities were fashioned, but London didn't take them to truly worry Roscommon in the closing stages which was a pity.
Coggins will rightly reflect on a hearty display which confirmed the significant progress London have made during the past decade. Roscommon will operate in Division One of the Allianz Football League next year; John Evans has turned them into a competent team capable of operating at the highest level. So there was no shame in this defeat, even if a few regrets will linger in London minds until the All Ireland football qualifiers commence.
Scorers for Roscommon: C Murtagh 1-2, E Smith 0-4, C Shine 0-2, D Murtagh 0-2 (1f), D Shine 0-2 (2fs) U Harney 0-1, I Kilbride 0-1.
Scorers for London: L Mulvey 0-8 (5fs), A O'Hara 0-1, A Moyles 0-1 (f).
Roscommon: D O'Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; D Ward, N Daly, C Cafferkey; I Kilbride, C Shine; E Smith, D Shine, C Murtagh; D Murtagh, S Kilbride , C Cregg . Subs: R Stack for Ward (40), C Connolly for S Kilbride (48), U Harney for E Smith (48), D Smith for D Murtagh (52), T Featherston for Carty (55), R Daly for C Murtagh (60).
London: D Traynor; B Collins, P Butler, D McGreevy; D McCarthy, C Carty, S Curran; M Gottsche, M Carroll; S Conroy, C Og Greene, J Moran; A O'Hara, L Mulvey, A Moyles . Subs: P O'Shea for Greene (BC, 22), P McGoldrick for Moyles (44), M Walsh for Moran (46), A Carr for Carroll (54), S Devine for McCarthy (55), S Buckley for Conroy (69).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).