London just lack the fire-power to overturn the odds against Leitrim in Hyde Park replay
With both sides struggling to field their best players, the Exiles could well come up short
London will be praying GPA player of the month for May Mark Gottsche has recovered from his foot injury for the Connacht SFC semi-final replay against Leitrim at Hyde Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
When the drawn game was finished last Sunday, we tried vainly to get someone from the London set-up to complain about not being allowed to bring Leitrim to Ruislip for the replay. But take it they’re not happy. The question now is whether they can funnel their pique into a performance good enough to beat Leitrim.
For all that Leitrim were the better side at various stages in the drawn game, at no point were the favourites more than two points ahead.
London don’t have the consistent long-range point-scoring ability of other teams but they do have a certain stickability that keeps them in the game.
Plus, they score goals. Only Kerry, Cork, Mayo and Leitrim have scored more than them in this year’s championship so far – and Leitrim got theirs in New York. As long as London are within touching distance, Leitrim will not feel safe tomorrow, especially with as dangerous a forward as Seán Kelly to come off the bench.
If midfielder Mark Gottsche has recovered enough from the foot injury that forced him into an early exit last week, London have a real chance.
You could say the same for Leitrim when it comes to star forward Emlyn Mulligan.
One way or the other, London will play four games this summer. Assuming a tighter day’s work at the back to keep out soft goals, Leitrim have it in them to make sure that fourth game is a qualifier rather than a Connacht final.