London left torn by emotions on day of contrasts while Leitrim rue the concession of two soft goals
Both sides will have to regroup for the replay in Roscommon
Leitrim’s Ciarán Egan misses a late 45 to win his side’s Connacht SFC semi-final against London. Photograph: James Crombie/ Inpho
On a day like this, it’s reasonable to ask the London manager to toss a coin for his emotions. Paul Coggins had just watched his team come within a couple of minutes of a Connacht final after all. To congratulate or to commiserate – that is the question. Was he overjoyed at having competed for so long? Or was he annoyed at having thrown it away?
“Oh, well I’m not annoyed at all,” he said. “The game is over for the time being. I am not annoyed in any shape or form. That performance there, the lads couldn’t have given any more. The lads that came on got into the game, helped to change the game which is what I suppose they are there to do. I am very very happy with the performance.”
Coggins has been fighting the good fight in London for a quarter of a century now. He’s had everything put his way – disrespect, pity, pats on the head. Would this now mean that teams would take them seriously?
“I hope they’re not going to take us too seriously,” he laughed. “We’re okay if they take us the way we are. We just work hard, we do the best we can over there, we train like any other county team. We’ve just got to make sure we bring that to the field and we did today.
“We’ve got to make sure we get ourselves composed and ready for action next week. We fly back tomorrow, we’ll get things right in the dressing room tonight, we’ll talk to the lads and we’ll be ready for the same thing next week.”
Barney Breen was no less sanguine standing at the other end of the pitch. Having lost his best player after 15 minutes and given away two soft goals, he was happy just get another day out of it.
“Listen, it was a tough game, we were expecting a tough game. I felt some of our fellas got special attention and I don’t feel they got enough protection from the referee. We felt we didn’t play well. It was 10 minutes before we got into it and we played well then.
“We were just starting to build up some momentum when they got the first goal, against the run of play I thought. But in fairness to London they had themselves in a position where they weren’t out of the game and the two goals got them back in.”