Paul Goggins left speechless as Mayo admit need for improvement
London’s journey not done yet as they prepare for qualifier against Cavan
London manager Paul Coggins (left) congratulates Mayo counterpart James Horan after yesterday’s Connacht final in Castlebar. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Paul Coggins has hardly opened his mouth before the physical and emotional drain of London’s journey to a first Connacht football final becomes perfectly clear.
That’s because the London manager starts talking and quickly realises his voice is completely shot – not just after what unfolded here in MacHale Park. “Sure it’s the last two or three days and all the build-up,” he says, huskily.
“But I am proud of the lads for what they did and how they kept going the whole game, because it was a big step up, playing a team like Mayo. Like we said all along they are a Division One team with plenty of match practise.”
Coggins is then reminded that London’s journey is not done yet, with the qualifier against Cavan to come, most likely to be played in Navan, next Saturday evening: he’s asked if they can rise to that challenge and he slowly clears his voice again.
“That’s up to the lads, but I don’t think it will be that difficult because we have come a long way, and we have got another match under our belts before another game next week. We’ll take a lot of positives out of today. We competed very well against Mayo for a lot of the game so we will talk about that and we will head back to training next week.
“Mayo played well but we should have put a little bit more pressure on them at times but they are a good team. They worked their goals well and they are a good defensive team. But we played football. We didn’t set out with 13 or 14 men behind the ball, like maybe people would say we should have. We went with our game plan. That’s it. We are proud of them and we will learn from them.”
One of the first questions Mayo manager James Horan is asked is whether or not Connacht football is better or worse off by the fact that London were in the final, and what it suggests about the quality of football in the province in general.
“Well ask the Tyrone boys (who were given a good fright by Roscommon) or the Armagh boys (who lost out to Galway),” he says. “Because I’d give a biased opinion.”
Mayo defender Colm Boyle does admit however that considerable improvement on this performance will be required the next day, no matter who that is: “We probably played poorly enough at times. I suppose a bit of credit for that has to go to London.
“We had a lot of wides and probably delayed the shot too long and a few shots that weren’t on that we had a go at and it’s all part of the learning.
“I suppose there is some unfinished business now. But we are in the last eight and we are looking forward to it. We have a lot of work to do in two weeks and a lot of stuff to improve on. The gap between games can be tough but it’s a help there is only two weeks between games, when in other years it has been three or four. So it’s only two this time to work on a few things to get ready for it.”