“VERY pleased overall,” was how London manager Paul Coggins summed up his feelings following Sunday’s clash with Clare at Ruislip.
“One of the biggest positives was that we finished the stronger team,” said the London boss. “People can say Clare took their foot off the pedal or made substitutions, but we made changes too. The game is 70 or 80 minutes and you keep going for that.
“They’re one of the top teams in the division. They’re a very strong outfit, but I was very happy with the improvement in our fitness and decision-making.
“We’re still disappointed with the end result – there’s no doubt – because we were at home here in Ruislip, but we’re making improvements, which is what I promised we would do. I was particularly happy that we created more chances and also that we didn’t concede a goal.
“We didn’t get off to the best of starts, even though we promised ourselves we would. Clare came out with all guns firing. But our heads stayed strong and we got back into our game-plan and we played very well in the first-half.
“We didn’t die after half-time either; we kept going so we’re very pleased overall. We can’t relax though. Our purpose is to win games and we didn’t do that.”
London have struggled for scores so far this year but they kicked 0-12 on Sunday, which was their highest tally in nine games this season.
Coggins said: “I really wanted us to get into double figures and we could probably have scored more. But we still conceded 17 points and that’s something we don’t want to do. If you do that, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle no matter how good you play.”
Coggins is still experimenting with his side in his efforts to find the right mix, but the London boss insists he’s gradually discovering his best 15.
“I think we’re getting closer every week,” he said. “We’re seeing lots of things, the guys are growing in confidence, they’re getting to know each other, but it all takes time.”
Mark Gottsche, who’s carrying a shoulder injury, was a notable absentee on Sunday and his return will boost London significantly, but the Galway native won’t be rushed back into action.
“If he needs another week or two, we’ll give him that,” said Coggins. “We’ll take no chances with any players because you’ll just lose them for a longer period of time then. He won’t be going back in there until he’s 100%. He’s a very good quality player for London but we’re in no panic.”
Sunday’s game against Kilkenny in Freshford should give London their first win of the season, but Coggins says his players won’t under-estimate the division’s whipping boys.
“We’ll be absolutely ready for the game. We’re going there to do a professional job to the best of our ability. We have no right to be doing any different than that and we’ll be on the ball for it.”
*For report/analysis of London v Clare see this week’s print edition of the Irish Post.