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Misfiring London face tough test in Derry

EAMONN PHELAN says that if his side can put in a 70-minute performance they are a match for any team in the Christy Ring Cup.

London hurlers travel to Derry for Saturday’s 2pm showdown in Celtic Park in the next round of the competition, but they were somewhat fortunate not to have been eliminated last weekend against Mayo.

“It feels like a loss but it’s good to get the victory,” said Phelan after last Saturday’s game at Ruislip. “It showed the lads’ character … Two goals down after two minutes … To come back and be seven points up at half time was a good turnaround. It shows the lads are well able to do the business when their minds are right.”

Asked about London’s collapse in the second half, for the second week running, Phelan said: “Today we tried to close up shop. Last week [against Meath] we had an 11-point lead at half-time, we could have maybe drove on but we were hoping we were going to win it and looking at further down the road, so it was a case of ‘next week’. It might have cost us there and then but at the same time we learnt a bit.

“Today mistakes cost us. Tommy [Williams], that’s probably the first one he’s dropped all year. Soft scores left them back into it.”

The manger is also frustrated with the amount of frees given up. “It’s our Achilles heel,” he said. “Last week about 3-5 came off frees so we don’t seem to concede a lot other than from frees.”

Stop conceding frees and play for the duration of the game is the blueprint for success says Phelan.

“Last week against Meath in the first half there was no team would have lived with us in the competition. If we played like we did in the first half here, after we recovered … Meath in the first half … Mayo here in the League … Roscommon for 70 minutes. If that teams turns up we’ll be a force for anyone.”

Phelan added: “A few lads are starting to get a bit of game time. Roy Darcy got a bit today. James Egan has added a scoring threat.

“We haven’t had ideal preparations with the weather. We were trying to train on Thursday night and we were just running around the park in Greenford, no posts or anything.

“But, look, we’re happy to be in the hat … just about anyway. I wouldn’t have liked to have seen it going to extra time.”

*Full match report and analysis of London v Mayo in this week’s Irish Post.

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