THE London footballers’ hopes for 2012 have suffered a blow. Manager Paul Coggins confirmed that last year’s full-back Mike Moloney has returned to Ireland.
Moloney, who captained Kerry during last year’s McGrath Cup, played a starring role in London’s historic championship win against Fermanagh last June and was also a key member of the Kingdom Kerry Gaels panel that won the SFL Division One title.
London will have to plan without the 24-year-old for the duration of their Allianz Football League Division Four campaign but Coggins says there’s a possibility the Dr Crokes player could return to the fold for the championship, which begins against Leitrim at Ruislip on June 3.
“Mike has said that he might be back in London around the end of April, beginning of May so he’ll be ruled out of the National League campaign but we hope he’ll be part of the London squad again,” said the London boss.
Coggins expressed his satisfaction at last weekend’s FBD League games against Sligo IT and Sligo, despite seeing his side beaten on both occasions. The Exiles suffered a 1-10 to 1-4 defeat to the students in Ballinode on Saturday night and lost by 1-17 to 0-9 to Sligo at Kent Park on Sunday.
Last weekend’s games marked London’s first ever involvement in the Connacht tournament, affording Coggins’ players the opportunity to gain previously unavailable match practice this early in the season.
Several new faces with senior inter-county experience debuted, including the likes of Lorcan Mulvey (Cavan), Chris Colhoun (Tyrone) and Peter Atkinson (Wexford).
Coggins told The Irish Post: “We’re not really interested in the results in these games. We’re looking at the new players to see how they gel with the other players and getting the best possible performance out of them at this stage of the season.
“We were extremely happy about last weekend and we’re feeling very positive going forward as a result. We’ll improve from this.”
London face the daunting prospect of playing another two games in under 24 hours this weekend. They face NUIG in Ballyforan on Saturday (6.30pm) and Galway on Sunday (1pm) in Ballinasloe.
*For full coverage of Sligo v London and IT Sligo v London see this week’s print edition of the Irish Post