LONDON hurling manager Eamonn Phelan has called on supporters to get behind his team at Ruislip this weekend, as they aim to book a Croke Park date with Wicklow in the Christy Ring Cup final a week on Saturday.
Having played out an exciting draw after extra-time in Newry last weekend, Phelan’s side take on Down in a semi-final replay on home soil on Saturday (1.30pm).
London have been criticised throughout the campaign, particularly for their second-half displays, but Phelan believes the criticism is unjustified. The Kilkenny native says it’s time the GAA community in London got behind the hurlers.
Phelan said: “People have been making a big deal about London’s second-half performances, but those people haven’t actually been at the games to see. It’s not as big a deal as people have made it out to be.
“There’s an awful lot being written and said about it, yet there’s nobody actually there watching it. I’d be hoping that people will start being a bit more positive towards the London hurlers to drive the lads on instead of always looking at the negatives.
“We’ve been written off the whole time but the players and management aren’t just in this to make up the numbers. People were surprised we beat Derry and drew with Down, but we weren’t. I’d be hoping we’ll get a bit more support at Ruislip on Saturday instead of having people looking for us to fail.
“We’ve produced performances all year so if we do that again this weekend, hopefully people will start supporting us instead of knocking us.
“There’s a small hurling community in London but a lot of people who come out to the games are nearly looking for us to be failing rather than doing well. It’d be nice to go out there on Saturday and have a bit of genuine support there for once.”
Phelan also confirmed that he should have a clean bill of health for Saturday’s game, with Martin Finn expected to shake off a hamstring strain.
“Martin’s hamstring was tight the last day but he should be fine. I’m pretty hopeful that everyone will be okay.”
*See this week’s print edition of the Irish Post for the match report and reaction to London and Down’s thrilling drawn game.