By Damian Dolan
London’s hurlers are moving in the right direction and could still force their way into the Division 2B decider, despite slipping to a second defeat, says manager Kevin McMullan.
The Exiles went down 4-15 to 2-18 to Derry at McGovern Park on Sunday, having trailed by 14 points in the final quarter, only for their comeback to fall just short.
For an upbeat McMullan, London’s strong finish built on the positives from their opening weekend 12-point loss to Kildare.
London will need to beat Roscommon, Down and Warwickshire if they are to reach the final, and may also “need favours from other teams”.
“I’m quietly confident with the team – we’re building. Lads are growing in confidence,” McMullan told the Irish World.
“We’re getting there; we scored 20 points [versus Kildare] and today we scored 2-18. We’ve getting that average of 21 or 22 points, which does win you games.
“We’re falling short ever just slightly, but the more games we play…..we’re going to improve more than other teams are going to improve.”
The Exiles looked dead and buried when Derry scored their fourth goal to open up a 4-13 to 1-9 lead with 15 minutes to go.
But London then proceeded to outscore their visitors by 1-9 to 0-2 in the remainder of the game.
Kieran Morrissey’s injury-time goal and David Nolan’s free leaving the Exiles chasing a game levelling goal, before time ran out.
“The boys done brilliant to come back,” said McMullan.
“We never gave up, we kept at it and we took the right options. Maybe if we’d done that ten minutes before it would have been a different story.”
London’s lack of games and a lack of available pitches to train on continues to leave the Exiles at a disadvantage.
“Where can you go where you can shoot in a net? No shooting or intensity games – it’s that which kills us,” said McMullan.
“We’re still lacking that deadly touch – we’re taking too much out of the ball. But this is a brand new team. We’ve 14 changes from last year – lads are still getting to know each other.”
He added: “But we’ll be well up for Roscommon, and we’ll be fit for Down when they come here (McGovern Park).
“Warwickshire put up a good score against them so we’re hoping we can give them a game, and there’s no reason why we can’t.
“We’ve proved today that we can put it up to Derry no problems, and Down will not fancy their chances coming here.”