By James McMahon
Leitrim v London, Hyde Park, 3.40pm
It’s another trip across the Irish Sea for Paul Coggins’ Exiles as they square up to Leitrim again after the sides played out a draw in their provincial last-four decider.
When the full-time whistle was blown in Carrick-on-Shannon last Sunday, many assumed, and not surprisingly so that the replay would be fixed for Ruislip.
However, Connacht Council rules dictate that London can only have one home game in the western campaign and so the Hyde was picked as the venue to sort out who will meet Mayo on 21 July.
After last weekend’s encounter, Leitrim will feel that they had enough chances to close out the game in the second half, while London will ponder over their inability to seal the deal when two points up late on.
Looking ahead to today's game, will Hyde Park have any bearing on the outcome? Probably not, though Leitrim again will have the greater support.
Aside from their facile win over New York, the side, co-managed by Barney Breen and George Dugdale, last played a competitive game prior to last weekend on 7 April. You would expect them to benefit from the 70 plus minutes in the drawn tie.
London got goals at vital times the last day that gave them a crucial advantage. However, the need to keep the scoreboard ticking over on a more regular basis is paramount if they are to stand any chance of booking a date with James Horan’s men in three weeks’ time.
Similar to the match against Sligo, they visibly tired as the minutes ticked down in Carrick.
No doubt, coach Coggins will call on his troops to keep going on what is forecast to be a sticky, humid afternoon in Roscommon town.
Mark Gottsche picked up a groin injury in the drawn fixture and fears abound about his fitness even though he has been named in the Exiles side at midfield.
Leitrim are waiting on Emlyn Mulligan to prove his fitness after he was forced off last weekend with a calf injury.
Pat Spillane was most complimentary on The Sunday Game about the standard of football served up by both sides in Carrick. Those present would welcome something similar in the replay, though progression is ultimately what it’s all about.
Leitrim look best placed to secure their first appearance in a Connacht decider since 2000.
Leitrim: Team to follow.....
London: D Traynor; P Butler, S Curran, D Mc Greevy; S Hannon, S Mulligan, T Gaughan; M Gottsche, C Doyle; G Crowley, C Mc Callion B Mitchell; P McGoldrick, L Mulvey, C Magee
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:00 on Sunday 30 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Expert and fan reaction on Take Your Point from 18:00 on Sunday 30 June on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).