Though distraught as he trudged off the sodden Ruislip turf, London captain Sean McVeigh promised that his team would use last years’ experience to progress in the qualifiers.
“There’s one thing we have and that’s strong camaraderie,” said the Antrim native, “We’ll show heart and come back stronger than ever. We got beaten in the first round of the championship last year (by Mayo) and went on to beat Fermanagh in the qualifiers and we’d be hoping to do the same this year. There’s much better to come from us.”
Describing the Exiles’ performance as “probably the worst we’ve played in our last six matches” McVeigh said the adverse elements couldn’t be used as an excuse for failure.
“The conditions were the same for both sides, they were up against it just as much as we were so we can’t blame the weather. We knew we had the chance to win it but some of our ball-handling and decision-making let us down.
“They capitalised on their chances and were clinical in the end. It wasn’t the best game to watch but I’m sure Leitrim aren’t worried about that. We wouldn’t worry about it if we got the right result.”
At the interval McVeigh said London were confident they could keep their noses in front and he held onto the belief that a first Connacht Championship win since 1977 was on the cards - “We showed a bit of spirit at the end of the first half to come back from being a few points down and snatch a goal and the next two points.
“We knew it would be be difficult against the wind in the second half and I thought we were doing well for the majority of it until they got a few points and took the momentum.”
With disappointment etched across his face, the Parnells defender said that, though it’s another painful lesson for the London players to take, they can use this agonising defeat as a positive.
“We’ll take a lot out of this game,” he stated. “We were in it until the very end and we didn’t play well at all. We could have won it if we’d had a bit of luck. Next time out we must make sure we don’t end up walking off the pitch with regrets. We’ll pick ourselves up and look forward to the qualifiers knowing we can do much better.”