Paddy McGowan might have only this year cemented a starting place on the County Senior team but speaking with all the experience of a veteran, the Dromahair man insists that Leitrim will treat London with the utmost respect.
“We’re expecting a ferocious battle in London, there is no doubt about that,” Paddy told the Observer, “They’re going to be fit, they’re going to be well organised, it is a tight pitch out there and they’re going to use that to their advantage.
“They’ve been running teams close the last few years in the championship so we’re expecting nothing different. There is going to be that bit more expectation for London, that they’re going to have to put up a good show, pick up a few wins.
“Maybe that pressure could work against them but I think it is going to encourage them, they’re going to be hungry and well up for it. They’ve moved their club championship and of course, emigration is going to be an advantage, they’re going to have a bigger pick but that is the way things are going.
“We have that underdogs tag every game we’re in and we’re going to show them the same respect as any other team we come up against.”
Despite all the pressure, the Dromahair man is really enjoying this time of the year as preparations move into high gear for the championship - “I suppose every year in the championship, it brings out the best in your training.
“Once the League finished, it brought out a new lease of life in everyone, start training for the championship and get stuck into it. Everyone is in championship mode, everyone is looking after themselves and if you weren’t looking forward to it, you wouldn’t be involved.”
His own journey from squad player to sub to starter has taken some time but Paddy puts down his emergence this year to a new attitude - “The way everything has gone over the last few years with work and everything, you just don’t know if you are going to be around. You have to play it year by year, you just don’t know where you’re going to be in a year’s time.
“I just said that this year I going to have make some inroads in it. It has been going fairly well for me, I’ve been starting in the majority of games, I’ve been playing a bit of a part, so I’m happy out. Most of all, I’m just enjoying the football, enjoying the county more than other years.”
Paddy also down-plays his versitility and scoring returns in recent matches, highlighting instead the team structure which allows players to get the best out of themselves - “I’d regard myself as a versatile enough player. Last year under Mickey, I played in every line of the field at different stages. It is nothing new to me but I definitely prefer to be out around the middle, in the mix.
“I don’t score too many goals, I got a goal against Wicklow and I have been scoring freely enough with the club and the county. A lot of it is down to the lads you’re playing with.
“The way we’re set up now in the forwards now with Leitrim and the organisation, it is so easy if you want to put yourself about and do a bit of running and get yourself into positions, it is easy to play with any of the lads.”
As for Sunday’s match, Paddy paints a confident picture, not just of Ruislip, but further ahead -
“We’re going to be fairly confident, if we play to our full potential, we can be up with any of them here in Connacht. At the moment, the aim is just to get a really good performance out of everyone.”