The All-Ireland Championship kicks into gear this weekend when London welcome Galway to McGovern Park, Ruislip, for the quarter-final of the Connacht Senior Football Championship.
It’s a tough ask for London taking on last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists with former player, Owen Mulligan, admitting as much.
However, the Tyrone legend was adamant in his assessment that there is no difference between the set-up in London and that of his native county.
“There’s no difference between that and the Tyrone camp. They’re all good, genuine lads. They all want to win,” said the Paddy Power GAA Ambassador.
“If you want to be there and you want to try your best for your county or your club or whatever it is – that’s what you have to do, your best.”
While Mulligan described the London set-up and manager Ciaran Deely as “class” and “unbelievable”, he still believes they are lacking in areas compared to the more developed county sides.
“The London set-up was class, Ciaran Deely was unbelievable to me and he’s still a good manager.
“Listen, Galway is a massive, massive ask for them. It always is, you look at New York and London – on the day, I know my year, we were right in the game up until the last 25 minutes and they pulled away.
“Maybe it was a bit of fitness, a bit of cuteness that we wouldn’t have had. We had seven London-based players, they’re exceptional lads and they want to learn but Galway is a different animal coming to town.”
Whereas in years gone by the squad would have been made up primarily of expats, it is becoming increasingly clear that many English-born footballers are featuring for the Exiles and Mulligan highlighted Tír Chonaill Gaels as a great example of why more London-born players are thriving on the inter-county stage.
According to Mulligan, it is up to these native players to drive on the London cause because they are the men who will still be there season after season.
“Tír Chonaill Gaels have the best underage structure – under 12s, 14s and 16s – like we have over here and that’s what you have to have if you want to succeed. They have a great youth structure which other clubs should be following if you want to bring up those London based players.
“Because if you look at lads like myself – I’m there a year, I’m not there any other year and that’s why the London lads have to drive it on.
“They’re good fellas, it might be hard for them to adapt but the most of them are great lads. I couldn’t say a bad word about them, they gave me their time and I tried to help them along with my experiences.”
Whilst the appetite is there in London, the facilities are not, but according to Mulligan that isn’t enough to turn away those lads who want to succeed and represent the GAA culture in the English capital.
“The facilities wouldn’t be that great in London.
“The pitches wouldn’t be great but it’s 15 or 20 lads who want to represent the GAA culture over there. When they want to be there, it’s a great place to be.”