LONDON CAUSED A Connacht SFC semi-final shock as they blitzed Leitrim in the opening period to book a place in next month’s provincial decider against Mayo.
Paul Coggins’ team were primed for a battle at Dr Hyde Park and they led at the interval by a staggering 14 points.
But they were fortunate to survive a spirited Leitrim comeback as Barney Breen and George Dugdale’s side nearly claimed a draw.
Initially Leitrim couldn’t cope with London’s industry and direct approach and though they were competitive after the restart sufficient damage had already been inflicted.
Leitrim talisman Emlyn Mulligan also hobbled off injured early on as a determined London outfit used the breeze expertly.
Mulligan gave Leitrim an early advantage with a free, but London then hit an amazing 2-10 without reply to seize control.
Wing back Tony Gaughan ventured upfield to nail two sweet points, while Lorcan Mulvey was sharp from play and frees too.
London were 0-7 to 0-1 ahead in the 25th minute when Greg Crowley netted a delightful goal for Paul Coggins’ side.
Then Cathal Magee flared to prominence for the underdogs drilling over two neat points as London tormented Leitrim.
On the stroke of half-time Ciaran McCallion confidently drilled a second London goal as Leitrim’s defence was torn apart once more.
Robbie Lowe ended a 33 minute search for a Leitrim score, but London still went in at the break armed with a staggering 2-10 to 0-2 cushion.
In the third quarter Leitrim improved with Kevin Conlon’s dead ball precision and Lowe’s enterprise trimming the deficit to 2-11 to 0-8.
During that spell London only managed one score from a Mulvey free, but Leitrim were completely aware that goals were needed.
And Leitrim got one with 10 minutes remaining when James Glancy supplied the final touch to inject hope into their revival mission.
Conlon knocked over two frees and Paul Brennan landed a beauty from distance to leave only two in it with five minutes left.
Another Conlon free left the minimum in it, but London held on as Leitrim missed several chances in the closing minutes.
Scorers for London: Lorcan Mulvey 0-5 (4fs), Ciaran McCallion 1-1, Greg Crowley 1-0, Cathal Magee 0-2, Tony Gaughan 0-2, Eoin O’Neill 0-1.
Scorers for Leitrim: Kevin Conlon 0-8 (6fs, 145), James Glancy 1-0, Robbie Lowe 0-3, Paul Brennan 0-1, Emlyn Mulligan 0-1 (f).
LONDON: Declan Traynor; Philip Butler, Stephen Curran, David McGreevy; Seamus Hannon, Shane Mulligan, Tony Gaughan; Paul Geraghty, Caolan Doyle; Greg Crowley, Damien Dunleavy, Ciaran McCallion; Eoin O’Neill, Lorcan Mulvey, Cathal Magee. Subs: Eamon McConville for Hannon (36 mins), Sean Kelly for McCallion (43 mins), Colin Daly for Geraghty (45-55 mins), Barry Mitchell for Dunleavy (54 mins), Colin Daly for Doyle (57 mins).
LEITRIM: Cathal McCrann; Gary Reynolds, Ciaran Egan, Fabian McMorrow; Danny Beck, Paul Brennan, Barry Prior; Darren Sweeney, Brendan Brennan; Kevin Conlon, Robbie Lowe, Enda Williams; Paddy McGowan, James Glancy, Emlyn Mulligan. Subs: Colm Clarke for Sweeney (13 mins), Brian McDonald for Mulligan (17 mins), Sean McWeeney for Egan (36 mins), Ray Cox for McDonald (51 mins).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).
First updated at 16.27