Irish sports heroes are helping rebuild shattered Rockaways
NBC News, NY Times covering as athletes fly out from Ireland
Duff is one of seven former high profile county footballers and hurlers, part of the 20-man party, who are working at various locations in Breezy Point. The reaction to their contribution has been outstanding.
Local and national media have descended on Breezy and while that is not unique given the hardship endured by this community in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the story of the visiting group of players - on Super Bowl weekend - has certainly grasped the imagination.
For us in the Gaelic Players Association, it doesn't seem unusual. Players are role models in their communities, continually helping with charitable causes. We know how charitable the Irish nation is - we help when help is needed. This is a perfect fit.
What is wonderfully novel about the GPA Breezy work visit, however, is that the players have taken a lead; quickly followed by Aer Lingus - whose support has been critical to the trip - and the Irish government which, through visiting representative Minister Brian Hayes, is to make a significant announcement Sunday regarding support for the reconstruction of Breezy's sports facilities.
The GPA visit to Breezy Point is a practical statement of support based on genuine concern and a recognition of a shared heritage. Brian McGuigan, Lar Corbett (without his lotto bounty), Ollie Canning, Kieran Duff, Shay Keogh, Pat Gilroy and Donal Og Cusack have all performed in front of 60,000 spectators. But they are part of their communities at home and this weekend, in Breezy Point they are part of the wider Irish Diaspora too.
For many in New York it seems novel. For GAA players, however, giving back is not unique. This is what they do. Cusack himself has lead three charity rebuilding projects in Zambia and has not drawn breath since he donned the overalls in Breezy Point on Friday morning.
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