While the winter recess passed for the New York GAA, some boardroom matters were taken care of, not least of which was the appointment of a new manager for the New York footballers.
Ian Galvin from Waterville, Co. Kerry is the man in charge taking over from Connie Molloy of Donegal who served his two-year contract.
Looking back at Molloy’s term, it must be said that he was hurt tremendously by the lack of games, including the withdrawal from the FBD contest by Leitrim and Mayo.
Both counties were held accountable by the Connaught Council, but at the end of the day that was of no help to New York as they needed the games.
All of the players in New York did not come on board for the Molloy years which left his panel inexperienced and youthful. He did give a tremendous chance to the home-born and grown players, with a number playing in the Connaught Championship encounters.
Galvin comes on board after winning the New York senior football title with his native Kerry. He had the side in the county final for two years, with the 13 squad dominating Leitrim in the final to take home the championship.
In his time at the helm his sides were supremely fit and tactically aware, both facets that will be critical on the bigger stage with Mayo facing New York in May for the Connaught Championship.
“Mayo were probably the team of the year last season and were very close to an All-Ireland title. They will be a very stiff challenge for New York as we are well aware,” the new manager told the Irish Voice.
There was a calm tone in Galvin’s voice, and the challenge ahead seems to be one that he relishes.
“We have had two meetings with all the players so far and also had a fitness test as part of it. They have been weight training for the last few weeks with locations in the Bronx and Queens,” he continued.
Outside training was set to begin in Gaelic Park on Tuesday depending on availability of the field due to the nasty weather.
The selectors that Galvin has chosen all have experience in New York as players and mentors with their various clubs, with two former New York county players. He is joined by Mayo native and former New York captain Robbie Moran (he was also full forward for Kerry last season), former New York keeper Alan Hearty from Armagh, Westmeath manager and native Mike Stones as selector, with Paddy Curtis from Meath the trainer.
Curtis is a recent arrival to the Big Apple. He was trainer of Donegal last season when they pushed Kerry to extra time in the semifinal. He was also involved with the victorious Cavan ladies.
As both Moran and Hearty are still playing at the highest level in New York, they will bring a certain expectation from all the players on the panel. They have been there and done that with varied success, and players will be asked for the same and more.
“We have 42 players invited in and the weight training went very well,” said Galvin.
Players who have transferred to New York recently such as Brian O’Connor, Brendan Quigley and Keith Quinn are a huge addition to the panel when added to Mike Fitzgerald, Paddy Kelly, Eoghan Carew and Lonan Maguire. Games to try out the players are the big issue.
“We are working on some ideas for challenges for the side. They have been a problem in the past. We are hopeful of having games against Boston as well as others,” Galvin said.
With the league starting in February it will be difficult to get a county side, but a club side would be a perfect choice and chance for two valuable challenges.
It has been stated here and in other venues that a club side needs to be approached and enticed to New York for a week. If the All-Ireland club champions or runners-ups were approached, that would be a side of the caliber of Castlebar Mitchels, Ballinderry or Corofin.
New York could play them on Thursday and Saturday with the touring party staying from the Wednesday to Sunday. It would give the locals valuable insight to what they have or haven’t.
Galvin will have his hands full without a doubt, but the groundwork that he has done thus far is a huge step in the right direction. His squad and backroom staff now needs the support of the board and the tri-state GAA fans to perhaps emulate London of last season with their success story.