New York GAA Roundup: Seamus Sweeney to manage NY All-Stars
Football wise we went across to Claregalway where we battled against the more powerful football clubs over the years. They have now graduated to senior level in Galway with Barry Cullinane, a hurler for Turlough and a footballer for the parish and Galway seniors. Danny Cummins is an up and coming superstar, with Adrian Faherty and Brian Donoghue both goalies that have represented Galway at the highest level.
On the club front the All-Ireland titles at junior and intermediate level are up for grabs this weekend, with Castlegregory (Kerry) taking on Kiltimagh (Mayo) in the junior contest and Spa (Kerry) going up against Cookstown (Tyrone) in the inter.
Some former New York stars are on display for these clubs, with Pa Murphy of Kerry and New York fame at midfield for Spa, while Michael (Stam) O’Donaghue lines out at full forward. Stam won a county title with Kerry in 2006, with Murphy and Dan Doona as teammates.
Spa had a very impressive win over Maynooth in the semifinal and will start favorites in their contest at Croke Park this Sunday.
The junior final, to paraphrase Patrick Kavanagh, is a game between the fishermen from the Maherees Peninsula and the farmers from Kiltimagh. I need to thank a certain Castlegregory man for that. A Moore than capable man with the pen.
Castlegregory has some very familiar names around its club, with Paddy O’Connor one of its biggest supporters. John Riordan, Timmy Lynch and Jimmy Maunsell will be close to the airwaves if not in Ireland watching in person as Adrian Sammy Finn leads his side out in the search for glory.
As a player who lined out against Sammy for years in Van Cortland and Gaelic Park, and watched him in numerous games in New York before he headed for home, he stood out as one who was never found wanting and was never bettered. I would rate him alongside Michael Conroy as one of the best players who never played for New York.
Finn was a brilliant wing back and is still leading from the front. He scored the first point in the All-Ireland semifinal for his side when they went on to defeat Longwood Meath to qualify for Croker this Sunday. We wish them well in their respective quests for glory.
At senior club level, former New York full back and wing back Paul O’Connor is playing at number nine for his home side Kilmurray-Ibrackane as they prepare for the semifinal clash versus Portlaoise on February 21. That game will be played in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
In their quarterfinal win his side got the better of London’s Tir Conaill Gaels, who had one Shaun Campbell at number five. Campbell was at wing back the last time New York took on Galway in the championship before he headed back to England.
Busy times then on the club front. While some players have fleeting visits to New York, and more have long and brilliant careers. we forget none, admire all, and watch closely as they continue their careers after they leave us.
Good luck to our friends in their championship battles this Sunday and in the weeks ahead.
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