New York GAA: Looking back and forward


Are you sure he is legal, yeah is your player legal? award: The executive board seemed to meet every three days to do another investigation. It went on all summer and put a dark cloud over the year's activities. Let he who hasn't sinned cast the first stone. I'll call it as I saw it, and only one team to my knowledge would hold a rock in hand. Don't worry, it wouldn't have been me. Can we get a do over, start again?: New York was never at the races against a poor Leitrim squad in the Connaught Championship this past year. Always considered the best opportunity to get a win against, the last contest five years ago went to extra time. It never happened this past year and the visitors cantered away. Mayo are on the horizon this May, and the All-Ireland champions of 1950 and 51 have already lost to a college squad in the FBD tourney. One will dream each season.

Can't wait for Sunday: The New York GAA is honoring the 1958 New York hurling squad that defeated Wexford in Croke Park, and the 1969 team that had wins over Kilkenny at halftime of the Connaught Championship encounter. Pencil it in, as the talent that will be on the field that day will be remarkable. There were probably quite a few reasons that New York was not invited into the championship in those years. The fact that they would have been one of the favorites to win it all in both football and hurling from 1952 to 1972 was high on that list. Obama fever!: John Riordan succeeded Seamus Dooley in '08, and now Larry McCarthy has the top chair. Not an easy task with development work needed to continue at Gaelic Park, numbers of players and spectators ongoing concerns. And, of course, the day to day running of the games of the Gaels, fixtures, county teams, referees, custodians, umpires and development all important tasks. Kudos to the men and women that take the positions of officers each year. While it would be brilliant to see a huge influx of new faces, just a few stepped forward at election time this past year. Shoot me a text if you need me:

If you needed a game to be caught by the scruff of the neck this past year Gary Reilly from Tyrone was your man. A storming machine. When a point was needed because trouble was around Mick Higgins from Four P's wouldn't disappoint. When a forward needed marking, Niall Corbett or Alan Foley, one on each side. To get a scream from the crowd after a score, the Bird, Kenny O Connor is the man. I'll take care of that for you!: Whether it was a penalty save or a diving stop in the face of danger, Mark Kelly from Down was in clinical form all year. Pa Ryan made some timely stops for the Gaels and Leitrim. Shane Clifford or Michael Grimes; you wouldn't go wrong with any of that four.

A pleasure to meet you this year: A real honor to meet some of the people that came through New York this year. Liam Sammon, who was over with the Galway squad, was a gentleman and more than giving with coaching tips. Tony Jordan spent a couple of weeks watching the refs in New York in the summer and was helpful with the thousands of questions we threw at him. Mickey Harte had the Sam Maguire on hand as Tyrone celebrated their conquering year. Seamus Howlin greeted all in Philly, and New York hurling star Brendan Hennessy was a huge help with stories from New York teams past. Another one in the book then. What about 2009? It would be nice to see New York back on the field in some capacity with a hurling squad. The opportunities are there, be it a North American competition or a junior championship in Ireland. The college tournaments are a tremendous help for the New York under-21s. Hopefully further participation in Ireland will be possible. Names on the stands and ends of Gaelic Park are needed, and now is as good a time as any. How about the John Mitchell Stand, the Cardinal Cushing Terrace or something on those lines? It would etch people in our history for their lifetime endeavors. So more work ahead, with championships, games, organizing and dinner dances. We're going to need a bigger boat!