Four football players from Mayo were sent home from the U.S. earlier this summer after damaging an apartment they were staying in, and leaving a Boston GAA team to foot the hefty bill, according to a story in the Western People newspaper in Ireland.
The Mayo football team based in Boston spent thousands of dollars flying the four men, in their early to mid twenties, out to the U.S., and setting them up with accommodation and employment.
The four men, who play for the Ballina Stephenites team back in Mayo, caused hundreds of dollars in damage to the apartment that the Mayo team provided for them, according to the report. Walls in the apartment had holes in them and several late night parties required police intervention.
The men, evicted from the apartment, were subsequently dropped from the Mayo team and sent back to Ireland in July. The players were scheduled to return to Ireland at the end of August.
Chairman of the Mayo GAA club in Boston David O’Grady told the Western People last week that it was a “disappointing” outcome on what should have been a positive and fun experience for the young football players.
“It’s annoying that you bring lads over here, pay for their flights and accommodation and they don’t show you the same respect,” said O’Grady.
“We would have thought that these lads would have known better. They’re not fellas in their teens -- these guys would be 24, 25, 26 years of age.”
Public relations officer for the Boston Northeast GAA Nollaig Beneid told the Irish Voice that although the association was not aware of such an incident, the club “does not condone such actions if it ever did take place.”
O’Grady admitted that GAA clubs across the U.S. have had trouble in the past controlling players brought over from Ireland for the summer months.
O’Grady said this isn’t an isolated incident in Boston.
“You do hear of it happening to other clubs. Up to this point we’ve been lucky -- this is the first real incident our club has had to deal with,” he said.
“It would put you off bringing lads over, but at the same time it’s not fair to tar everyone with the same brush. Sometimes it’s better to have a spread of players from different clubs. When you get more than one or two from the same club and put them in the same apartment it can cause problems.”
Despite a few bad apples over the years, chairman of the New York GAA Larry McCarthy, told the Irish Voice that in general, and especially in his experience with his own Sligo football club, they have had no trouble from the young men that come to New York for the summer to play football.
“We certainly haven’t experienced it in the Sligo football club. Over the years we have kids come out to us that have been absolutely brilliant. We have never had any problems with them at all,” said McCarthy.
Although, said McCarthy, he is familiar with stories of misbehaving players down through the years, they are few and far between.
“I hear some clubs complain about some of the fellas, but more so in the context that they are not as dedicated to the club as fellas that are here all the time because they are only here for the summer,” said McCarthy.
“You hear the odd story but it’s not common.”
McCarthy said bringing out young footballers to play with the various teams for the summer has been a tremendous success down through the years, and the New York GAA clubs will continue to do so in the future.
“Over the years thousands of people have spent the summer in New York with the GAA and there is no need to stop that on the basis of one apartment in Boston,” he added.