Gaelic Park match, Mayo vs. New York

Match Report: Click Here

Though the game was one-sided, this fixture strengthens the relationship between the GAA communities in Ireland and the United States

Once a year a team from Connacht comes over to New York and beats the home team on the opening weekend of the All-Ireland Football Championship.

The game can be competitive for a spell, as it was for the first quarter yesterday, but the difference in player pool, preparation, conditioning and skill always favors the West of Ireland visitors, and they usually run out easy winners.

Such was the case on Sunday, with Mayo beating New York 2-19 to 0-10.

That aside, tell all the people that came over from Mayo if this game was a waste of time.

Tell all the cousins and brothers and sisters who came over to watch a game of Gaelic football and spend the weekend with loved ones that this is a mickey-mouse match.

So it cost 75,000 euros to cover the cost of the trip, and there is a worldwide recession going on. Boo hoo, I don’t think that the GAA is going to make a loss this year, and isn’t all the money that the organization rakes in supposed to be for development of the game?

What would you categorize this supposed charade as?

People tend to forget that this year, Mayo fans from all over America had the chance to see their top players in action on American soil, or in this case, American astroturf.

That alone is not to be snubbed at. This is not a friendly, this is a real championship match, and there were Mayo men in the team yesterday knowing that they were playing for their places in the semifinal in six weeks time.

3,000 people came to support the game yesterday, and though the Irish community in New York may not be as vibrant as it once was, it is not dead.

There were five U.S. born players on the New York Panel. No doubt there are talented Irish footballers in the New York team who must get disillusioned by getting hammered every year, but it is their efforts that will ensure that in ten years time there will be ten U.S. born players on the panel and so on.

There is too much history between the GAA and New York to scoff at the score of this game as fans wait for the “real” championship to begin. 

The GAA is an amateur organization fueled by people who love the game. There can be no doubting the affection held by the volunteers, officials, coaches, players and supporters not alone in New York, but all over the United States.

If the game is not showpiece in the GAA calendar, it is a chance for New York to showcase their pride and honor.

And they do that as well as anyone else in the All-Ireland Football Championship.