The transfer window became a long, drawn-out affair this year in New York with the number of players moving at a recent high.
Fifty-nine players moved to what they hope are greener pastures, with one, Paddy Kelly (Leitrim to Kerry) still sitting in limbo five weeks later.
The transfer system in New York is far too convoluted for everyone’s well-being. It went from a situation where a player either sent in an official letter or walked in the door and pronounced his intentions.
The reasons are far and ranging. His friend or acquaintance may be with the other club, or he may be returning to his native county as was Kelly’s case. He might be moving for work related reasons, and the old-fashioned transfer deal may also be in play. He may be getting compensated for his services.
Regardless, it was over and done that evening, or at least by the following week. For it to be a five-week process to get a player sorted in his future is far too long.
That said, it took four weeks for the GAA to release the names – again, a time lapse that makes the head shake.
Now that we have a list, it talks a little reading to digest. Common sense prevailed in the hurling circles. Long Island Gaels and Ulster are both new sides, with the former coming in at senior level while the province will battle in the junior division.
Players were allowed to transfer to these sides, which in essence breaks one of the transfer rules (you can only transfer to your home county). Ulster received quality players in Brian McNaughton, Peter Hatzer and Matt Cashman, while LIG received Danny Masterson and Ray Murray.
It made sense, however, as it allows two new sides to bolster the hurling divisions and give more games to the teams already in existence.
The amount of players that will be in town this season promises to be large. Keeping the legality of both divisions above board will be key, but certainly very achievable. It promises to be very interesting as both Offaly and the Bronx Warriors defend their titles.
Moving on to the football side of the equation, the most notable players to move ship included Paddy Kelly, Dan Doona, Bingo Driscoll, Mickey Coleman and James Moynagh, who returns to his Armagh native colors after annexing a title with Donegal.
Doona moves to his third team in New York after winning a title with Kerry in his second season, and three in a row with Leitrim. He did play in the rebel colors before when he was in Boston, and now crosses over to the old enemy to line out for Liam Hanley. A player of the year in the Big Apple, when on song as Galway were in the Connaught Championship, he is unstoppable.
Leitrim lost seven players; however, just three were regular starters. They did manage to get Aiden Power back to the fold after a couple of years in the Tyrone colors for Rabbit, while Eoghan Carew is a tremendous pick up for the club from Cavan.
Tyrone was hit exceptionally hard, losing eight players, and five of them were regulars for the Red Hand. Mickey Coleman, Jason Killeen, the hugely underrated Seamus Skeffington, Power and Conor Skeffington all moved on, with the Celtics the big winners with three of those lads headed there. Add Kevin McGeeney to the mix for Celtic and they now look like the early candidate for championship honors in the intermediate group.
Cavan had further bad news when Paul Lambe left for Monaghan and Paddy Tomo Smith joined the Orchard County. Dublin was another side that took a blow to the chin, with Andy Grey, Adam Keaney, Declan Reilly and Eoin Loughnane all moving on. The initial two head for LIG, where they will meet fellow arrival Rory O’Connor to bolster the Island side.
In the junior circuit Westmeath continued their building project and now have one of the largest panels in New York, with six players arriving to the Midlands.
The following is a complete list of the transfers:
Michael McSweeney (Celtics) to Rangers; Thomas O’Brien (Cavan) to Kerry; Danny Masterson (Tipperary) to Long Island Gaels; Paul Kelly (Kerry) to Sligo; Eoghan Kyne (Cavan) to St. Raymond’s; Padraig Kyne (Cavan) to St. Raymond’s.
Eoghan McParland (Monaghan) to Armagh; Mark Dobbins (Leitrim) to Cavan; Mike Maher (Tipperary) to Bronx Warriors; Brian O’Connor (Donegal) to Leitrim; Liam Hanley (Rangers) to Cork; Brian McNaughton (Offaly) to Ulster; Emmett Killeen (Leitrim) to Offaly; Mike Creegan (Leitrim) to Longford; Seamus Skeffington (Tyrone) to Westmeath; Donal Hearty (Armagh) to Monaghan; Donal Hartnett (Leitrim) to Kerry; Declan Reilly (Dublin) to Mayo; Dan Doona (Leitrim) to Cork; Mattie Cashman (FDNY) to Offaly; Thomas Nolan (Leitrim) to Longford.
Andrew Gray (Dublin) to LI Gaels; Adam Keaney (Dublin) to LI Gaels; David Dunican (Westmeath) to LI Gaels; Eoghan McCurry (Bronx Warriors) to Ulster; Pauric McCaul (Cavan) to Brooklyn Shamrocks; Mattie Cashman (Offaly) to Ulster; Cathal Hatzer (Dublin) to Cork; Robert O’Neill (Monaghan) to Longford; Gary Nugent (Bronx Warriors) to Ulster; Peter Hatzer (Bronx Warriors) to Ulster; Eugene O’Hagan (Monaghan) to Longford.
Kevin McGeeney (Armagh) to Celtics; Michael Travers (Roscommon) to St. Barnabas; Damien Dooley (Roscommon) to St. Barnabas; Sean Donnelly (Kildare) to Westmeath; Tommy Moran (Kildare) to Westmeath; Ray Murray (Tipperary) to LI Gaels; Eoin Loughnane (Dublin) to Celtics; Eoghan Carew (Cavan) to Leitrim; Aidan Power (Tyrone) to Leitrim; Rory O’Connor (Roscommon) to LI Gaels; Sean Manley (Kildare) to Sligo; Niall McMahon (Donegal) to Westmeath.
Henry Mitchell (Leitrim) to Roscommon; Eugene O’Driscoll (Kerry) to Armagh; Robert Lowery (Galway) to Bronx Warriors; Barry Rafferty (Tyrone) to Westmeath; Jason Killeen (Tyrone) to Offaly; Ciaran Quealey (Tyrone) to Rockland; Paddy Smith (Cavan) to Armagh; Conor Skeffington (Tyrone) to Celtics; Darren Walsh (Kerry) to Mayo; Mickey Coleman (Tyrone) to Celtics.
Paddy Kelly (Leitrim) to Kerry; James Moynagh (Donegal) to Armagh; Fearghal Mulvanny (Monaghan) to Offaly; Eugene Kyne (Cavan) to St. Raymond’s; Conor O’Reilly (Tyrone) to Mayo; Liam Butler (St. Raymond’s) to Westmeath; Sean Kinahan (Kildare) to Sligo.
Meanwhile, the Paddy Kelly saga rolls on. I have been told by New York officers that he put in a request to transfer, but followed this days later with a withdrawal of the request.
The rulebook states that a suspended player cannot transfer while serving his sentence. Kelly was sent off in the senior semifinal last year and received a three game suspension.
However, it is also in the rulebook that a suspended player can ask for lenience and get his sentence appealed to time served. That has occurred numerous times – indeed, in Van Cortland Park some years back a player was told of his problem and then wrote a letter on the side of the pitch. The chair at the time then allowed him to play.
It appears that both clubs have a right to the player from an official standpoint. Looking at both sides, the easiest way out in this case may be to have Kelly come back to the GAA meeting and state his direction for the floor and close the issue. But then again, it’s rarely that easy in the Big Apple.