By Pierce O’Reilly
New York Gov. George Pataki confirmed on Sunday that state funding to the sum of $50,000 is being made available to the Irish community for the development of its native games in New York.
Pataki told the packed stadium at Gaelic Park before Sunday’s showdown between the New York hurlers and Down that New York Sen. Guy J. Velella was instrumental in getting the funding for the Gaelic Athletic Association.
"I’m delighted that the future of Gaelic Park and the GAA is much brighter today than it was in the past," Pataki said. "I guarantee you that Gaelic games will always be played here."
The governor thanked Velella for his efforts in trying to get Gaelic Park designated a historical site and said he was honored to have been asked to officiate at the first championship game ever to be played at Gaelic Park.
At the Mother’s Day event, Pataki mentioned his County Louth grandmother and the importance and role all mothers play in the development of cultural activities.
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"We’re at present drawing up a development plan for the future," GAA public relations officers John Moore said. "The money will be used to embellish the association further and to promote our underage structures."
Moore confirmed that the association would work harder to strengthen links with all the clubs in the different leagues.
"Under the stewardship of [president] Monty Moloney, the message is very positive and with courageous performances like the one the hurlers gave on Sunday the future is very bright," Moore said.
While the New York hurlers failed in their effort on the field last Sunday, the New York GAA came out ahead nonetheless. The association saved itself approximately $20,000 in traveling expenses that it would have incurred if the hurlers had beaten Down. The Ulster semifinal clash, which is set for July 1, would have taken place at home at Casement Park in Antrim. Gate receipts from Sunday’s game are also expected to exceed $40,000.
Speaking after the game John Moore said that the association has no problem with sending the hurlers home and that the money saved on airfares and travelling expenses would be spent elsewhere.
"We’ve saved a few dollars alright, but it was never an issue," Moore said. " The New York board gave its 100 percent support and commitment to both county teams and if that involved playing in the All-Ireland final, we were willing to follow through on it."