By Mike Fitzpatrick
Members of the Gárda Síochána from Ireland arrived at Gaelic Park on Sunday, not to implement a little Irish law and order, but to contest a challenge match versus the cream of the crop of young Irish American footballers from the New York area.
In dreadful weather conditions, the Gárdaí fought a well-contested battle, coming from behind to almost clinch a win, only to be denied in the final seconds by a well taken free kick from New Yorker Danny O’ Sullivan.
The game opened with the Gary Allen-Donie O’Sullivan managed New York selection moving into a lead courtesy of some good midfield work from Kieran Treanor, who had a hand in setting up Denis Kiley and John Daly for the home side’s first points.
The Irish Americans had the upper hand most of the way through the first half, despite the heavy physical presence of the Gárdaí.
Gárda Frank O’Sullivan got his side off the mark with a fine point, and his colleague up front, Joe Heany, added to the scoreline with two efforts to move his side back into the tie.
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Kenny Cox of New York hit two efforts over the bar, and added to Daly’s second point, gave the New Yorkers a lead. This was furthered thanks to another from Danny O’Sullivan, and the home team were in front going into the break.
Introducing the towering presence of Derek DeLoughrey, the Gárdá attack was given a huge boost, and within minutes of coming on, DeLoughrey followed up O’Sullivan’s first point of the second half with a point, and then shocked the home side by slamming in a goal to give the Gárdaí a lead which they were to hold until the last minute.
Kiley, Daly and Tommy Fennell edged forward to attempt to grab scores past the Gárdá defense, but were thwarted by Tom Dee, Paddy Ivess and Roger O’Donoghue.
Eventually, the New York attacking onslaught paid dividends when a free kick punted by the impressive Danny O’Sullivan gave his side an equalizer in the final couple of seconds.
All Stars: Joe Madden, John Walsh, Damian Meehan, Barry Annet, Enda Lally, Sean Nolan, Mike Joe Hennessy, Kieran Treanor, Aidan Treanor, Gary McDermott, Danny O’Sullivan (0-2), Kenny Cox (0-2), Denis Kiley (1-1), Pat Donaghue, john Daly (0-3). Subs: Tommy Fennell, Mike Sheridan (0-1).
Gardai: Joe Fitzgerald, Tom Dee, Paddy Ivess, Roger O’Donoghue, Pat Nagle, Pádraig Clarke, Jimmy Smidee, Brendan Ruane, Mike Harhen, Ronan McDonagh, Frank O’Sullivan (0-4), Brian O’Donnell, Joe Heany (0-2), Michael Shaughnessy, Seamus O’Neill (0-1). Subs: Denis Swift, Derek DeLoughrey (1- 1), John McCabe, Senan O’Sullivan, Frank O’Sullivan (0-1)