In recent years, there has been much about the so-called Irish renaissance, in reference, of course, to such pursuits as art, literature, theater, film and music. But in sun-drenched Gaelic Park last Sunday afternoon, another renaissance of sorts was evident. Indeed, the glory days of the New York GAA were once again palpable as the hurlers of Limerick and Tipperary and the footballers of Leitrim and Stamford served up a display of determination and skill worthy of the most ancient of Irish games.
Adding spice to the occasion was a large and enthusiastic crowd — the kind so commonplace in decades past but so rare in recent years. In the end, of course, there had to be winners and losers, and the winners’ enclosure on this occasion belonged to Limerick and Leitrim.
The fact that these finals involved defending champions added to the excitement. Dave Sims’s scoring and the goalkeeping of Finbarr Flood were too much for Tipperary to overcome as Limerick surged to victory in the men’s senior hurling championship game. Limerick’s victory spoiled Tipperary’s bid for two straight New York senior titles.
In the football game, Stamford, according to our GAA correspondent, Mike Fitzpatrick, attacked the Leitrim goal like starving pit bulls chasing a blood-soaked butcher, but the goalposts proved to be as much an adversary to the Connecticut side as the Leitrim team, which prevailed to take its second straight senior crown. In all, the Leitrim crossbar and goalposts were struck six times by the Stamford attack.
These games were of true championship style, played, for the most part, at their very best — hard, fast, determined, with no quarters asked or given.
On the field of play, at least, the pulse of New York’s GAA still beats strong.
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