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Editorial Roscommon runs

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

So what’s Roscommon afraid of? Could it be that the county’s GAA leaders are worried about the possibility of losing to a New York team? Why else would they choose not to travel to the Big Apple for the scheduled May 19 Connacht Senior Football Championship game?

Roscommon officials have said no to making the trip. The Connacht Council had put the ball squarely in their hands and on Monday they dropped it.

They had many reasons, spoken and unspoken, for their decision — and each one of them is weak.

Several students on the team, they said, would be taking exams. So New York’s GAA president, Monty Maloney, said, in effect, let’s work around them and reschedule the fixture.

New York’s pitch is dangerous, Roscommon said. Maloney replied, Gaelic Park will be resod.

New York will use illegal players, they muttered privately. But not a single New York player has been suspended by Croke Park since Maloney took over as New York president three years ago.

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If cost was a concern, New York blew that one out of the water by offering to eat the $30,000 tab for bringing the Roscommon team for a few days in dull and dreary New York City.

Roscommon officials may worry about New York playing fair, but they themselves are the ones who have demonstrated a lack of fairness. New York traveled to Ireland in each of the last two years to compete in the championship. Each time the local lads paid their own way. They didn’t win, but they played hard and they played well and they showed Croke Park that they were serious. Now, with an opportunity to showcase their talents to the home crowd in championship competition, a move that would undoubtedly boost the profile of the game here significantly, especially among the younger players, they are denied.

No Irish team wants to be the first to lose to a New York team since the locals reentered the competition. Sure, it would be embarrassing. But sports is about competing, and about putting your best foot forward, and risking everything and overcoming odds.

It’s not clear how this controversy will play itself out, but one thing is obvious: the gallant men from Roscommon harbor no illusions about their chances of winning an All-Ireland title. They don’t have the stuff of champions.

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