Category: Archive

Editorial Waiting on Down

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

After somewhat less than three months of training — through snow, then mud, then on the rock-hard surface of Van Cortlandt Park — the New York hurling all-stars are ready to test their mettle against some serious competition.

In what no doubt will be recalled as one of the highlights of the year in the New York Irish community, manager Kieran O’Sullivan’s team will take on Down in the first round of the Ulster Championship Sunday at 3 p.m. at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. The game will mark the first time an All-Ireland game has been contested at Gaelic Park, long the home pitch of New York City’s Gaelic Athletic Association. It will thus provide a rare opportunity for a U.S.-based audience, and particularly Irish Americans, to sample the style and quality of play offered by county hurling teams from Ireland.

That is not to say that Down’s hurlers will run away with this game. True, they will be favored, maybe even heavily so, especially after their comfortable 10-point victory over New York last year at Casement Park in Antrim. But Down has struggled in Div. 2 since then. The New Yorkers, for their part, are feeling resurgent. They are counting for a vocal home crowd to urge them on to victory and a date in the semifinals against Antrim, in Ireland, likely to be played in late June.

Indeed, a clear home-field advantage may be necessary to neutralize a notoriously fast-starting Down team whose players have also had the luxury of playing together not for months but, in some cases, for years. But O’Sullivan seems unconcerned — and perhaps his confidence will rub off on his hardworking players.

"We’re well aware of their strong points," he said. "To be honest, we’re not worried. If we play our own game, to our strength, then we’ll have no problems."

Good luck, lads.

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