New York footballers have been quoted as 2,000-to-1 odds by the bookmakers to take the Sam Maguire Cup next year.
The exiles, who will make their championship debut in Connacht, are ranked as complete outsiders, alongside London and Waterford. Reigning All-Ireland champions Galway are favorites to retain their title at 4 to 1, with Kerry and Meath on offer at 7 to 1.
Meanwhile, dates have been set for most of the championship games in hurling and football for next year. The Mayo vs. New York game in McHale Park, Castlebar, will kick off the campaign on Connacht on Saturday, May 29, 24 hours before the game between Leitrim and Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Croke Park will host up to 20 big games as the Leinster Council have opted for most of their big games to be played at headquarters. The championship gets under way on May 9 when Carlow play Westmeath and Wexford meet Longford in Leinster football.
Cats’ Carey snubbed
Although he played in this year’s All-Ireland hurling final, Kilkenny’s D.J. Carey is not among the nominations for this year’s Eircell All-Star awards. Carey had a shot at retirement at the beginning of the year, but when he came back was not as good as in previous years.
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The hurling and football winners will be announced at a banquet in Dublin on Friday, Dec. 4. It’s expected that Declan Browne will make history as Tipperary’s first football All-Star.
Leinster for Shinty
Leinster, who beat Connacht to win the recent Railway Cup final, will now represent Ireland in the Shinty international against Scotland next year. The players will be allowed to bring their wives/girlfriends to Inverness and will also receive expenses.
This is the first serious attempt by the GAA to revive the ailing interprovincial series. It’s expected that the winners of the Railway Cup football competition in January will get a trip to the U.S.
Fallon sticks with Galway
The good news for all-Ireland champions Galway is that Jarlath Fallon is to concentrate on Gaelic football. There had been speculation that Fallon, recently named Footballer of the Year, might return to play for Galwegians in the New Year. But he has decided not to opt for the more lucrative career in Rugby Union for the present.
"I have decided to stick with Gaelic football, mainly because of how well things went for us this year," he said. "We have a young squad and I think the future is bright. However, that does not mean that we are guaranteed to be successful. Every team we meet now wants to beat us."
Dutch treat for Sligo cyclist
Eighteen-year-old Sligo cyclist Mark Scanlon, who won the World Junior Championship in Holland in October, has decided to sign for Dutch team Rabobank. Scanlon is joining the amateur wing of the team on a one-year contract. He will link up with his new team in January and then head for a training camp in Spain. He will stay with a family in Eindhoven for the entire season when he will be the only outsider. The other 18 cyclists are Dutch.
Good news, bad news
Dundalk did Cork City a big favor last week by beating St. Patrick’s Athletic, 2-0, at Oriel Park. But immediately after the game it was announced that all the Dundalk players were being put on the transfer list because of huge debts. The County Louth club are still in the relegation zone and if they lose their best players, relegation to the first division for the first time looks likely for one of the oldest clubs in the country.
Cork City is to get the country’s first fall indoor hurling stadium. The stadium will be built at the Ridge Project Centre on the north side of Cork at Fairhill. The Cork County Board, and local clubs Na Piarsaigh and St. Vincent’s have linked up with the Castleview and Temple United soccer club to form the Ridge Project Group. When completed the center will include two new GAA pitches, one soccer pitch and the upgrading of the existing four pitches and the building of two dressing room complexes. Already the Government have announced a grant of £500,000 for the project.
Hard times for Ash Guild
Meanwhile, the Irish Guild of Ash hurley makers are annoyed that GAA President Joe McDonagh, who has given his support for a new fiberglass hurley, mentioned in this column a few weeks ago. The Guild are worried that if the GAA adopt the new style hurley many families who make their living from making the traditional ash hurleys will go out of business.