By Mike Fitzpatrick
The New York GAA last week decided that it would play in this year’s All Ireland Football Championships despite its recent drubbing by a visiting Donegal team at Gaelic Park.
Facing the daunting prospect of a tie versus Galway in the first round of the All-Ireland Connaught Championship in five weeks, the New York panel will continue training in
preparation for the long journey home.
A meeting held last Thursday night in the Lansdowne Bar in the Bronx resulted in a virtually unanimous decision by New York officials for the team to go ahead as planned to contest the Connaught Championships. GAA President Monty Moloney informed the assembled crowd that he’d been getting calls from virtually every newspaper and radio station in Ireland concerning New York’s participation in the contest.
The calls, he said, were the result following the team’s disastrous 3-22 to 2-9 result against Donegal on April 23. Moloney wanted a decision concerning whether the team should still go ahead to be made that night.
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"In the long term, we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot" by pulling out Moloney said, citing that if that were to happen, there was no way to know when and if New York would be invited back to play.
An understandably frustrated Frank Brady, manager of the New York team, spoke to the crowd. Brady, who Moloney said "should be knighted," for persevering as a number of players have left the panel since it was selected.
Brady noted that within a week of picking his squad of 25 in January, 12 dropped out, with more following.
"There’s been no consistency in the panel", he said, stating that last year in the lead up to the Connaught game versus Mayo, players were continually calling him asking to be considered for selection.
Brady said this year he’s had to plead with players to join, and has been in touch with 63 prospects. He also said he’s received "minimal support from clubs" in New York.
"The team needs a new motor, and a lot of new players," Brady said. "The general feeling among the players currently involved is that they all want to [compete in the championships]."
Brady went on to describe his current situation as "The Loneliness of the New York Manager." The New York panel of last year is virtually gone. Such names as Stephen Cassidy, Kevin Lilly, Brian McCabe, Pat Mahoney, Neville Dunne, Sean Teague, Emmet Haughian, Mickey Slowey and Pat Mahoney, among others, have all dropped out for various reasons, such as returning home, retirement from football, or injury.