By Harry Keaney
Seamus Dooley is the GAA’s man of the millennium in New York.
Dooley’s contribution to the GAA since his arrival in the Big Apple in 1972 will be recognized on Feb. 12, in the Astoria Manor, in Queens, when he will be the guest of honor at the sporting organization’s millennium banquet.
"When I was approached about it first, when I was told about it, I balked for a while," Dooley said. "I think it’s a wonderful honor and I would like to thank the president, Monty Moloney, and his board of officers, for choosing me."
Dooley, who lives in Riverdale, was born in Teelin, Co. Donegal, but moved to Killanny, Co. Monaghan, with his family when he was 2 years old. He was one of 11 children, six boys and five girls.
Dooley began playing football with Killanny at the under-14 level. However, Killanny had no under 16 or minor level, and so he began playing with Inniskeen, with which he won U-16 and minor championship medals.
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He then continued playing with Killanny, winning a junior championship medal in 1970.
On his arrival in New York, Dooley played for Monaghan until his retirement in 1979.
He then became involved in administration, holding every office in the club.
His efforts have not just been confined to club level; for five years he was vice president of the New York GAA under four presidents. He also held the junior and senior football chairmanship and various other positions.
"He is still one of the most hardworking officers of the association," banquet chairman John Moore said. He noted that Dooley was affiliated with one of the oldest clubs in New York.
"There were Monaghan teams going back to the late 1800s, prior to the GAA in New York," Moore said.
Dooley now also finds himself attached a club representing the same county as the new president of the GAA in Ireland, Sean McCague, who comes from Monaghan.
Moore added that Dooley’s life revolves around the GAA and his daughter, Amanda, 17. "There is nobody you could put down as working as hard for the association as Seamus Dooley," Moore said.
Dooley’s wife, Ginny, died from cancer in 1994, aged 39. She was born and raised in Candia, N.H., and moved to New York for college. Amanda is currently a senior at Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale, N.Y.
Dooley, a member of Local 32B-J, works as a maintenance supervisor at 784 Park Ave., in Manhattan. He is a member of St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Riverdale.
The millennium dinner dance will start with a cocktail hour from 8-9 p.m. This will be followed by dinner and open bar, and music by the New York Showband.
Tickets cost $75 each. A banquet program is also being prepared with pages costing $100 and gold pages $200.
Moore said he hoped that about 700 people would attend the banquet.
"It’s the Year 2000 and a lot of people will look at the historic nature of the banquet and how we have grown as an organization and got this far," Moore said. "It would be nice to be able to say, as a GAA person, that you were at the New York banquet in the Year 2000."