By Pierce O’Reilly Fr. Gerry Burns, chaplain to Irish immigrants at St. Cyril of Alexandria Rectory in Philadelphia, said he is disappointed that the GAA associations in the United States are continuing to look to Ireland to improve the status of the game stateside. He said he is amazed that New York GAA failed to grasp the ball in relation to weekend sanctions when it was placed firmly in their hands last week at their annual convention. "They simply let the ball drop once again — as have most U.S. cities in the past decade — and didn’t have the courage to follow their convictions," he said. "I’m very involved in the underage divisions down in Philadelphia and can see the damage that weekend players are doing to the game. If teams have six or seven transfers, five drafts and then 60-day and weekend players, they basically only need one player living in the U.S. to win a championship," he said. Burns is active in the Irish community and a keen GAA follower. He’s a past pupil of Westport CBS, Co. Mayo, and a graduate of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. "I’d love to see a real New York, Boston or Chicago final for once," he said. "I think that most supporters in those cities would like to see who has the best home-based side for once and for all." Burns, as a GAA promoter, said he feels the association is bigger than any one club or individual. "We have a responsibility to the founding fathers and to those who formed the association," he said. He believes that clubs that spend thousands of pounds bringing players from Ireland can only see the short-term benefits. "If that money was spent building up the underage structure, then the future would be a lot brighter in every U.S. city," he said. The future of the games in the U.S. depends, according to Burns, on the underage structure. "It amazes me every year the amount of money that is wasted on Aer Lingus footballers," he said. "Why don’t we look to Ireland to learn the lessons of success? Every club that’s successful in the past have had a good underage structure. The only way forward is to put time and money into this section."