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New York footballers want an annual Big Apple clash against the Division 4 winners

Live coverage of Connacht Championship opener against Mayo woud be a “win-win” for everyone, New York boss Ian Galvin said.

Ian Galvin, the Kerry-born manager of the New York senior football team, pictured recently at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New York.
Ian Galvin, the Kerry-born manager of the New York senior football team, pictured recently at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New York.
Image: John Riordan/GAANewYork.com

NEW YORK MANAGER Ian Galvin has called for an annual fixture against the National Football League Division 4 winners as they look to safeguard their place as the GAA’s “34th county.”

The move follows comments by President Liam O’Neill who suggested that New York may eventually drop out of the All-Ireland series to participate in a global GAA World Championship.

O’Neill later clarified his comments but they have still stirred up a debate about the game’s future stateside as New York celebrate their centenary year.

Galvin, who was appointed last November, is currently readying his side for 4 May when they kick off the 2014 championship against last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo in Gaelic Park.

The opening round of the Connacht championship is now their only guaranteed game after the traditional fixture against the FBD League winners was discontinued in recent years due to its cost.

That lack of competitive action makes preparations difficult despite New York’s best efforts to raise their game and maybe even follow London’s example by ending their long-losing streak.

“I think the powers that be realise that New York is important,” he said. “We want to stay part of the All-Ireland series. We want to be a participant.

Look, we don’t want to go out and be beaten by 24 points every year. We don’t want to hear these ‘Fairytale of New York’ stories but unfortunately that’s the way it’s been for the last few years.

“It’s hard to prepare teams in New York. It’s not even just the lack of games. It’s because a lot of players are working night shifts in bars and stuff and because of that it’s difficult. We would hope that we’re trying to change things a little bit.”

Fans watch today's game in Gaelic Park Crowds in Gaelic Park watch the 2012 Connacht Championship game against Sligo Source: Ed Mulholland/INPHO

New York shipped 24-point losses against Sligo and then Leitrim in the last two seasons but their prospects haven’t been helped by the decision to pull the plug on the FBD game which cost in the region of €50,000 each year.

Playing the Division 4 winners in early April would be mutually beneficial to both sides, said Galvin, who expects financial support for the game from the Irish-American community.

He explained: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the winner of Division 4 went out to New York to play the second final against New York ?

“It would be right before our game in the Connacht championship. It would be great preparation for us. A team like Limerick last year won Division 4. We’d also give them a bit of publicity.

Provisions are in place in New York for a bit of financial aid. We have plenty of guys who love the GAA, are of Irish heritage, are from Ireland, and would have no issue helping out financially.

“It would help us get a game, but we would definitely look into the financial side of things and help teams out [with their costs].

“The Limerick guys would probably be delighted to go off as a team. It would be good for them as well to get some good preparation for their own championship endeavours because again, I’m sure a lot of these Division 4 teams are struggling to win their own championship openers every year.”

Joe Bell tackled by Barry Moran Barry Moran was part of the Mayo side that played New York in the 2009 Connacht Championship. Source: Ray Lennon/INPHO

Throw-in time for the Mayo game has been brought forward to 2.30pm (7.30pm Irish time) so that highlights can be shown in Ireland the same evening.

The GAA is expected to sign off on its new rights deal this week but Galvin believes it is not too late to have the game broadcast live from Gaelic Park.

The opportunity to have live GAA on primetime Sunday night TV in Ireland, added to the novelty of New York, is too good to be missed he said.

“I know the game was moved forward to promote the highlights package but I would love to see the game go live, this year especially because it is the 100-year anniversary of the New York Board and Mayo are in town.

Have we ever seen a live game on a Sunday night at 8pm, primetime? I think it would be great. It is something I would love to see.

“I am not too sure, contractually, who owns the rights to that but in the few weeks that are left, I think it would be great to get it shown live.

“Wouldn’t it be great for people in Laois to see Brendan Quigley [now New York captain] playing? People from Mayo at home – they would love to see the game live rather than just a few scores.

“We would love the people of Ireland to see what we are trying to do. I think it is a win-win across the board.

“Just the novelty alone, carrying a live game on a Sunday night, in terms of promotion I think it would be great for the GAA.”

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Niall Kelly

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