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New York footballers denied Tier 2 inclusion for 2020

They won’t be entering the Tier 2 football championship this summer, but retain hopes of inclusion next year.

Mayo's Andy Moran in action at Gaelic Park last summer.
Mayo's Andy Moran in action at Gaelic Park last summer.
Image: Andy Marlin/INPHO

NEW YORK’S BID to be included in the new Tier 2 football championship this summer has fallen on deaf ears.

Former New York chairman and current GAA presidential candidate Larry McCarthy confirmed to The42 that the Exiles have been denied a place in this year’s competition, though they retain hopes of inclusion in 2021.

“We’ve been turned down for this year,” McCarthy said. “Realistically next year is the way to go. We’d have to go back and apply.”

New York will host Galway in the Connacht quarter-final in May, where defeat against the overwhelming favourites would spell the end of their season.

“We’re disappointed obviously that we were turned down because in all the discussions around the Tier 2, I kept mentioning the non-league teams.

“And people looked at me as if to say, ‘What the hell is this guy talking about non-league teams?’

“I said, ‘Well hold on now a second, New York is a non-league team. They’re not playing in a Division 3 or 4. The general consensus I got was that yes, they would be accommodated.

“But then when the rule was passed, they’re saying it’s a rule now and you have to appeal it and do all sorts of things. In that regard, next year is more realistic.”

Since entering the Connacht championship for the first time in 2001, the Exiles haven’t yet managed to win a game though they’ve close to a famous victory. Two years ago, Leitrim escaped the Bronx with a one-point win after extra-time.

In 2016, Roscommon needed a 70th minute point from Senan Kilbride to seal a nervy 1-15 to 0-17 win.

There’s growing unease in New York GAA circles over the present scenario. They feel more games are required to keep players interested and develop their base of local talent.

Manager Gerry Fox and selector Johnny Glynn were among those who called for their inclusion in the new Tier 2 structure in recent weeks.

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“We haven’t won a game in the Connacht championship since we started, but anytime we have a Connacht championship match the place is hopping,” added McCarthy, who is one of five men in the running to succeed GAA president John Horan.

In the two possible new football championship formats put forward by the GAA’s Fixtures Review Task Force last year, neither structure included New York as a competitive county.

Horan insisted in December that a redrawn championship structure would not leave New York in the cold. He said a possible ”intercontinental cup” competition between the Tier 2 winners and New York could ensuring a high-profile game is played in the Big Apple every year. 

“There’s a huge attraction in teams coming from Ireland but the game must be in a competition,” said McCarthy.

“There’s no point in sending out a team having won a Division 3 or 4 tournament and then saying, ‘Okay lads, ye can play New York.’ If New York are playing in a competition, there’s tremendous interest in it. There’s significantly less interest if the winning team is only coming out and the game is only an add on if you know what I mean.”

McCarthy added that travelling home wouldn’t be an issue for players on the panel in light of the current climate under President Trump.

“Things have changed immeasurably in that regard. Now there are one or two (players without a visa) no doubt, but you don’t know. 

“You don’t ask a woman her age and you don’t ask a guy whether he’s legal or illegal.

“Most of the lads who are coming out are on these extended J1s, they’re here for 18 months or two years. Some of them settle down here and get sponsored by companies and continue to play with us.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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