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Defeat to Offaly still a victory of sorts for New York GAA

Author:  Club Admin

Published:  28 days ago

Views:  290+

A 15-point defeat for New York but their players remained the hottest ticket in town as teams and supporters mingled on the thick green grass long after the final whistle sounded.

Tailteann Cup

Offaly 3-17 

New York 0-11 

A 15-point defeat for New York but their players remained the hottest ticket in town as teams and supporters mingled on the thick green grass long after the final whistle sounded on this Tailteann Cup quarter-final.

The visitors brought a touch of the exotic to this corner of the Midlands on Saturday afternoon. The Stars and Stripes waved furiously in the stands at the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann and one woman with a broad ‘Noo Yawk’ accent soundtracked the game long after the contest was done.

Local kids had eyes mostly for the red, white and blue jerseys but their grá for a memento, any memento, of what was New York’s first competitive game on Irish soil in 21 years while family members reconnected with sons home for a long weekend.

“This is awesome,” said full-back and captain Jamie Boyle, one of the American-born contingent and a man whose grandparents hail from Donegal. “The field we are playing on is first-class. The competition: these guys are probably the best that we have played against so far. You have to tip your hat to them, they were much the better team today.” 

That they were. Goals from Anton Sullivan, Keith O’Neill and Cathal Flynn added a sheen to a scoreboard that was cantering away from the transatlantic visitors from the very first minute. New York hadn’t played since their narrow Connacht SFC loss to Sligo in mid-April and now they were facing one of the best sides to have been detoured into this updated and repolished version of the Tommy Murphy Cup. It’s more of these games and trips that they need in future.

“It keeps everybody together for another seven weeks,” said Boyle. “It keeps it going because we haven’t had New York GAA for two years now (because of Covid) and there are a lot of new and young faces.

“Everyone is still starting to get to know each other, get into the system that Johnny (McGeeney) is implementing so another seven weeks and another game has been huge.” 

For John Maughan and Offaly this was a no-win situation. The heavy favourites did what they had to do, starting fast, nipping any potential of an upset in the bud, and restricting New York to a few minor scoring bursts.

“We certainly could have made the headlines for all the wrong reasons had we lost,” Maughan admitted. “That was my fourth time togging teams out against New York and they will always have periods in the game when they do well.

“We didn’t want to be that statistic where we were beaten by New York but it will happen some time. That will be another year or two now but it looks like they want to embrace the Tailteann Cup.” 

Offaly’s reward is a semi-final slot in Croke Park and on live TV in two weeks’ time but they approach that on the back of this canter and a similarly straightforward defeat of Wicklow in the first round proper. How hardened will they be?

It’s a nice problem to have. Only six weeks have passed since Maughan stood in a dressing-room in Wexford Park after the locals had dumped them out of the provincial championship and said he wouldn’t stand in anyone’s way if they felt the urge to go Stateside themselves.

“We only lost one. He opted out, but everybody else has embraced it. I have been involved in the ‘B’ Championships before with teams and I know how important it is, particularly with a young and developing squad. We have a number of the U20s coming through so this is a perfect opportunity for them to bed in and develop a bit of cohesion and understanding and it is Championship football. They have embraced it exceptionally well.” 

Scorers for Offaly: N McNamee (0-6, 0-5 frees); K O’Neill and C Flynn (both 1-1); A Sullivan (1-0): R McNamee and J Bryant (both 0-2); N Darby (0-2, 0-1 free); P Dunican (0-1 free); J Moloney and J McEvoy (0-1).

Scorers for New York: J Reilly (0-4, 0-1 free); A Varley (0-4, 0-1 free); C Aherne (0-2); S Reilly (0-1 ‘45’).

OFFALY: P Dunican; L Pearson, D Hogan, N Darby; R Egan, J Moloney, C Donohoe; C McNamee, J Hayes; B Carroll, R McNamee, A Sullivan; J Bryant, N McNamee, K O’Neill. 

Subs: C Flynn for Carroll (40); D Dempsey for Egan (41); M Tynan for C McNamee (44); D Egan for R McNamee (60); J McEvoy for Brosnan (62).

NEW YORK: M Cunningham; C Keane, J Boyle, A Campbell; S Brosnan, P Boyle, D O’Sullivan; G McCullagh, J Glynn; P Fox, S Reilly, T Mathers; A Varley, J Reilly, M Brosnan. 

Subs: J Davis for Campbell (28); A Stones for Fox and C Aherne for McCullagh (both HT); C Mather for Reilly (61); D Corridan for Reilly (62).

Referee: M McNally (Monaghan).

https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/arid-40888967.html

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