Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Standing room only as GAA fans go bonkers in Yonkers, New York

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 23/9/2012Donegal vs MayoDonegal's Colm McFadden celebrates scoring a goalMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy *** Local Caption ***
Donegal fans celebrating the victory of the Donegal team in the All-Ireland final with Mayo in Downings, Co Donegal. Pic by Philip Fitzpatrick
Mark McHugh fulfils a vital role at |the heart of Donegal’s tactical blueprint

The Heritage pub on McLean Avenue in Yonkers was no place for the faint-hearted yesterday as what seemed like half of Donegal descended on it, giving a whole new meaning to 'standing room only'. So long as you didn't breathe, you'd be fine.

It was a sight to see - hundreds of GAA fans slurping out of coffee cups on the morning of an All-Ireland Final. Throw-in was at 10.30am, but the pubs couldn't start serving alcohol until midday.

For many, this was a family affair. Seamus Glackin (28) from Malin Head, Co Donegal, was there with his brother Thomas, sisters Eilish and Joanne and mother Eileen, who was visiting.

"With two teams that haven't been in it for so long, it's going to be a great match," said Seamus.

Behind the Glackins sat the McIntyre sisters from Belmullet, Co Mayo -- Aoibheann, Melissa and Ursula -- who braved the Donegal crowd in their Mayo jerseys.

The ball was thrown in -- and three minutes later, The Heritage erupted as Donegal scored their first goal. Drink went flying (it may have been served in coffee cups, but it definitely wasn't coffee), as the fans went wild.

"This crowd is intense," said pub-owner Eileen Mannion. "It's such a novelty for these teams to be in the final."

Coming into the second half with a three-point, Donegal lead, the atmosphere remained tense. But it was only ever going to end one way. And when it did, the noise was deafening.

A few doors up in Ned Devine's pub, Mayo cousins Caroline Reilly and Valerie and Lynn McGoldrick were philosophical about the loss.

"We're disappointed but the best team won," conceded Reilly. "Bring on 2013!"

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