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More sampling the American dream, but let's be careful

By Declan Bogie

Published 24/06/2015

There is a complex relationship between the GAA at home and the GAA with a distinct flavour of the Stars and Stripes
There is a complex relationship between the GAA at home and the GAA with a distinct flavour of the Stars and Stripes

Page after page of last week's Gaelic Life newspaper revealed a common theme.

In Armagh, it was revealed that Caolan Trainor and Jamie Cosgrove would be playing their football in America this summer, rather than for home club Killeavy.

Crossmaglen will have to do without former county player Paul Hughes, Callum Cumiskey, Ronan Finnegan and promising youngster Simon McCoy.

The Glen club in Maghera have some promising youth, but Danny Tallon and Ryan Dougan will be in Boston this summer. Conor McDevitt and Cahir McCabe are Philadelphia-bound.

Dwayne Quinn, who made his debut for Tyrone this year in the National League, will be at the Ulster club in San Francisco, while his Clonoe clubmates Colm Doris and Daryl Magee will be togging out in Philly.

On the other side of the scale, former Donegal ace and two-time All-Star Kevin Cassidy will be able to take his wife and three children for another summer in Chicago. Owen Mulligan, meanwhile, will be spending a bit of time playing for Penrith Gaels in Sydney alongside his childhood friend Barry Devine.

Dara ÓCinneide's recently-screened documentary, 'GAA USA' gave us a brilliantly-presented history of Gaelic Games in America, brought over in the emigrant ships and preserved through the ages.

It explored a complex relationship between the GAA at home and the GAA with a distinct flavour of the Stars and Stripes.

With the offspring of first generation Irish not taking up Gaelic Games, the responsibility of fielding competitive teams fell on businessmen connected with the various clubs in New York, Boston, Chicago and San Fran.

Naturally, Uncle Sam business practices come into play. A talented youngster will be flown over for the summer, put up in a half-decent flat, handed a construction job without any expectation and all they have to deliver are quality performances on the pitch.

Play well, and you will be slipped another wad of dollars.

Am I jealous? Totally. As a teenager, I would listen to Tempo men who spent summers in New York and dream about how exotic it must be.

Now, players realise that they can spend the summer away without fear of missing a club Championship match.

And when Tyrone elected to put on their club Championship early, they found that clubs like Clonoe and Carrickmore have their bones picked over by vultures, as an early exit means a player exodus.

The downside comes when a storied club like Carrickmore cannot field a side in a reserve fixture against Dromore.

The GAA both locally and nationally can't pretend they weren't warned.

Belfast Telegraph

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