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Joe Kernan: Clubs here could learn a lot from GAA in New York

Those who continue to decry the involvement of New York in the Connacht senior football championship would do well to ponder the excellent work which the clubs there are doing to promote GAA.

Prior to taking over as manager of Galway I had remained sceptical about New York’s participation in the championship.

But there are many GAA clubs here that could take their lead from the enthusiasm and commitment in the Big Apple.

Perhaps in the past New York teams have been the whipping boys for sides from Ireland but that is certainly not the case now. And if progress continues at its present rate the US city will begin to make much more of an impact in the All Ireland series. At one stage during Galway’s visit there last weekend I thought that I was actually back home in Crossmaglen.

I spoke to former Crossmaglen man Patsy Martin, Alan Hearty, brother of current Armagh goalkeeper Paul Hearty, ex-Culloville resident Kevin McGeeney and James Moyna, although domiciled in the US for some time, still with a distinctive south Armagh accent.

And John Murtagh, who formerly played for Crossmaglen, was one of the best players in a New York side that stretched Galway to the limit before we managed to win by 2-13 to 0-12.

A banquet for 1,000 people on a luxurious boat on the Hudson River, a lavish reception at Gaelic Park and a sight-seeing tour in 85 degrees of heat were just some of the events that added to a memorable weekend.

It was back to the real world though when the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland played havoc with our flight travel plans back to Ireland!

Belfast Telegraph