New York manager Ian Galvin must deal with player turnover
Mayo open Connacht campaign at Gaelic Park on Sunday
Former Laois midfielder Brendan Quigley will capatain New York on Sunday at Gaelic Park, New York. Photograph: Inpho
It’s been described as the “the most professional set-up” that New York football has ever had, and the team features more than a couple of familiar intercounty names
– but still no one expects them to beat Mayo when they open the Connacht football championship in Gaelic Park on Sunday.
New York’s last two outings have ended in substantial defeats, to Sligo and Leitrim, and addressing that sort of imbalance is the first task for New York manager, Ian Galvin – the Kerry and Waterville native who spent the summer of 2001 in New York on a J1 visa, and has been based there since.
“In fairness to the management that came before they probably didn’t have the quality of player that we might have now,” Galvin said earlier this week. “There has been a massive turnover of players in the last year. It makes a big difference. Of course I can say we don’t want to be the whipping boys anymore. We don’t want to be laughed at . . . We’re going to deliver our performance to the max and the rest will take care of itself from there.”
Galvin took his team on a confidence-building exercise to West Point, home of the United States Military Academy – but now comes the challenge of taking on the beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo, who won’t want to allow any repeat of 2010, when Galway were nearly caught out in New York before a late Cormac Bane goal helped them escape.
The turnover of New York players from last year is substantial: just five players survive from the defeat to Leitrim, including Gavin Joyce in goal, and also Keith Scally, Alan Raftery, Gary O’Driscoll and Jason Kelly, in the forward line.
The team will be captained by former Laois midfielder Brendan Quigley, and also feature Down pair Gerard McCartan and Keith Quinn, former Donegal player Ross Wherity and former Cork player Denis O’Sullivan. There is only one Mayo native, substitute goalkeeper Ray Coyle.
“They’re well aware of what the significance is,” added Galvin. “It’s not just a football match. This is probably the premier social occasion for all of the GAA fans in the North East of America, where they have the opportunity to go out and see all of these things.”
NEW YORK (SF v Mayo, clubs in New York followed by former Irish club): G Joyce (Cavan NY/Ballymartin, Down); R McGinley (Cavan NY/Errigal Ciarán, Tyrone), G McCartan (Kerry NY/Burren, Down), K O’Connor (Kerry NY/Listowel Emmett’s, Kerry); K Scally (Westmeath NY/Tyrrellspass, Westmeath), P O’Connor (Cork NY/Kilmurry Ibrickane, Clare), D O’Sullivan (Cork NY/Clonakilty, Cork); B Quigley (capt, Donegal NY/Timahoe, Laois), A Raftery (Cork NY/ Oranmore/Maree, Galway); P Boyle (Donegal NY/Castlewellan, Down), J Kelly (Offaly NY/Shannonbridge, Offaly), R Wherity (Kerry NY/St Eunan’s, Donegal); J McGeeney (Armagh NY/Culloville Blues, Armagh), K Quinn (Leitrim NY/Mayobridge, Down), G O’Driscoll (Kerry NY/Skellig Rangers, Kerry).