New York name XV littered with intercounty experience

Mayo’s Tom Cunniffe and Armagh sharpshooter Jamie Clarke both start opener

New York have named a strong team to take on Leitrim in Sunday’s Connacht championship opener at Gaelic Park.

At the 20th time of asking, Justin O’Halloran’s New York team go in pursuit of their first ever championship win. And with a team littered with intercounty experience, they come in quietly confident of causing a major upset.

Former Sligo goalkeeper Vinny Cadden produced a man-of-the-match display in New York's narrow defeat to Roscommon in 2016, and he again starts between the posts.

Fullback for Roscommon that day was Neil Collins, and he lines out in the number two jersey, this time for the home team. Alongside him is his former county team mate Donal Ward, more of a halfback but named at the edge of the square on this occasion.

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Former Longford and Leitrim defender Enda Williams is in the halfback line with Castlebar and Mayo stalwart Tom Cunniffe at centre back.

New York native Shane Hogan will be one to watch in the centre of the park, and he's joined by a Sigerson Cup winner with UCC, David Culhane.

Armagh's Jamie Clarke leads the attack in the number 11 jersey, while Wexford man Kevin O'Grady and Meath's Dalton McDonagh are others to have represented their counties in recent years.

Clarke's Crossmaglen clubmate Aaron Cunningham is among the replacements, as is former Monaghan forward Daniel McKenna and Longford's JJ Matthews.

Among those from last year's team who are not involved this weekend are Donegal's Ross Wherity, Down's Keith Quinn and Wicklow's Conor McGraynor.

New York: Vinny Cadden; Neil Collins, Donal Ward, Colin Keane; Enda Williams, Tom Cunniffe, Matthew Queenan; David Culhane, Shane Hogan; Tony Donnelly, Jamie Clarke, Luke Kelly; Kevin O'Grady, Dalton McDonagh, David Freeman.

Subs: Kieran Fitzgibbons, John Collins, Mike Creegan, Kevin Connolly, Michael Boyle, Daniel McKenna, Aaron Cunningham , Paddy Boyle, Keith Scally, JJ Matthews, Conor Connolly

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times