New York manager Justin O’Halloran has called on the GAA to provide the team with entry to the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Should Sligo beat them in Sunday’s Connacht SFC opener in Gaelic Park, New York won’t be in championship action again until next May when Leitrim travel to the Big Apple.
If they beat Sligo, Niall Carew’s side go into a preliminary qualifier against a county that has been either defeated in a provincial preliminary round or a quarter-final.
O’Halloran believes New York’s recent results, particularly their one-point loss to Roscommon last year, entitles them to a second bite of the cherry like every other team in the competition.
“One thing I would like is if New York got into a back-door situation,” he said. “I think it is unfair that London can get into one and New York can’t get into one.
“Now, possibly that reason was because they haven’t been competitive for years, but I feel now that the team is getting better every year and that should be thought about, I’d imagine. But that’s not up to me — it’s up the hierarchy.”
In the past, visas have been cited as a difficulty in providing New York with a second game in Ireland but O’Halloran says it isn’t as much an issue now. “I think we are lucky enough — 90% to 95% of our squad now are able to travel. A lot of these lads are out there on graduate visa or whatever. Ten years ago, it was harder to get these visas. At the minute we are doing all right in that way.”
O’Halloran senses the only stumbling block is money. “Well, the only reason there is it cost a few pound. If it did happen and if New York do happen to win on Sunday or any year, I think it would be great for the GAA to see them lined out playing in first round of the Connacht championship. I think it would be a huge boost for the GAA all over the world.”
New York are without Brian Connors and Luke Loughlin this weekend. Both midfielders tore anterior cruciate ligaments, Connors picking up his injury in a recent challenge match against Donegal.
“Yeah, we were unfortunate there at Christmas we lost a couple of guys and then we lost two of our midfielders recently that would have been playing the last couple of years,” said O’Halloran.
“Another fella that played last year went home to a job. We have a good home base from last year but also we are missing a few key men that are here.”
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