READY FOR ACTION Matthew Queenan from Lahardane is pictured in action for New York during their Connacht SFC match against Leitrim last May. Pic: Sportsfile
THE New York footballers will enter their Connacht SFC clash with Mayo in three weeks time with huge belief, but are also realistic about the challenge that awaits them.
That’s according to New York vice-captain — and Lahardane native — Matthew Queenan who says he’s relishing the prospect of lining out against his home county.
The wing-back is currently enjoying his second season with the New York county squad having moved to America shortly after Lahardane’s historic Connacht Junior club championship victory in 2017.
“I never thought I would be in the situation where I would be preparing to play Mayo,” the 23 year-old told The Mayo News. “You almost don’t want to think it’s Mayo, you just have to think it’s another team coming out with very good footballers.
“It’s funny, I was cheering them on no ends in the League final a few weeks ago, but now I want to split half of them! Or at least try and stop them.”
Queenan’s Lahardane club-mate, James Maughan, is also currently part of Justin O’Halloran’s New York squad, as is Breaffy native Mark Livingstone.
Another Mayo connection sees Balla native, Raymond Holian, training the New York squad in preparation for their Sunday, May 5 showdown with Mayo.
Queenan made his senior championship debut against Leitrim last year, when New York famously came within a whisker of recording their first ever championship victory.
But were eventually beaten by a point after extra-time, 0-19 to 1-15.
This time around Queenan has been named as New York’s vice-captain – something he describes as a ‘huge honour’ — by team manager Justin O’Halloran.
However, the former University of Limerick student admits that the mood in the New York camp is different ahead of their game with the National League champions.
“This year is much different to last year because we had such a big chance of beating Leitrim,” he explained. “But at the end of the day, you have to be realistic this year.
“We’ll go into the Mayo game with massive belief, but you have to be realistic, Mayo are league champions and have two of the last three ‘Footballers of the Year’.
“The enthusiasm isn’t the same this year as it was last year, a lot of lads have stepped away and there isn’t as many backroom staff involved. But there’s still a good spine of the team here and plenty of good footballers.”
Connacht Senior Football Championship
New York v Mayo
Sunday, May 5
Gaelic Park, NYC
Throw-in: 7.15pm (Irish time)