UP FOR IT New York manager Justin O’Halloran. Pic: Sportsfile
IF Mayo don’t have their best day in their Connacht Championship opener and the New York footballers perform to their highest ability, then there will be very little in it when the final whistle sounds.
That’s according to New York manager Justin O’Halloran who also admitted that they’re under under no illusion of the task that lies ahead in the form of the National League champions.
The Cavan native – who has been in charge of the New York team since 2016 – says it would be ‘something seriously crazy’ if New York were to upset the odds in two weeks time, but revealed they’re relishing the underdogs tag.
“We were in a similar position in 2016 when we were preparing for Roscommon,” he told The Mayo News last week. “We were coming to training every Sunday morning when Roscommon were beating the likes of Kerry and Donegal, losing narrowly to Dublin and getting to a league semi-final.
“So it was hard to keep the lads motivated that time; we were telling them not to worry about Roscommon, but worry about what we were doing, and lo and behold we went out and pressed them high up the field, got some breaks and took advantage of them and were beaten narrowly [by a single point].
“So you never know. If the underdog was never to win, the underdog would never play. We’re the underdog, [but] we’re going out to win and if we perform to our highest ability and Mayo don’t have their best day at the races, there’s a chance we could be right there until the end.”
O’Halloran says New York have lost ‘ten or eleven’ of the starting team that lost to Leitrim by a single point after extra time last year. But the likes of former Kildare senior footballer Seán Hurley and Roscommon star Cathal Compton are in the set up this year.
Former All Star nominee Daniel Flynn was involved for a month, until he returned home to his native Kildare recently, while Galway hurler Johnny Glynn is training with the team but won’t be togging out due to hurling commitments.
O’Halloran highlighted that there is seven homegrown players involved in the panel now and that the GAA scene in The Big Apple is growing rapidly.
“New York football is coming up,” he said. “Players want to play now; they want to come out and tog for New York.
“Players have huge pride to do that now and it is something that has changed in the last ten years or so.
“It’s hard when we were getting beat by 20 points every year; hard to motivate everyone to go again, but it’s changed now.
“We’re telling the lads to just keep plugging away. You might not beat Mayo for skill, but if you can can match them for work rate and effort, we will be fine.”
CONNACHT SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
NEW YORK v MAYO
SUNDAY, MAY 5
GAELIC PARK, NYC
THROW-IN: 7.15PM (IRISH TIME)