TOUCH TIGHT Mayo’s Fergal Boland tries to evade the tackle of Lahardane native and New York’s Matthew Queenan. Pic: Sportsfile
WHEN it was all over, New York’s number seven stood in the centre of the field at Gaelic Park and chatted to his friends and neighbours from home.
His family were around there somewhere too, and it was easy to see how proud everyone from Lahardane was of Matthew Queenan’s achievement.
He’s one of their own, and had left everything he had out there on a day when New York were simply blown away by one of the best teams in the country.
Of course, Queenan was disappointed by the way things had panned out, but he was realistic too. Mayo are simply in a different league right now.
“Ah it’s something else, to play against your home county,” he told The Mayo News. “You grow up supporting these lads, the likes of Lee Keegan and all those boys. You idolise them in Croke Park and it’s an honour to play against them.
It’s a pity we got such a beating but that’s football.
“The tempo was fast, we hadn’t played at that tempo before,” he admitted.
“They bring serious pace, they’re the best half-back line in the country, simple as. “Keegan, [Paddy] Durcan and [James] McCormack bring serious pace.
“You think you’ll flood the defence, but they keep creating overlaps and they wear you down.”
As for the weekend itself, and all the pomp, ceremony, prestige and pressure that lining out for New York in the Connacht championship against Mayo brings, Matthew Queenan wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s been a great weekend, the build-up,” he smiled. “I met the family on Thursday, some more came in on Friday, I met some of the members of the club on Saturday, and went down the city to keep my mind off the game.
“It was nice, I hadn’t seen them in a while.
“It doesn’t feel like an honour right now [to play championship football], it might in a few days.
“No it’s great, and for Lahardane too, it keeps Lahardane on the map.”
After trying to live with Mayo for 70 minutes a little earlier, who better to ask for an assessment of their current state of health and fitness than New York’s powerfully-built defender. He doesn’t need to be asked twice if he thought they looked like All-Ireland contenders.
“They surely are. They brought a smaller squad than usual, there were a few lads not togged, they brought off the likes of [Lee] Keegan and [Jason] Doherty early, and they’ve a serious panel this year.
“The likes of Ciarán Treacy, James Carr, a big lad with two feet — they’ll be there or thereabouts again.”
And with that, Matthew Queenan headed towards the dressing-rooms to tog in, get changed, and meet up with the gang from home.
And who knows, maybe he even performed his party piece, ‘The Haka’ at some stage later in the night!
Did you know?
THE only other Mayo man in the New York panel last Sunday was James Maughan, who is also from Lahardane. James is a nephew of former Mayo manager, John Maughan.