The star spangled banner flies highest at Feile

June 26, 2017

New York celebrate as they are crowned Division 1 Feile Champions at Breffni Park

New York's historic Feile nOg success is one of the headline GAA stories of 2017.

The boys from the Big Apple carved a niche of history for themselves when scoring a comprehensive 3-7 to 0-2 Division 1 Cup final victory over Portlaoise at Kingspan Breffni Park yesterday and it's a success that underlines the progress being made in gaelic games across the Atlantic.

"It's a stepping stone in the right direction for New York GAA underage," beamed team manager Sean Price who is a native of Kerry.

"It's fantastic. I got a text last night from the New York GAA Games Development Officer, Simon Gillespie from Donegal, who told me it's 27 years since New York entered a team in the Feile it what might have been Division 7 or Division 8.

"We've now won all the titles up along the way. In 2012 we won the Division 2 to get up to Division 1 and in the last two years we've been beaten at the semi-final stages by the eventual winners. Winning it outright this year was the goal from the start and we're delighted to have achieved that."

He added: "Every one of them are 'Yanks' - that's the moniker we put on ourselves. Five clubs (Shannon Gaels, Rangers, Rockland, St Barnabas and St Patrick's) had representatives on the panel. We're as Irish as everyone else and the GAA is a huge part of our culture."

Sean and his backroom team of two-time Tyrone All-Ireland winner Mickey Coleman, Paddy Curtis (Meath), Paul Moore (Monaghan) and Paudie Mulvihill (Kerry) left no stone in the team's preparations and their hard work manifested itself in a string of impressive performances over the course of the weekend.

Along the way they also received great advice from the likes of Sligo senior football manager Niall Carew, Donegal selector Maxi Curran and players, Frankie McGlynn and Hugh McFadden and Monaghan's Dick Clerkin as well as top inter-county referee David Gough from Meath.

"Preparations started late last year, in November/December. The logistics alone when it came to booking 30 flights for players and management, gear and accommodation, was a massive job and we're grateful to our tour manager Collette McElligott, a Kerry woman, who did a great job.

"Gowna was our host club while we also spent time with Ardboe (Tyrone) and Crosserlough of Cavan. From start to finish, we couldn't have been treated any better.

"Seamus McWalters was also part of our backroom team as physio while we would like thank Denis Twomey, chairman of the New York Minor Board, and the GAA in general for helping to promote Gaelic games all over the world."

So what now for this mould breaking group of players?

"We want to take it a step further and get into the minor championship in two to three years. New York is affiliated to the Connacht Council and that is our ultimate goal. These lads want to put New York GAA on the map.

"To borrow a quote from the All Blacks book, Legacy, we wanted to leave the jersey in a better place than where we found it and they have certainly done that with their success this weekend."

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