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NYGAA to Honor ‘67 League Champs

By Eugene kyne

NEW York in its history has won the National Football League title on three occasions. This came about when the Irish champions (the home champions) played the New York selection in the final proper at on occasion Croke Park in a single game, or in a two legged affair with the aggregate determining the winner. These were played in Ireland and New York.

New York secured their first title when they traveled to Croke Park in 1950 and beat Cavan on a scoreline of 2-08 to 0-12. Willie Carlos, who had won minor and senior medals with Roscommon at the start of the 1940s, was number six, center half back on that victorious New York squad. The following year Meath had a goal to spare when they traveled to the Big Apple and won by 1-10 to 10 points for the locals.

Cork easily beat New York in Croke Park in the ‘52 final to end the series for 10 years. It returned in the 1960s and was greeted by the most successful and talented teams to grace Gaelic Park, with All-Ireland winners, Railway Cup winners and National League winners now calling the tri-state area home due to massive emigration from Ireland, and these men were proudly wearing the New York jersey.

They contested five League finals in a row and came away with two wins against a who’s who from across the water. Three of their opponents were All-Ireland as well as League champions.

They traveled to Croke Park to play Kerry in 1963 but succumbed 1-18 to 0-10, as the Kingdom was too strong on that occasion. They were the All-Ireland champions from ‘62 at the time, but as time would tell that would not protect teams in the future.

Dublin, who had won the All-Ireland title in 1963, arrived into the city that never sleeps in ‘64 with guns blazing. They had 13 of those players starting when they strode onto the pitch against the locals and they received a rude awakening.

Despite players of the caliber of Lar Foley, John Timmons and Mickey Whelan, New York answered them with kind and won their second National League title 2-12 to 1-13 with the following lineup: J. Duffy, H. Coyle, P. Nolan, S. McElligott, B. Hennessy, E. McCarthy, P. Barden, M. Moynihan, P. Cummins, P. Casey, J. Foley, T. Hennessy (capt.), B. O’Donnell, E. McGuinness.

We will discuss some of these players in greater detail in the weeks ahead, but suffice to say at this point that Peter Nolan had played for Offaly and Leinster, Paddy Casey for the same, Paddy Cummins for Kildare and Leinster, Peter Barden , Longford, and Jim Foley was center field for Kerry when they won the ‘55 minor title. The team was chock full with ability.

Galway had begun their famous three in a row of All-Ireland titles when they arrived into town for a two leg final in 1965. On the 27th of June the Tribesmen were defeated 0-8 points to 1-4, but the second leg on July 4 went their way 3-8 to 0-9 for a total aggregate of 4-12 to 0-17.

The following year allowed for a trip across the pond with Longford waiting at the other side. The two-leg final took on a life of its own at this point with the results going in both directions.

The first in Longford on October 2 was a home win 1-9 to 0-7, with the return at Croke Park on the 9th a success for the visitors 0-10 to 0-9.

Longford had the title, but the stories from these contests will outlive the games results for years to come. They do include Peter and Willie Nolan’s brother John refereeing the games, a visit to the Curragh on the Saturday between the fixtures for a superb day of racing, and an exit from Croke Park that left a bead of sweat on all brows.

The New York team at this point had been together for a number of years, and that included a trip around the world when they visited New Zealand, Australia and Ireland when they defeated Offaly in Tullamore.

The 40-year anniversary of the majestic and monumental win in 1967 is upon us. Galway arrived into New York as three in a row All-Ireland champions. They had no peers at various positions at the time.

Johnny Geraghty, Noel Tierney, Enda Colleran, Mattie McDonagh, Johneen Donnellon, Liam Sammon and the kid Jimmy Duggan were on top of the GAA world. It was to become an eye-opening and long trip for the team from the west.

Again a two-legged affair that took place on consecutive Sundays in May, the 14th and 21st. A glut of goals for New York were the difference in both games.

The first was a 3-5 to 1-6 victory, the second 4-3 to 0-10 points when Galway had clawed back the deficit.

The third title was in their hands. The lineout was as follows: 1 Willie Nolan, 2 Kenny Finn, 3 Peter Nolan, 4 Peter Maguire, 5 Dermot Finn, 6 Seamus Nugent, 7 Sonny Kenna, 8 Brendan Tumolty, 9 Jim Foley, 10 Paddy Cummins, 11 Mike Moynihan, 12 Pat Caulfield, 13 Tommy Furlong, 14 Brendan O’Donnell, 15 Jimmy Halpin. Subs: Tommy Feighery for P. Caulfield, A. Brady for Halpin.

T. Feighery and Dessie Ryan both played in the first leg. Cummins and Caulfield came on for the second.

Also on the panel were Tommy Hennessy, Brendan Hennessy, Michael Fitzgerald, John O’Connor, Eamonn McGuinness, Dermot McCann, Rory Finn, Danny Byrne, Mike Foley, Paddy Casey, and manager Noel McGuinness.

On the occasion of the Connacht football championship game this year when Sligo meets New York on May 13 at Gaelic Park, the ‘67 team will be honored at halftime. It is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest teams to walk on to the grass at the Mecca.

As the event gets closer we will look at the win and the men that secured it in more detail. Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the historic achievement.



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