New York bosses discover constructive outcomes with no Irish invasion
GAA officials in New York are confident that the huge reduction in the number of players arriving from Ireland this summer will not have a negative impact on games there.
Indeed, they are confident that this will provide New York native players with another opportunity to move forward after a few years of putting in place a policy to focus on developing their own players.
The perpetual suspension of J-1 visas used by students, the travel bans imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the likely hectic summer of club and inter-county games are all reducing the number of players heading to the U.S. this year to travel .
However, Joan Henchy, chairman of the New York County Board, doesn’t think this will negatively affect the Big Apple.
“I wouldn’t agree with the suggestion that the absence of J-1 would depopulate our season. I can only speak for NY and not USGAA, ”she said.
“We have an abundance of home players, American born players who have come of age, and a healthy, vibrant underage structure comparable to any county.
“This can be seen very clearly in the results at Féile na nGael and the World Games.
New York has reduced our reliance on students in recent years, with significant penalties and a limited number of referrals.
The Rockland Club in Orangeburg is a leader in developing local players.
Founded in 1972, they offer hurling, Gaelic soccer, Gaelic women’s soccer and camogie and field over 20 teams in the four codes.
Rockland, one of 32 GAA clubs in New York, has over 850 gaming members and around 10% of their underage players have no Irish affiliation.
The club’s chairman, Jim McGirl, said 95% of its gambling members were born in America.
“We think it’s pretty obvious that all clubs need to focus more on the American-born players, focus on what’s available instead of complaining about the challenges immigration has brought”, said McGirl.