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League finals plan to be held in New York to mark 2014 centenary

THE GAA/GPA football All Stars touched down in Dublin Airport this morning, but several of them could be flying back to New York in 2014 - for a National League final.

New York GAA will celebrate its centenary that year and, to mark the historic milestone, Croke Park has signalled its clear intent to bring one of the Allianz League deciders to the Big Apple.

Speaking before the All Stars departed New York after their six-day tour, GAA president Liam O'Neill revealed: "It's something we've been talking about for a while - the idea of playing games here.

"Two-thousand-and-fourteen will provide us with the possibility of playing a few games here to celebrate the New York centenary and we're looking into that possibility."

Whereas the centrepiece of this year's tour was an exhibition match between the Opel-sponsored 2011 and 2012 All Stars, O'Neill stressed that he was referring here to "games that matter, a game that a trophy will be presented at the end.

He said: "We had a situation where New York wanted to bring the Congress here. That was just not on. We said, 'no. That's just not going to happen.' We spoke to New York and said 'let's look at what's possible as opposed to what's not going to work.'

"Bringing Congress to New York would be unjustifiable in the current economic climate, and Congress is enough of a cost to the organisation without bringing it to New York."

The most famous final hosted by New York GAA was the historic Polo Grounds All-Ireland decider of 1947, between Cavan and Kerry. While transporting another All-Ireland across the Atlantic is clearly not on the agenda, switching one or even both of the spring showpieces looks a viable alternative.

O'Neill revealed: "You could speculate that a league final would be considered and you wouldn't be too far off. We're talking about a significant final. We'll put this on the table for Coiste Bainistí next week and get initial thoughts on it.

"If we're ambitious about being international, we have to step off the island occasionally for games like that," the president concluded.