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New York to Croker

IT possibly isn't the most traditional route to All-Ireland glory, but Shane Carthy's story is one that highlights the hold that our national games have both in Ireland and further afield.

Given all the recent discussion of Ireland's diaspora that punctuated debate on the decision to grant television rights to Sky, Carthy's example illustrates perfectly how important the games can become in the life of an emigrant.

The 22-year-old reached the pinnacle in the club game last month, helping St Vincent's claim the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship title as they overcame Castlebar Mitchels on St Patrick's Day, a win that was hugely important to Carthy.

"It was the best feeling that I have had in my life to date, that's for sure," he said.

"I was happy with my contribution and it is always nice to score a few points in Croke Park.


"However, I am very critical of myself and will always feel that there is more to do. Thankfully, Diarmuid (Connolly) was in great form.

"For me personally, to come from growing up in New York, playing junior football, to winning an All-Ireland in Croke Park, is extremely satisfying."

The wing-forward, who played a central role in Vinnies' successful campaign, including scoring three points in that memorable final four weeks ago, was born in Dublin but moved to Toronto when just two years old.

Further movements saw Carthy travel across the border into New York two years later as the 1994 World Cup gripped the nation.

His family's interest in sport saw Shane excel at a number of sports during his high school years in Yonkers, with ice hockey, soccer and American football three of the disciplines at which he competed at a high level. It was only during his formative teenage years that Carthy began to take a greater interest in Gaelic football, with the legendary Paddy's Field in The Bronx a welcoming venue for the DCU business student.

"I played for the Rangers club and then became somewhat obsessed with Gaelic football from that point on.

"I began playing junior football with the Dublin team in New York at the age of 15, and then played senior with the Kerry team in New York the following year.

"When I was 17, I played for the New York senior team against Mayo in the Connacht Championship and my love of the game just developed from there," he said.

That love brought him back to the place of his birth and, with his cousin Frankie Power playing hurling for St Vincent's, the choice was an easy one for Carthy to make, hooking up with a team that left indelible memories on the then 16-year-old.

"I watched the St Vincent's team win the All-Ireland in 2008 at 9.30am in a bar on McClean Avenue in New York and, six years later, I was out there myself. It is hard to believe really.

"I'm very proud of where I came from and the schools I've gone to, with my father and a lot of my family still living over in America.

"I speak with them several times a week and I still go over every Christmas and try and get back when I can.

"Having said that, I am also very proud to be Irish. My mother and a lot of family live in Ireland and I love living here and playing for one of the best clubs in the country," he said.


That pride naturally extends itself to the Marino giants, who may not have enjoyed their national triumph if it wasn't for Carthy's late levelling point in the initial county final against Ballymun Kickhams last November.

Far from seeing that All-Ireland as a means to an end, Carthy believes that further success can be achieved for both himself and his clubmates. That confidence has played a significant part in his progression to date and his hunger for further honours is a trait that could serve him well in the coming years.

"I have great ambitions to win more Dublin championships with this Vincent's team.

"We have a great mix of youth and experience who also happen to be a great bunch of lads and we want to be a dominant team in Dublin football for the next few years to come.

"I also personally want to get better every time I play. I have learnt so much in the past year playing with some of my childhood idols and I want to continue to learn as much as I can, and hopefully play for Dublin and win All-Ireland titles."