Thursday 23 May 2019

Clarke leads Exiles' shot at historic win


Jamie Clarke of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jamie Clarke of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Armagh native Jamie Clarke will lead New York's attack from centre-forward as they bid to record a first Connacht SFC win at the 20th attempt at Gaelic Park tomorrow (throw-in 7.15).

The Crossmaglen star is included in a strong-looking line-up that includes former Mayo player Tom Cunniffe, Roscommon defender Neil Collins and ex-Meath attacker Dalton McDonagh.

Kerry's David Culhane, who won a Sigerson Cup medal with UCC, is named at midfield alongside Shane Hogan who is one of two native New Yorkers in the Exiles' squad alongside Mike Creegan.

Manager Justin O'Halloran also has a strong-looking bench to call on including former Monaghan panellist Daniel McKenna, Clarke's Crossmaglen clubmate Aaron Cunningham and Westmeath's Keith Scally.

The New York footballers are hoping to make it 20th time lucky with Leitrim the visitors to their Bronx home.

While they have come close to a big breakthrough in the past, the Exiles have yet to win a game since they entered the championship in 1999.

New York brought tomorrow's opponents to extra-time in 2003, while Roscommon, who had spent that spring operating in Division 1, escaped with just a one-point win in 2016.

Joe Kernan's Galway were also put to the pin of their collar in 2010. That performance prompted a tweak of the rules.

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Prior to that game, any team who lost to New York were not granted a place in the qualifiers but that was changed.

That avenue is still not open to New York but the bookmakers believe O'Halloran's men have never had a better chance to make their own piece of history and are priced as short as 6/5 for this game.

New York have had to contend with the usual issues seeking challenge games. With Clarke in tow, they beat reigning All-Ireland club champions Corofin last week though the Galway side were just off the plane hours before that match.

Leitrim talisman Emlyn Mulligan is back in their line-up leading the attack after recovering from a third cruciate knee ligament injury.

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