Thursday 26 April 2018

London is calling for cake's overdue apology

Kevin McStay. (Picture: Ray Ryan)
Kevin McStay. (Picture: Ray Ryan)

Peter Canavan

Last year, former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran came out with a withering attack on the footballers of London - questioning their "worth" to the Connacht championship after their seven-point defeat to his native county.

I know Shane fairly well and I was surprised by his comments. Leave aside that teams like Kildare and Longford would later suffer 27-point pastings to Kerry and Dublin - and indeed Sligo (subsequent conquerors of Roscommon!) would suffer a 26-point drubbing at the hands of Mayo - the fact remains that he missed the point.

London's participation in the championship is not about fulfilling a fixture, it is much bigger than that. The reason they, and New York, participate in Connacht is to maintain the strong link that exists in the GAA between those who've left these shores and those they left behind.

Football in London, just like the development of Casement Park in Belfast, is an issue which has huge potential and I plan to expand on this at a later date.

I've experienced at first hand the all-consuming passion of our exiles for our Games. I was involved last year with one of London's newest clubs, Fulham Irish who were formed just ten years ago.

While coaching there, I came across men Liam Barry (Limerick), John Doyle (Carlow), Seamus McNelis (Tyrone) and Jim Clair (Meath). They all left Ireland 25 years ago, yet their enthusiasm for all things GAA is incredible. They, and their players, see it as part of their identity.

This is underlined by the fact Sunday's clash with Mayo in Ruislip has sold out. It's doubtful there'll be a shock, but have no doubt that all in London GAA will, again, prove their worth.

Indo Sport

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