Monday 22 January 2018

New York in line for happy 100th birthday by hosting league finals

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE 2014 Allianz League finals are likely to be played in New York to mark the centenary year of the GAA in the Big Apple.

GAA president Liam O'Neill has given a commitment "to look very seriously" at any request from New York to play major games in the city in 2014.

And while not specifying which competitions would be involved, he said they would feature "games that matter".

New York had sought to host the 2014 Congress but that has been rejected on the grounds that it wouldn't make economic sense to fly over 300 delegates across the Atlantic for a two-day meeting.

However, it seems New York will line up a much bigger deal in the form of big-time action.

"It opens up the possibility of us hosting a major final in New York," said O'Neill.

"After what New York has done for our Association, we would have to look at any request very seriously. The centenary is a huge event for New York."

There's no question of decamping an All-Ireland final to New York, as happened for the 1947 SFC decider, but the league finals going there is a real option.

They were played in New York over many years prior to 1990 so clearly a return on a one-off basis in 2014 offers the most practical opportunity to export a big game.

"If we're ambitious about being international we have to step off the island (Ireland) occasionally," said O'Neill. "It's something we have been talking about for a while – the idea of playing games here in New York. Far from us contributing to New York, New York contributed to us.

"So we want to recognise that and I suppose there's no better time than in their centenary year."

O'Neill also revealed that there was a possibility the All Star hurling team would travel to Shanghai in China next year. The GAA is also planning to spread coverage of its games on a wider basis internationally, through TV deals.

"Peter McKenna and his marketing team will be working on it. We want to show our games to as many people as possible around the world," O'Neill said. "Technology allows us to do that now so we hope to exploit it. The promotion of our games at home and abroad is absolutely vital and is an area we will be concentrating on.

"That's why I said after the All-Ireland hurling final draw that the three weeks' extra promotion was worth a lot more than whatever money the replay would bring in.

"The hype generated over those three weeks was invaluable for hurling."

Irish Independent

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