Monday 16 July 2018

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England ENG 1

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Belgium BEL 2

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Scally driven to play on by New York's bid for historic first

Keith Scally has played for New York since 2013 (stock photo)
Keith Scally has played for New York since 2013 (stock photo)
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

New York veteran Keith Scally is asked why he keeps coming back for more and he's honest enough to tell you he's not sure.

Having played for New York since 2013, the Westmeath man is as loyal as they come considering the merry-go-round that is the New York senior panel.

They are guaranteed just one game for several months' training. But year after year, he puts his hand up for more, ultimately tempted by the chance to make history with the Exiles.

"I'm not exactly sure," he replied, when asked why he keeps coming back.

"Every year I say, 'This could be my last year'. But there is something special about a group of lads coming together and trying to do something that nobody has done before.

"I think that's just the main draw, to be on the first team to win a game over here. It would be something special."

Leitrim travel to the Bronx on Sunday with many, including the bookmakers, giving the Exiles their best chance of a win in their 20th year in the Connacht Championship.

"It doesn't matter who you are playing, there is a kind of a belief that gets you training for that four-month block every year.

Belief "If you didn't have the belief that you were going to win, it would be hard to keep coming up to Gaelic Park. As you said earlier on, Leitrim, you'd be kind of focussing on as your best chance in Connacht to kind of get an upset.

"Again, it's a great group of lads together this year that do believe this will be the first victory."

Scally is a typical New York recruit in that work attracted him but the lifestyle made him stay.

"I had a construction degree and things that slowed down there (in Ireland). So I had family in New York and I came out to them. I didn't really know how long I was going to stay and ended up working right away and haven't looked back to be honest."

The Tyrrellspass man won a pair of Westmeath titles with his club and was involved with Westmeath before travelling out, meaning he has missed out on some big days with the county including a pair of Leinster final appearances and an historic first championship win over Meath.

"Definitely (it was hard watching) those big games and it's the same with the club. You want to be involved for as long as you can and if it's realistic to do so back home. That made the likes of those (achievements) the first time they beat Meath in the championship, it was hard to look at.

"But then you think about it at the same time we have an opportunity out here to do a first as well and if we beat Leitrim it's going to make that decision to stay out here a little bit easier."

Irish Independent

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