New York manager says entry to backdoor system would be huge

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New York manager Justin O’Halloran said that entry into the backdoor system for the Exiles would be a huge development for the game in the United States.

But O’Halloran, whose side embark on their 21st campaign in the Connacht SFC against Mayo on Sunday, says it doesn’t appear to be on the agenda at the moment or in the near future.

New York have never won a game in 20 attempts but O’Halloran said that the guarantee of a second game each year would be a huge help.

Last year they came agonisingly close to a first win but Leitrim came from three points down five minutes from the end of the second period of extra-time to win by a point on a 0-19 to 1-15 scoreline.

“Another game last year would have been huge for us. We put so much into the preparation for that game and then to go so close, going to extra-time and then getting caught at the death.

And then it was all over, that was the end of the year. All the preparation, everything, that was it done and dusted. It was like the old system back home.

“That match against Leitrim brought us on a huge amount and you’d imagine we would be a lot better then if we played again in the qualifiers,” said O’Halloran.

He’s now in his fourth year in charge and says one of the biggest difficulties they face is the high turnover in players.

“It’s the same every year, you nearly have to build the team from scratch. Lads change jobs, they can’t make the commitment, others go back to Ireland or shift to jobs where they can’t to training. There are multiple reasons.

“So, unless we can win that opening game, that’s it every year. It would be great to be in the qualifiers, have at least another match. You see how London benefit from it.

“But it’s not on the agenda here or at least no one has mentioned it to me. Maybe it’s for again, all of my focus is getting ready for the Mayo match,” added the Cavan native.

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