O’Halloran: NY can pull off ‘crazy’ upset against Mayo

New York manager, Justin O'Halloran.

New York boss Justin O’Halloran admits his side will be underdogs against Mayo in next month’s Connacht SFC opener — but is relishing the tag.

The Cavan native — who has been in charge of the New York team since 2016 — says it would be “something seriously crazy” if the hosts are to upset the odds in the Big Apple on May 5, but insists that anything is possible.

“We were in a similar position in 2016 when we were preparing for Roscommon,” he said.

We were coming to training every Sunday morning when Roscommon were beating the likes of Kerry and Donegal, losing narrowly to Dublin, and then getting to a league semi-final.

“So it was hard to keep the lads motivated that time; we were telling them not to worry about Roscommon, but worry about what we were doing and, lo and behold, we went out and pressed them high up the field, got some breaks and took advantage of them and were only beaten narrowly.

"So you never know. If the underdog was never to win, the underdog would never play. We’re the underdog, [but] we’re going out to win and if we perform to our highest ability and Mayo don’t have their best day at the races, there’s a chance we could be right there until the end.”

O’Halloran says New York are without “10 or 11” of the starting team that lost to Leitrim by a single point after extra time last year.

But the likes of former Kildare senior footballer Sean Hurley and Roscommon star Cathal Compton are in the set-up this year.

Former All-Star nominee Daniel Flynn was involved for a month until he returned home to Kildare recently, while Galway hurler Johnny Glynn is training with the team but won’t be togging out due to hurling commitments. O’Halloran highlights the seven homegrown players on the panel as GAA continues to prosper in the city.

“New York football is coming up,” he said.

“Players want to play now; they want to come out and tog for New York. Players have huge pride to do that now. 

It was hard when we were getting beat by 20 points every year; it was hard to motivate everyone to go again, but it’s changed now.

“We’re telling the lads to just keep plugging away. You might not beat Mayo for skill, but if you can match them for work rate and effort, we will be fine.”

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