York managers love of Donegal
Connie Molloy, proud Ardara and Donegal man
Donegal won the 1992 All-Ireland SFC final, they were captained
by Anthony Molloy from Ardara. Anthonys brother Connie is
current manager of the New York senior footballers. The whole family
will be back on Irish soil on September 23rd as Jim McGuinness
charges bid for glory at Croke Park.
Im here 30 years; I came out in 1982, Connie told
hoganstand.com during the course of a trans-Atlantic phone call.
I always wanted to come to America and I had an uncle here
and other relations as well. I was originally brought out to play
football in Boston and I came over with a good friend of mine, Brendan
Dunleavy. We played for St Pats that summer and were beaten
in the championship final. I had played for Ardara in the Donegal
championship that year as well and also played for Donegal in the
New York championship three different championships in the
I had a return ticket home for Christmas but my uncle gave
me some good advice he said what would you be going
home to? and I stayed.
Ardara was the home club and I played all grades with them,
winning the SFC in 1981 after a 59-year wait. We had lost the 1980
final to Kilcar, when Martin McHugh did the damage. My brothers
Anthony and Lanty were both on that team. Lanty was quite a player
and, in fact, it would have been argued around Donegal and around
the parish that he was the best footballer in the Molloy house.
But he was a free spirit and he liked to travel and he came to the
States, too, and is also still out here.
Connie himself represented Donegal at minor, U21 and senior levels.
In 1979, he was part of the squad that reached the Ulster SFC final
but missed out due to a knee injury. When he got to New York, he
just kept playing
and playing (!)
CJ Molloy continues the family tradition of lining
out at county level, this time with New York
played well past my sell-by date, he concedes. I managed
to play some junior football alongside my son, CJ, when he was about
to make the breakthrough. I played for a long time and was lucky
enough to win six SFCs and a couple of junior titles.
Some of the men Connie lined out alongside include Pat Spillane
and Larry Tompkins as well as a host of others that reads like a
Whos Who of gaelic football back home. In 84,
we lost two finals on the one day and half the Donegal team was
out here, but then the rules changed and they tightened the thing
up a bit.
The Donegal club in New York won the IFC this year, which was a
worthy achievement. Back in 2000, Connie was manager of the side
that won the first of three successive SFCs, only to be beaten in
the 03 final as they went for the four-in-a-row. The likes
of Anthony Lynch from Cork and Donegals JP Boyle were over
playing on that team.
Connie took over as manager of New York last year the first
year of a two-year term: Ill be there again for the
2013 clash with Leitrim, he confirms. At this stage
of the year you are trying to get to all the games and to watch
as many players as possible but you have the same issues to deal
with every year: its very hard for players to commit to the
county team from January with only one game on the horizon four
or five months later. You cant get meaningful challenge games
etc. out here but hopefully around Spring time we will be able to
get some county teams or good club sides over for challenges. Its
all about funds then
Maybe well invite Donegal out. St Patricks Day
is a huge occasion in New York and it would be nice to see them
on Fifth Avenue as All-Ireland champions.
Theres no back door for New York its straight
in for one game and they were out. We need to get some teams
out to play us, to let us know where we stand before we enter the
Connacht championship on May 1st. The speed of the game being played
by county teams at home is way ahead of us out here and thats
a big problem.
Born in New York, Connies son CJ was on the county team last
year and will almost certainly feature again in 2013. A prodigy
of the Celtic clubs minor ranks, he has been playing senior
football since he was 15. His grandfather on his mothers side
is from the Austin Stacks club in Tralee, which has over 100 All-Ireland
medals to its name, something CJ is very proud of!
On September 23rd, Connie Molloy will be back in Croke Park for
the 2012 All-Ireland SFC final, where Donegal will lock horns with
Mayo. Twenty years ago, on the occasion of the Tir Chonail mens
only other All-Ireland final appearance, it was his brother Anthony
who had the privilege of walking up the steps of the Hogan Stand
to collect the Sam Maguire Cup!
Words cant describe what Jim McGuinness has done in
two years. Its been an unbelievable turnaround. People might
have been critical of the style of play but winning matches is what
its all about. This year he has pushed it on a bit and nobody
can fault their style of play now. Its very uplifting from
a Donegal mans point of view.
The whole set-up is brilliant, the work rate, the management
of it and the way the players are prepared to empty the tank when
they go on the field.
And kudos to Paddy McGrath, who will fly the flag for Ardara.
I went to school with his mum, Marian, at Glenties Comprehensive,
which was where it all began. Thats where we started to play
the game. Of course, Jim McGuinness went there too.
Theres a huge gang of us coming home for the final and
well stay for the week at least. My brother Frank, myself,
the wife, CJ
hopefully well have something to celebrate.
Id like to take this opportunity to wish Jim and the team
all the best on All-Ireland final day.