CORK native Eoin Deasy played a key role on the Westmeath hurling team who recently won the junior hurling championship title in New York for the first time in 23 years.
The St James' clubman was delighted to play his part in helping the club end their quest for hurling championship success.
“It is a huge achievement alright. I haven’t too many county medals to my name. It was great to get the win,” declared the hurling enthusiast.
The championship final was played in the home of Gaelic games in New York, the Gaelic Park venue which is located in The Bronx. The final was played the same day as the senior championship football final, which ensured a large crowd attended the double-header. Success in this year’s junior championship ensures the Westmeath hurling team will be competing in the senior grade next year. Eoin was delighted to play in Gaelic Park.
“It was a big day in the New York GAA calendar as the senior football final was played the same day, which drew a big crowd. It was vital we won the championship, as the win promotes us to senior hurling next season. This is great for the club.”
The Westmeath hurling team defeated the Ulster team in the championship final on a full-time scoreline of 1-16 to 2-9. Playing competitive GAA in a vast city such as New York requires a lot of dedication. Eoin was more than happy to commit to the cause for this season.
“We had trained very hard for this year’s championship campaign, as there was a big focus to win the title in memory of Dermot Kenny, a club member who passed away last November. We really drove it on. It can be tough to make training as we train in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
A lot of the team live near enough, but there are a few lads, like myself who travel to training. It takes me about one and a half hours to get there. Gaelic Park is two streets down, so the same journey is needed to make it to matches, but it makes the trips worthwhile after winning the championship title. It was a great end to a long season.”
Championship finals in Gaelic Park, New York are huge occasions. They attract a huge crowd, which ensures a frenzied atmosphere is always prevalent. Eoin thrived in the atmosphere which was generated on final day in the Bronx. The GAA brings together and provides a really unique sense of occasion for the ex-pats located in New York revealed Eoin.
“There was a great buzz in Gaelic Park. There was a big crowd there. Gaelic Park was a great venue for the final. I am happy to say I’ve played there a few times now.
"It’s a great facility and it is brilliant how it brings together the Irish community in New York. Before the match, I was introduced to a man from Clonakilty who’s lived in New York for 60 years.
"It’s also an experience standing for two national anthems before the games, Amhrán na bhFiann and the Star-Spangled Banner. I will treasure the experience and memories forever.”
The Cork hurler played at wing-back on the victorious Westmeath team who had last contested a championship final back in 2001. Eoin was happy with his performances and the overall standard of hurling in New York.
“I was happy with how I played. I got on a bit of ball and thankfully didn’t give away too much of it. It’s a bit of change playing on astroturf compared to the pitches at home, so that takes a bit of getting used to. My knees are not in great shape after a few falls on it. The standard is quite good.
"I watched the senior final which had players like Johnny Glynn and Austin Gleeson playing. Naturally, senior hurling is faster, but the junior hurling isn't bad at all.
"The standard of GAA across both codes in New York is strong.”
He moved to New York with his fiancee Sara in October 2018 through his work with Global Shares. He is loving his new life in the Big Apple.
“It’s a great city, brilliant to have a chance to experience it. I’ve an aunt and some family living over here too, so it’s like home from home. We’ve had plenty of visitors too since we moved so no fear of homesickness.
"Joining Westmeath was a great call. They are a great club.
"I’m playing junior football also and we have reached the semi-final stages. It’d be great to do the double.”
He still follows the fortunes of his beloved St James’ GAA Club. He is thrilled they have reached the Carbery Junior A football final for the first time in their history.
“It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully, the Mick McCarthy Cup will be in the mountain.
"I’ll fly back for the final as I couldn’t miss the occasion. It’s a proud day for the club.
"I have great memories playing for St James'. They are a great club with great people involved. There is great work being done in the underage section.
"It’s great to see my nephew James playing for the U8 team at present. There’s a great buzz around the parish of Ardfield and Rathbarry. It is amazing to see all the support for the club.”