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Joe Brolly Recalls Being Dragged Into Mass Brawl During New York Championship Match

Joe Brolly Recalls Being Dragged Into Mass Brawl During New York Championship Match
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Back in the day, clubs across the Atlantic had a habit of bringing in a few big names recruits to take to the pitch for important matches.

It was commonplace for teams in New York to fly over top inter-county stars just to play in one or two games, something that can only happen one a more long-term basis in the modern day.

For those players involved, it was seen as a nice time away. Heading to the Big Apple on an all expenses paid trip to play a game of ball is quite an attractive proposition. However, many soon found out that those matches were more serious affairs than they had previously anticipated.

Joe Brolly recalls his role in New York brawl


Speaking on Comhrá Le Tomás with Tomás Ó Sé, Joe Brolly recalled how he was caught in crossfire of a brawl during his brief stint as a footballer in New York.

Having been brought over alongside Derry teammate Fergal McCusker in 1993 and with the weekend having got underway with a heavy night on the town, he was a bit surprised to see the ferocious start to the game the next day before the ball was even thrown in. Brolly wasn't too enthused by the prospect of a fight, but he didn't let his teammates know that.

Me and Fergal McCusker went out for a weekend after we won the All-Ireland to play for Tyrone in the New York Championship. The last time they had gotten to the final was when the great Frank McGuigan was playing for them. Every match was a fighting match.

We went out for the weekend and thought it would be all be leisurely and good fun. That was reinforced whenever we went out, they paid for our flight and all, and they brought us straight to the pub.

This was the Saturday night. They brought us straight to the bar and said 'now lads, we're going to take it easy tonight and only have a few beers'. It was about 2am and I had at least 12 beers!

Now we were flying fit, this was a few weeks after the All-Ireland. We arrive at the pitch and they carried in a big tray of beer in a cooler box. We were laughing...

They thundered out through the door (onto the pitch). Audi Hamilton from Tyrone was playing full forward and before the ball was thrown in he just hit the full back for the other team!

It just exploded, you know. This is not a joke, the whole pitch is fighting.

My man said to me 'jesus, I'm only out for the weekend as well Joe'. I said 'we better make a pretence of it at least', so we did a bit of wrestling! This is no joke, it was like actors and we did a bit of wrestling.

Then I heard boys afterwards saying 'jesus, Brolly gave his man some beating'.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

A hardy affair. Joe Brolly did not say who won the match, but he did reveal that himself and his teammate ended up missing their flights home by a full day so the rest of the weekend probably went fairly well for them.

SEE ALSO: Joe Brolly Suggests Four Radical Rule Changes To Improve Gaelic Football

joe brolly gaa rule changes



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