Hazel relished time in concrete jungle
FORMER O’Donovan Rossa footballer, Daniel Hazel, recently enjoyed football success in New York when he helped his adopted club side, Manhattan Gaels, win the junior county title.
The Big Apple outfit secured county glory after they defeated St Barnaba’s by nine points after extra-time.
The Cork man was delighted to help them achieve championship honours.
“We won after extra-time,” Hazel explained. “We made hard enough work of it in the end, but it was great to get over the line.
“It was a great achievement for the club to win the title for the first time in their history,” revealed the ace footballer.
Manhattan Gaels were only formed in 2013.
The club have made a great start to their footballing journey as Daniel revealed.
“GAA can be tough sometimes, but winning always makes it worthwhile.
“The club was only formed in 2013 and we had progressed to the semifinal stages over the last couple of years, so it meant a great deal to a lot of people to finally win.
“We had a big night of celebrations after we won the championship title.
“The standard would have been good enough, not as good as the football back home obviously, but much better than I would have expected.”
Daniel moved to New York from Ireland due to his position as a financial engineer with First Derivatives.
He loved living in the Big Apple and playing football with the Manhattan Gaels.
“They were a brilliant club to play for.
“I really enjoyed playing for them.
“It is a much more relaxed approach over there. There was a great community spirit around the place within the club.
“I ended up playing with them, because a good few guys from First Derivatives, would have been part of the team.”
The GAA enthusiast has recently returned to work in Dublin.
He has great memories of his nine months’ stay in America.
“New York is a great city with a great atmosphere. It was a great opportunity for me to travel through work.
“I learned a very talented great.
“It wasn’t home though at the same time. I was happy when my work came to me with a great opportunity to move back to Dublin with the target of developing a new arm of the business.”
Two other Cork players played a key role in propelling Manhattan Gaels to junior county glory.
Daniel was thrilled to share championship glory with ace duo Hugh Curran and Darragh O’Neill.
“Hugh Curran from Newcestown training and lot and met a lot of people, which was and Darragh O’Neill from Ballinora were our sharp-shooters up front.
“Darragh got a great goal with the last kick of the game in the semi-final to get us over the line which was great.
“It’s great to have other Cork lads over there because you talk about home and have a laugh about the same old things.
“It was great to have that link. They are two very good players who played a big part in our success.”
Daniel himself played a key part in helping inspire the Manhattan Gaels to championship glory. Following a typically strong display, the talented footballer was named man of the match in the county final.
Daniel thrived playing in the fast confines of Gaelic Park which in the Bronx, New York.
“I was playing in the half-back line and I would have been relatively happy with how I played.
“I got named man of the match in the final, which was a nice accolade to receive.
“Every game out there is played in Gaelic Park which is super as the astroturf makes for a very fast and open game. There’s a great sense of Irishness up there, you can buy Tayto and Lucozade. They are the little things, but it means a lot.”
The Cork man kept abreast of all GAA developments back home in Cork during his period in New York.
Daniel has resumed playing football with O’Donovan Rossa.
He hopes to conclude his playing season with championship glory in is located the Carbery division.
“No matter where I am, I’ll always be a Skibb man.
“Honestly, I would have found it tough enough not being around home while the games were on.
“I know we didn’t have the best result against Nemo, but the lads achieved a lot this year and we blooded a lot of younger guys.
“I would be very positive for the future going forward. I can’t wait to resume training with the senior team next season.
“I am very excited about the year ahead. We have qualified for the Junior 3 Football final.
“It would be a great way to finish the year with divisional success.
“Gabriel’s will be very tough in the final and we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.
“We have a lot of experience with the likes of Martin Bohane, Niall McCarthy snr and Shane Crowley senior, so hopefully that will count in our favour.”
Daniel previously played for the Cork senior team in McGrath Cup and National league action.
He has great memories of appearing for the Rebels.
“Any time you get to represent your club at county level is an honour. I was very privileged to have been able to been a part of that set-up for a couple years and played along some legends of the game, which was great.”
O’Donovan Rossa’s Daniel Hazel is tackled by Clyda Rover’s Cian O’Sullivan during the Cork SFC relegation play off in 2106.
Daniel Hazel: He is pictured on the far left celebrating with his Manhattan Gaels colleagues who won the junior football county title in New York recently.