Hazel rel­ished time in con­crete jun­gle

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport -

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.

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