Former O’Donovan Rossa footballer Conor McCarthy recently helped USA GAA outfit the OC Wild Geese win the Southland Cup. The GAA Club who are based in California enjoyed a very successful season. Their men’s and ladies’ teams also won the West Coast seven-a-side tournament. Conor played a key role in their triumphant season.
The West Cork football ace who moved to California in 2014 was delighted to help his new club enjoy a great season. “Overall we had a good year. The season actually only ended very recently when we won the local Southland Cup which was a great achievement. Our men’s football and hurling teams and ladies football team also won the West Coast seven-a-side tournament. The big tournament in the US is the Nationals, which were held in San Francisco in September. Our preparation for the tournament was good and we were quietly confident going up to it, but unfortunately we lost in the first round of the competition to a team from Wisconsin. The experience of competing in the National Championships was great however,” revealed Conor.
Conor has been playing with the OC Wild Geese for the last two seasons. The dual star loves representing the aptly named GAA Club who are based in California. Conor was also a strong junior hurler with Ballymartle. “I really wanted to play football and hurling again after I moved to America so I joined the OC Wild Geese club who are based in Huntington Beach. They are a fantastic club with a great group of men and women involved. We have men’s football and hurling teams and a ladies football team. We are always looking for new players as we continue to grow and become more competitive in the various tournaments across the States. A lot of Irish people join the club even if they are only on a holiday or working for a few weeks in California. We are always delighted to get new people as it all helps grow the club.”
The Cork native has been very impressed with the standard of football he has experienced during his GAA career in California. “The standard of football is very good. We have a strong Irish connection, so there are lots of good players in the area. It is the same with the other clubs in Southern California, Setanta in San Diego and Culver City Cougars in Santa Monica. We have a few guys who played inter-county at underage level and one or two lads who played hurling for their respective underage counties also. On the other local teams there are one or two guys who played inter-county at adult level. When I first moved to California in 2014, I played hurling for the first year with St. Peter’s of San Diego. This year I played with the Wild Geese who started up playing hurling again. We won the West Coast seven-a-side tournament which is an annual tournament held in San Diego. That was a big achievement considering it was our first year back in existence.”
Conor has been operating in the half back line for the OC Wild Geese football team this season. He has been pleased with his form which has contributed immensely to them enjoying such a successful season. “I have been playing in the backs, normally as a half back or sometimes I play in a sweeper role in front of the full-back line. I’ve been happy with my form overall this season. We have other players from Cork also in our panel which ensures we have good craic amongst ourselves. It’s great to have guys from Cork playing on the same team.”
The OC Wild Geese GAA Club have enjoyed relative success since the club was established in 1979. Conor hopes this latest generation of players will continue to spearhead their drive for more succcess in the foresseable future. “At times the club had quiet spells in terms of success, but in the last three or four years it has started to grow a lot with the addition of new players and the start of a ladies football team. Many of the original club players and founders are still involved and it really highlights what the GAA represents and means to people.“
Conor works for Glanbia who are based in California. Conor has developed great friendships through his love for the GAA. Conor is loving life in California and has no immediate plans to return home. “Playing GAA in America has been brilliant. It is a great way to make friends. Obviously we enjoy playing football out here, but there is also a great social aspect to the club. I work as an engineer, I started with Glanbia in 2013 in Ireland on the Graduate Program and moved to the US with them. They are a great company. I have no real plans to move home at the moment, it’s been good that I probably get home twice a year and have had my family come visit on different occasions which has been great.”
Conor still maintains a keen interest in the fortunes of his former club O’Donovan Rossa. He is confident they will enjoy a productive championship campaign next year. “I keep a close eye on the fortunes of all the Cork teams and O’Donovan Rossa. The Rossas have a great group of lads and hopefully they will have a big year in 2018.”
By John Bohane