Nightly News   |  February 05, 2013

Star Irish athletes help Breezy Point rebuild

The hurling and football players raised money in Ireland then arrived in Breezy Point, N.Y., to repair the community center and basketball court, which was later christened with bagpipes. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> time now for our "making a difference" report. it's been 100 days since hurricane sandy hit the northeast. even now many areas are completely decimated. but one of those neighborhoods is getting a helping hand from some visitors who are superstars back home. our "making a difference" report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk in new york's breezy point.

>> reporter: breezy point, queens, has seen a steady team of volunteer work crews. but none quite like this one.

>> if you pull back there --

>> reporter: their faces may not look familiar, but in ireland , these guys are icons. star athletes from ireland 's hurling, and football. they left stadiums at home packed with 80,000 screaming fans to come and help this mostly irish community. one of the hardest-hit by sandy. the players' first visit was just after coach pat gilroy won the all- ireland championship, ten days after the storm. did you have any idea just how bad it was?

>> no. no. we knew it was bad but nothing like what we saw when we came out here.

>> reporter: the goalie says they came to show off the trophy. but, instead, started helping out.

>> there was an old man approached us and asked us could we give him a lift with a fridge? we were delighted someone asked us to do real work.

>> reporter: after the trip the players vowed to come back. connected to the people here through shared irish heritage.

>> we're tight-knit. when you see some of your own having such devastation, we were all very touched by them.

>> reporter: the community center was wiped out, including the popular basketball court . the team raised money back in ireland to rebuild. there is plenty of green on this basketball court . if anyone had any doubt that the irish were involved in doing this. the court was christened with bagpipes and basketball. everyone thankful to get this sliver of normalcy returned.

>> it's the main focal point for the community and for the kids to see one another and to play.

>> reporter: and possibly learn a new sport in the process.

>> one of the sports, be a leader on and off the field. this is the best of what a sports player is.

>> reporter: no matter where they come from. stephanie gosk, nbc news, breezy point, queens.