Show the Dubs no re­spect and Mayo CAN win!

BERNARD FLYNN’S BIG GAME VER­DICT

Irish Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALEX DUNNE news@irish­mir­ror.ie BY BLANAID MUR­PHY

DUBLIN city is trans­form­ing into a sea of blue ahead of to­mor­row’s All-ire­land fi­nal clash against Mayo.

Jim Gavin leads his tre­ble-chas­ing side into bat­tle at Croke Park as homes, streets and busi­nesses are dec­o­rated in the county colours. But behind each build­ing lies a fas­ci­nat­ing story of de­vo­tion. Yvonne Foster, of Black­ditch Road in Bal­lyfer­mot, West Dublin, has her home fully kit­ted out for the bat­tle for Sam. She told the Ir­ish Mir­ror: “I started off at the first Cham­pi­onship game, and they stay up un­til Dublin exit the Cham­pi­onship. “As the weeks progress, we keep adding, flags then bunt­ings and what­ever that comes with it.” While Yvonne’s dec­o­ra­tions have de­vel­oped into an an­nual tra­di­tion, for Michael Whe­lan, his con­nec­tions with the Boys In Blue go back that lit­tle bit fur­ther. He said: “We’ve had all the flags go­ing back since flags came out. And we’ve had them up ev­ery year the last five or six All-ire­land fi­nals. I’ve been fol­low­ing the Dubs since 1955. This is my 18th All-ire­land fi­nal.” Michael, from the Lib­er­ties, has slight dif­fi­culty walk­ing but that has done noth­ing to dampen his en­thu­si­asm. He makes it to ev­ery League and Cham­pi­onship game, even go­ing for overnight trips to Bally­bofey, Co Done­gal, and a week­end away in Tralee, Co Kerry. He added: “This year we haven’t missed a game. It doesn’t matter where they’re play­ing, we go.” His daugh­ter, who lives next door, has got in on the act and both houses are both em­bla­zoned in their beloved colours. Michael even had Amer­i­can stu­dents ad­mir­ing his home last year, and at­tracts view­ers in from all cor­ners – just like Sean White, of Palmers Grove in Palmer­stown. His lav­ish Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions have led to al­most celebrity sta­tus in the area and he hasn’t cut any cor­ners ahead of to­mor­row’s show­piece. Sean said: “It takes about two or three hours, is all. Ev­ery­thing goes up

ev­ery year.” They haven’t had time to paint the house sky blue but with the huge crest and un­furled flag, there’s no doubt where their hearts lie. The door of Ray Cal­laghan’s house on Cap­tain’s Road in Crum­lin is an­other shrine to Dublin GAA. He said: “It’s been up since the very first Cham­pi­onship game against Car­low.” The fam­ily have been to ev­ery game, both for the men’s and women’s match since the start of the sea­son but they haven’t had the house dec­o­ra­tion all their own way. A Mayo-sup­port­ing neigh­bour has been try­ing to take down all the blue Ray is putting up. He joked: “She’s try­ing to hide all my flags.” The Lawlor fam­ily on Cashel Road, just a short drive away, will also be in good spir­its, af­ter be­ing caught in the mid­dle of a cof­fee morn­ing for Our Lady’s Hospice. The event raised more than €2,000 last year, but hus­band Luke ad­mit­ted his role in the event didn’t ex­tend far be­yond test­ing the treats. He said: “She does all the bak­ing, I do all the eating. “We raised two grand last year, and this year she’s hop­ing to beat that. “It just so hap­pens it co­in­cides with Dublin win­ning the All-ire­land on Sun­day.” Con­fi­dence is not lack­ing in the cap­i­tal, with ev­ery­one chip­ping in to take over the city scape with sky blue and navy and all the fans pre­dict­ing a Dublin vic­tory. And not only will they win, some sup­port­ers think they could romp home to an­other Sam Maguire tri­umph by 10-point thrash­ing. IMELDA May will sing the na­tional an­them ahead of to­mor­row’s match. Last month, she per­formed Amhran na bh­fi­ann in Las Vegas be­fore the Conor Mcgre­gor-floyd May­weather bout. The Air Corps are also set to do a fly pass of Croke Park to­wards the end of Amhran na bh­fi­ann.

PURR-FECT Even cat is a fan

LEADER Jim Gavin

CAP­I­TAL GAINS Fans gather in Crum­lin yes­ter­day

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