On All-Ireland’s eve, hope for fair and thrilling game
BY this eve of All-Ireland, exiles from every corner of the globe are converging on Dublin, many still in quest of Croke Park tickets scarcer than the proverbial hen’s teeth. Irish men and women across the world are making their arrangements to tune in by various means to this intriguing Dublin-Mayo Gaelic football encounter.
It will be a full house at GAA HQ tomorrow, and across the nation we will not be surprised to find record numbers tuning in to catch this long-awaited match. People in 31 counties will want to see Mayo end their 66-year All-Ireland famine. But the Dubs are bidding for a historic three-in-a-row, and ardent supporters of GAA will take solace from further confirmation that our games are strong in the country’s biggest population centre. All of us want a hard-fought, sporting and fair game worthy of the occasion.
There is a widespread assumption that this all-conquering Dublin team, who have played sparkling and positive football all season, cannot be beaten. Yet, when you stand back from it, there is little between the sides.
It will suit Mayo to be underdogs. They have also shown immense character, overcoming a defeat in the Connacht championship to Galway and taking a gruelling and far-from-scenic route to this final via the qualifiers. They more than impressed in roundly defeating Kerry in their semi-final replay.
It is an occasion replete with talking points, following on from a superb hurling championship. We wish Dublin and Mayo all the best for tomorrow.