Its all in the name

 The name of the blog? I thought out a few in my head but they didn’t quite work for me and wasn’t sure what to look for because I’m new to blogging. But a shuffle play on my iPod directed me. There is a light that never goes out. Most of you will be familiar with the classic romantic Smiths song (check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INgXzChwipY ). The song title sums up Mayo football for me. No, not the romance, good God! But that through thick and thin that flame will never extinguish. We will always be obsessed with Mayo. We’ve taken every blow fate and luck and much more besides have thrown at us and we’re still standing, still coming back for more. Ours is a light that will never go out.

People from other counties often wonder about how Mayo people remain so passionate. They offer that  no other county deserves an All-Ireland more. Well meaning sentiments but there’s an almost condescending tone to them – poor Mayo, Mayo God help us etc. They really just don’t understand though. They can’t. That’s not their fault for ours is a unique plight. Still I’d like to think that if a Kerry or a Tyrone or, with a bit of luck, a Galway, had to be put through the ringer like us, they would react no differently.

Why? Because it shouldn’t be a choice. If you follow Gaelic football, you follow the county you are from. No decision aged seven or eight about who to support a la the Premiership. A true Gael doesn’t deviate. He/she must take the rough with the smooth. Your choice is made for you and with that birthright come privileges and responsibilities.

 

Remember the day?

Remember the day?

Privileges and Mayo shouldn’t come in the same sentence plenty of people will opine. But nothing gives you a greater representation of where you are from than the GAA.  There is little that can stir the emotions like the thrill of a Connacht final against Galway. A big day in Croke Park when hope flows out in front of you like a dam rush. Fleeting moments like when Alan Dillon hit the back of the net in front of the Hill in the 2004 final when we thought maybe, just maybe the promised land was within reach. Or when Ciaran McDonald arched over that truly unforgettable winner against the Dubs in 2006 (great view from the Hogan Stand here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNDEGm5z0qk ). Further back it was more than a fleeting moment when we were six clear against Meath in 1996.

All ended with heartbreak but those moments when we dared to dream, well they were something, weren’t they? And for some it is those flashes that keep them going. For me sustenance comes with the thought of the moment when the final whistle sounds in Croke Park on a September Sunday and Mayo are the All-Ireland champions. All the heartbreak will have been atoned there and then and in a perverse kind of way will be much more enjoyable than winning in 1996. The longer something is kept at a distance, the greater the sense of conquest is. That will be worth all the devastation. Until then there IS a light that will NEVER go out.

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