In this crazy, week-to-week Championship run we’ve been on all summer, it’s as if each day has its allotted role. If that is the case then today is the one where – all too briefly – we bask in the pure, unalloyed enjoyment of the win the lads secured the day before.
What a win it was. In watching the game on GAA GO from afar, I can readily concede that I only captured part of the drama and excitement of the occasion. I was still absolutely wired throughout so I can only imagine what it must have been like for those of you there. It’s a game, I reckon, that’ll live long in the memory of supporters.
From what I gather too – and this came through loud and clear on the iPad as well – you, the fans, can all take a hearty bow. That wasn’t a hushed home crowd yesterday evening, you roared like demons from first to last. You were that proverbial sixteenth man. Fair play to every one of you.
What can one say about the warriors out on the pitch? On that, I’m all but lost for words. Written off repeatedly by the so-called experts, having their credentials questioned at every turn but, when the fat’s really in the fire, they never fail to perform. I bloody love this team.
One of my favourite Mayo players this decade is Jason Doherty, a true unsung hero and such a hard-working and committed team player. It was sickening to see Doc stretchered off last night with what looks was a serious knee injury. We can all only hope and pray that the damage he suffered isn’t too bad.
Losing Jason would be another bad blow, heaped on top of all the other players we’ve lost at various stages this summer. But Mattie’s back and looked in great shape when he came on yesterday. Tom – sigh! – is back too and it’s not tempting credulity to think that Diarmuid might well make the 26 next Saturday.
In that sense, the closer we get to the prize the stronger we’re becoming. We’ll need strength in abundance next Saturday, regardless of whether it’s Dublin or Tyrone we’re up against. Either of them will be tough and, with both of them seemingly fielding B teams today, they’ll be fresh too.
That’s an advantage, no doubt, but set against this is the battle-hardened resolve that runs through our group like an electricity current. Anyone who doubted how hard we are to beat got their answer in MacHale Park last night. Now, back on our favourite pitch at HQ, does anyone really think we’ll be easy to get by next Saturday?
But let’s leave the looking ahead until tomorrow. That’s sorting out the tickets day and it’s when we start to switch the focus from the game that’s just gone to the one that’s coming up. But don’t let that spoil today. Go on – luxuriate in yesterday’s great win, the latest chapter in this odyssey we’re all on with the team. Truly, these are the days of our lives.
We’re travelling pretty much all day today ourselves so I’m not sure when I’ll get the match-day podcast episode up here on the blog. We’ve two flights to do so I may get the chance between them to sort it then but, if not, keep an eye out on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify or Podomatic as the new episode may be online for a while before I get to it.
Finally, a huge shout-out to Tom for covering the match report here on the blog again yesterday. That made our final night here more relaxed – and a bit more beer-oriented – than it otherwise would have been. Reading through Tom’s report I really got a sense of what it was like in Castlebar. When you think about it, providing in words a taste of what you’ve seen yourself is the essence of good writing. Top man, Tom.
Right, miles to go before I sleep and all that. On a summer where we’ve still got some road to travel with this great team of ours. Up Mayo.