Better start going to Mass


I can’t avoid it. Everywhere I turn I see it, I hear it and most of all I’m beginning to feel it.

I got my haircut in Kelly’s in Castlebar the day after the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary. The hairstylist and I discussed the atmosphere of both the game and the county as a whole. We both agreed that it didn’t feel like we were in a final at all.

Nobody seemed pumped. Everyone was ecstatic, happy, joyful and all the rest but nobody seemed pumped and after the display of football we’d witnessed the day before, nobody seemed optimistic.

I waited and waited for the hype and mania around the county to start. I thought maybe once September comes, that’s when we’ll see the bunting, banners, flags and jerseys aplenty and the constant talk of tickets and travelling. As if there was a certain date in September where the ‘All- Ireland preparation’ scheme gets under way.

As I drove up to my college orientation on the 1st of September I noticed something which started it all off for me. Leaving at the unreasonable time of half-six in order to beat the Galway traffic, a feat which I still have not managed, I was stood to a halt somewhere in between Ballinrobe and Headford.

I turned to my left and there I saw it, a field which had a sign “Up Mayo” incorporated in big letters into the grass. I thought I was sleep deprived, the traffic moved on a small bit and as I came to a halt again, Sam Maguire was staring back at me. The trophy too had its place in the field.

Returning home that evening with a less tired mind than on my way up, I passed the same field again but this time was met with “Mayo For Sam”, a sign that was invisible to my view on the way up apparently. I laughed and just thought we’re a crazy bunch in Mayo. Painting sheep, painting cars, painting houses – we’ll paint anything in green and red.

I was amazed to see the support that Mayo have got up in Galway. Petrol stations, shops and houses have taken our flag and amalgamated it with their own. The two flags stand together proudly in support of each other: you wouldn’t have gotten that back when we met in June!

I have failed to find a house in Galway yet, so a good two or three hours of my day is spent in the car commuting. If you are stopped in traffic in the city centre, you can identify at least three cars with some Mayo attire on them or in them. Flags being the obvious spots but that’s no fun, you want to see the discreet wristband which rests comfortably on the gear stick, or the cotton plaits that dangle down around the rear-view mirror.

I have a very small green and red teddy bear which sticks on my back window. I was near the Headford Road shopping centre and this car started violently flashing me. As she pulled into the lane beside me and rolled down her window, I was ready for some stern words to be exchanged. Instead she shouted “I love your teddy, I hope we do it!” She nearly crashed into the car in front of her in fits of laughter when she heard it was called Ciaran Mac Junior!

Assignments and essential readings for college have been put on the back burner. I couldn’t stomach a 13-page read on an article about Media Law in Ireland. I returned home Tuesday evening last to find that the mothership had done her weekly paper shop. The Western People and Mayo News both lay in front of me. Thirteen pages of Media Law? No thanks! 130-odd pages on the All-Ireland final? I’ll take that, thank you.

The hype is here and not a minute too soon. You can’t avoid it, why would you want to? I went to the library in the hope of completing some of my college assignments before the big day. There was a fella wearing a Mayo training top in front of me as I sat down and almost instantaneously I began writing this article instead.


Photo: Irish Examiner

Sure even the alter in Westport church has been redecorated in Mayo colours in the lead-up to this game. Which reminds me, I’d want to get myself down there and say a few prayers before Sunday.

15 thoughts on “Better start going to Mass

  1. Sooner it comes the better, I would much prefer to be asleep at 4.10am but woke thinking about Sunday and decided to check the blog. Now I am too hyped to sleep. Think I’ll try to count dubs!!! UP MAYO

  2. I have been reading a lot of post now over the last few months since we have got beaten by Galway our goose was cooked and so on before the Tyrone game everyone said it was the end of the road and they had reason for there comments in some cases just because most media outlets don’t give us a chance on Sunday it does not mean we shouldn’t turn up sometime in mayo we get too caught up in the media and what they say our form has been patchy through the year but our character and resilience has been immense Dublin are on a 27 game unbeaten run and are deserving favourites but someone putting ink to paper saying they can’t see mayo winning doesn’t mean we shoundt turn up this mayo team love playing Dublin they know what it takes they will find a way everyone should enjoy the next few days and not be too worried about the media

  3. Great article thanks Darragh. From the sounds of it you probably were’nt born in 96. Amazing the obsession goes on over the generations. This is it. This is the year of Mayo4 Sam

  4. Seperated by land and sea but the Hype has still travelled to London this year. It’s a ticket that Hype has bought and paid for too many years only to find it was a one way ticket.
    Let’s hope he travels back to Mayo this year with his buddy Sam sitting next to him.

  5. I hope mayo can do it this time living down here in Donegal I see more mayo flags then I see up in my home county its shows how low key it is back home I just hope Monday iam back in mayo welcome n the Sam back not at work in Donegal the boss said if mayo win take 3days off full pay nice of him or does he think like so many mayo no chance I don’t know Dublin only 15 men against 15 mayo men I say drive them in to the middle of next week the Dublin jacking’s wish I was at the game but could not get a ticket so come Friday evening I am heading back home to the green and red father foys grave first stop Saturday see can he work the extra bit of magic

  6. Right just off to work for last day this week only a four day week but felt like a month. Tomorrow I fly to Dublin for the weekend been at every final since 89 but when speaking to my son last night who flys in on Saturday we both agreed it feels different this time lets hope we are right we have been close in finals had heart ache been battered so only thing left is win it. Have promise of ticket let’s see if it materialises great if does if not I just want to be there hoping and praying that we Mayo people experience the ecstasy of the feeling of being the best team in Ireland.

  7. What is she playing at? Not even Tds should be entitled to a ticket!
    Pay your club membership or get a season ticket or chairde ticket end of.

  8. You could not make it up the hypocrisy of politicians has no ends. Get out and get a ticket like the rest of it. She should be ashamed of herself here’s hoping she never gets elected again. Sorry for rant but it’s a joke.

  9. Poor old Michelle. No ticket for our Senator. Jesus wept. She is another who never attends club or county games and now wants the GAA to give her a FREE ticket. Run along dear. Maybe if she made a few long distance calls, or even called into her colleague Paddy Bourke he might be able to get her one, failing that I’m sure former junior minister for sport Michael Ring will get her a Hill 16 slot. I know our Pat Hickey is not now available, if only?

  10. TD’s are entitled to Two tickets, and al elected representatives receive complimentary tickets for all matchs other than the All Ireland final. I remember some poor woman being persuaded to vacate her seat for Deputy Eamon O Cuiv last June, 5 mins before throw in, to get soaked wet.. Senator Michelle Mulhearne, you were very naive and have let yourself open to ridicule, deservedly so. But maybe you have done us all a favour as it does show the political patronage exercised by the GAA, which itself is very political, not always for the common good either. Discrimination, my arse..The Senate itself is nothing but an elitist club,. Everyone in the country has to pay for it, but it’s only a small :elite’ who decides who should be there! no one is ever elected to by common sufferage.! Is it any wonder in. Ireland that we have no effective legislation dealing with ‘ticket touting’.. All these politicians are paid with huge expenses, they are all there to serve the public. They certainly serve themselves very well!

  11. Ah….Michelle slips up an odd time like the rest of us. Hopefully the only slipping up that ll be done by our fellas on Sunday will be up those feckin steps !

  12. Thanks Willie Joe
    I come on this site to get away from that shite. We have enough to do fighting the Dubs without criticising our own

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