Well, thuggery on the club scene notwithstanding, the sun is continuing to shine on us here. (Maybe even on Ronan too, if the fact that his fractures are hairline ones could mean that he might yet play some further part in this year’s championship). This morning, we took to the seas in the pirate ship pictured here and a jolly old morning it turned out to be, an event that involved plenty of aaaaarghing and such like (most of it in Italian) as well as a rather satisfactory water fight with a sister pirate ship.
After all that, I’m in quite a good mood so I thought I’d spread some positivity around the place. To this end, I’ve been looking at this “we haven’t won in Pearse Stadium since Cuchullain was a pup” business and I’m happy to report that it’s much less of a millstone than it might appear at first glance to be. Sure, the last time we beat the Herrin Chokers in the championship at Salthill was on the 25th of June 1967 when, in the first round of the Connacht championship, we felled the three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions by 3-13 to 1-8. So, yes indeed, we haven’t won at that godforsaken hole of a venue for the past 42 years.
But, the thing is, we’ve only played the hoors there in the championship a paltry five times in the intervening years since then. We drew with them at Salthill in the 1969 provincial decider before finishing the job on them back at McHale Park and then we didn’t meet them there again until the Connacht final of 1984. I recall that one so clearly: I was there to see for myself one of those shoulda-coulda-woulda matches that we left behind us due to a variety of reasons as a declining Galway edged us out by four points.
Another long gap – 19 years this time – ensued till we met them there again and in that 2003 final we were going grand till just before half-time when a missed penalty for us and a goal for them altered the whole course of the game. Another four-point loss was how it ended up. Then, in the sweltering heat of July 2005, they narrowly edged by us on a 0-10 to 0-8 scoreline in that year’s final while the last time we met there was, of course, that calamitous first round defeat we suffered at their hands in 2007.
And that, hombres, is the full extent of the “hoodoo”: one draw and four defeats in five games played over a period spanning more than four decades. Seen in this light, the hex that they are said to have on us at the venue stops a fair distance short of what might rationally be regarded as fearsome. Sure didn’t they endure an even worse championship run – five defeats on the spin – at McHale Park between 1988 and 1997?
The only aspect of our Pearse Stadium record that would, however, concern me is what has happened since 2003. All of those matches were, in one way or another, winnable but we contrived to lose all three of them. But even then my sunny disposition shines through: Sunday week is well past time to put all that to rights.
So I think we can put this hoodoo nonsense to the back of minds, recalling, as we do so, Super Mac’s wonderful retort when asked for his opinion after we’d finally taken the infinitely more fearsome Tuam citadel back in 1997. As a result, this is the last word you’ll hear from me about hoodoos ahead of throw-in on Sunday week and, if you’ve any sense, it’ll be the last mention you make of it too. As The Man said, fuck the hoodoo.