Morning all. It’s the start of another week and in a week from now we will, I hope, be able, like Clare, to start thinking about September and our involvement in an All-Ireland final.
I was very taken by Davy Fitz after yesterday’s wonderful win for his young Banner team. He hailed their achievement of making the decider as a fantastic accomplishment in its own right and made the point that Clare have only ever been in a handful of finals so they’re delighted to be involved in another one and will give it their best shot.
And they will, you know. My in-laws are from Clare and I can still recall clearly what a day we had in Croke Park in 1997 when their last golden generation claimed a second All-Ireland in three years. Back then Clare had wonderful, confident, vocal support and I’ve no doubt that the current crop – with an incredible fourteen of their squad also chasing All-Ireland honours at U21 level too – won’t lack for the same kind of support next month either.
It’d be easy now for anyone to start raining on their parade by throwing the ‘h’ word in Clare’s direction, just as some have done to explain why the Banner lads beat Limerick yesterday. But anyone who watched that game could see that it wasn’t any hype on Limerick’s part that led to their downfall but instead it was the way a hungry, talented and committed Clare team – playing their sixth championship match to Limerick’s third, another factor surely – tore into them and never let up. They had the belief and they went for it.
That’s what our lads have been doing all summer and I have every hope that this coming Sunday they’ll go out there and address their latest challenge in the same uncompromising way. Tyrone will be tough opponents but this should be no surprise to us – this is an All-Ireland semi-final, after all – and if we’re good enough we’ll do it. And if we do it, then – and only then – we get the right, once more, to start dreaming about landing Sam.
I know I said last night that the whole discussion around hype is one that has bored me to tears – and it has – but I also think it’s one that needs to be put to bed now. And so, as I tuck it in, here is my tuppence on the issue.
Hype and the fear of hype is, to my mind, completely irrelevant. This whole issue is, I reckon, the biggest red herring that anyone has ever come up with in relation to following the Mayo football team. If we lose next Sunday (and, like everyone else, I know there’s a large danger of this) it won’t be down to hype but instead because – for whatever reason or combination of reasons – they’ll have got the better of us on the day. It really is as simple as that.
So my message to those fretting about too much hype surrounding the team is this – stop your jibber-jabber and start believing. We have a wonderful team to support and, as a Mayo supporter, these truly are days of wonder. Next Monday, the ride will either be over for this year or else we’ll once again be eyeing the summit but the dreams you dream and the hopes you voice aren’t in any way going to damage the team’s prospects.
So keep dreaming and keep hoping and to hell with any querulous thoughts that these dreams and hopes could in any sense be damaging to the cause we all so fervently believe in. It’s time to throw off the shackles, enjoy the ride and start believing in this team and their capability to deliver.