Online angle

As promised, here’s the article I wrote that was published in the programme for last Sunday’s league match against Cork.

The way we follow news and sport nowadays – with instant updates around the clock – is quite simply a world away from that in which many of us grew up. Coverage of Gaelic games has followed the same pattern, with the result that it’s now possible – once you’re connected to the internet – to follow the action on a blow-by-blow basis in even the most arcane match no matter where you are on the planet.

An important part of this new world is that fans themselves have been able to get in on the action and provide their own perspective on what they see happening on the field of play. It was with the aim of establishing such an online presence that I set up the Mayo GAA Blog website just over five years ago.

My idea in starting the site was to chart Mayo’s footballing fortunes, by following all the matches, reporting on all the news and, in doing so, providing what I hoped would be a go-to place for anyone who wanted to know about what’s happening in the world of Gaelic football within the county. That’s still the aim I have today.

A complicating factor for me is that I no longer live within the county – indeed, I haven’t done so for over thirty years – but in an online world this has never struck me as any real impediment. Having been an emigrant in London for a number of years some time ago, I feel that reporting on Mayo GAA happenings from my current Dublin base possibly helps me to connect more readily with the current emigrant community. And, of course, being in the capital also affords me ready access to Croke Park, which has come in handy over the years.

When I first started the site I had vague ideas that it might one day – if I managed to keep it going – gain some resonance with Mayo GAA supporters at home and abroad. Five years on, I have managed to keep at it and in this time the site has been embraced by fellow Mayo supporters in ways that I could never have imagined back then.

This is particularly so in terms of  the way in which a vibrant online community has grown up around the site, with lively discussions on team selections, match-day performances, County Board finances and whatever else is seen as topical on any given day. A number of people have even gone the whole hog and have come on board as guest contributors on the site.

Likewise, I never would have imagined that I’d end up compiling a complete archive of the county’s league and championship results but I found that easy access to old results (along with line-ups and scorers, where this was available) was a handy thing to have at my fingertips.  Once I had begun the task of gathering these up, it just made sense to keep going and it made equal sense to upload all of the details onto the site. The full set of results – which stretch back all the way to 1902 – is there on the site waiting to be explored.

So, if you fancy sampling a fan’s-eye perspective on the Mayo Gaelic football scene, then why not drop in sometime and join in the fun? You’ll be sure of a warm welcome if you do.

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