Right proudly high over Dublin town, they hung out that flag of war

Up Mayo no matter where you go. Isn’t that what they say? I haven’t been doing much hupping for my county this week at all. In fact, it’s been the complete opposite for me. You see, I work in an office that is bombarded with Dubs and work for a website that focuses on all things Dublin. 

When writing about the ticket fiasco this week – and we will get back to that, don’t you worry – I had to write it from the view that “disappointed Dubs were left heartbroken” as they were without tickets. Secretly hoping that every ticket that didn’t go into the hands of a Dub was sailing into the postbox or email address of a Green and Red fan.

Dublin Live has an amazing GAA preview show called ‘To The Hill and Back’ hosted by two of the Irish Mirror’s most talented writers. Given the week that was in it, I got the call up to join them for this week’s video. 

Two instructions: Go to St. Mark’s GAA club in Tallaght and bring a Mayo jersey. 

I’m thinking Tallaght … wearing a Mayo jersey as some of the biggest Blue heads turn up to talk about how they were going to beat us.

I’ll have a bit of that.

I was quizzed on team selection, match-ups, fitness and fatigue. In a room full of Dubs, I was the only Mayo person or so I thought. After we thanked the club for having us, one of the members pointed to the bar manager and said “She’s one of yours too”. 

“Where are you from in Mayo?” she asks.

“Ah, you probably wouldn’t know it” is always my answer. 

(I come from a village that’s nestled somewhere in between the triangle of Tourmakeady, Killawalla and Westport).

“Try me”, she replies. 

Know it? Didn’t she only come from the next village up. Knew my father, mother, extended family and was even a bar person in our local pub and served my parents drinks before she exiled up to Dublin almost 30 years ago.  There’s something truly great about that and straight away I felt more at ease in that clubhouse bar, knowing that there was another Mayonian to back me up in any argument that may arise.

One of us is loud, two of us are better but thousands of us are unstoppable. 

The Donegal game was electric. I haven’t seen the place like that in years. We rallied behind the team when needed and when that final whistle went, it was an explosion of sound. 

Well, when I looked back on The Sunday Game, I realised how loud it was. At the time, I was too busy banging on my chest like a deranged lunatic and trying not to be bowled over by my friends and an auld lad who was watching the game in front of us. He had nobody to hug but one of my friends made sure that he dragged him into the huddle that we were having. It’s a beautiful moment of affection that cannot be beaten. 

And the cheers kept going as we spilled out of MacHale Park right up until we watched what would be dubbed The Coma in Omagh. 

It had to be Dublin, both Mayo and Dublin fans wanted this to happen and you can imagine that it’s exactly what the GAA’s wildest of dreams looks like. (Promise we’ll get to the tickets soon).

Why Dublin fans wanted it to happen? I can’t speak for all Dubs but from the many I have talked to, they weren’t going to be content with clinching the five-in-a-row without coming up against their old enemies. 

In their eyes, they wanted Kerry and Mayo. It didn’t matter in what order but if they were to truly solidify their place as the greatest ever to have played, rather than just sit on par with the four-in-a-row Kerry team of the 70s into 80s, they wanted to do it while settling scores with old rivals.

Why Mayo fans wanted it to happen? We just don’t fear the Dubs. Sure, we could have gotten Tyrone and had a somewhat easier – and I use the word easier lightly – task of getting through. But we don’t like easy, if it was easy we were after, sure we would have done it by now.

If this was a superhero movie, Dublin would be the evil bad guy and Mayo would be the fan favourite who was left for almost certain death mid-way through the story. Everyone knows how film writers would pen this one and it’s the same outcome Mayo fans would hope for Saturday: the hero would rise from the dead and stop the bad guy in their tracks just at the final scene.

We are going into this game the way we would want to go into it, with nobody giving us a prayer. I remember looking at teletext before the ’06 final and reading the preview of the game before scrolling my eyes to the verdict. Mayo. Straight away I knew we were destined to fail that day. 

We love the underdog tag and long live the underdog. There’s nobody thinking about an All-Ireland final yet. Hell, there’s nobody even thinking past the first half of the Dublin game yet. We’re not shouting it but we know we can beat the Dubs. 

We have one thing over this current magnificent batch of players that nobody else has. They fear us. 

We have never once gave them an easy ride in Championship. It’s always been down the wire, with players in fifth gear and calling on the reserve tank. 

Sure, they’ll be looking at final records and remembering their medals in their back pocket from those tight encounters. But what about 2012? What about 2006? We can beat Dublin and we can beat them in Croke Park, let’s not forget that.

They haven’t been tested properly once this year with the exception, perhaps, of the first 55 minutes of the Cork game. They’ve slipped in and out of The Coma in Omagh so let’s shock them back into life with the defibrillator and let them know that they’ve met their match. Half of the effort will come from the players but the other half has to come from us. 

And that brings us on to the tickets. It’s a farce of a system and this is how farcical it is. I waited in an online queue for five hours on Tuesday. I was number 1000 and something, relatively close to the top or so I thought when I started at 10am. 3pm comes, queue is paused. “No more tickets”. 

The GAA Director of Communications is on RTE Radio 1 the next morning saying that it was a “big, big ask of the system” and they didn’t expect there to be such a high demand.  For the love and honour. If an alien came down and asked you to explain the last five years of GAA football history and you told him who was playing on Saturday, even they would have the common sense to realise the “demand would be high”. 

Fast forward 24 hours, with no prior heads-up from the GAA or any ticketing partner, more go on sale.

This time, I queue at 10am but I’m launched into purchasing them within an hour. My good friend John Brennan had skipped in before me and got a group of us tickets but I still bought a few myself and dished them out to Mayo fans. As I said earlier, for every ticket not heading in the direction of a Jackeen …

It’s completely unfair on the ‘real fans’. I’m talking about the ones who were soaked watching FBD games, frozen watching league games, who travelled to Down, Limerick, Kerry.

I don’t even fall under that category. With my line of work, there’s just some weekends you can’t get off. I wasn’t at the Kerry game, I couldn’t get the Armagh game off. I was at half the league games and one FBD.  It’s only right that someone who has been to more games than me deserves first preference when it comes to a game like this and same for me for someone who has been to fewer games than I have.

To those who are going to miss the game, roar loud from whatever electronic device you may be following the game on. To those with a ticket, I don’t want to meet one Mayo person after the game who can talk.

As my housemate and I travelled back up from Mayo at the end of the Bank Holiday, we made sure we had the Mayo flag up with us. Here it is.

Photo: Darragh Berry

Much like the size of the dog, it doesn’t matter about how big the flag is, it’s about where you hang it.

And right proudly high over Dublin town, we hung out that flag of war.





25 thoughts on “Right proudly high over Dublin town, they hung out that flag of war

  1. Mayo will beat Dublin this Saturday. Its like fate waiting in the long grass for these 5 in a row chasing Dubs. Now is our time so lets take it. Do these lads want that Celtic Cross you bet they do. Written off time and time again by the so called Experts they have rallied to the Mayo Cause and now stand in the way of the All Ireland Champions. They wont beat Galway, Donegal will hammer them. They picked themselves up and went again and again. What Heart, what commitment what Courage, belief and determination. The PRIDE these Men have installed in all of us Mayo people, the Joy they have given us and here they go again. Is there a Seamus Darby in this Mayo Team? Yes there is. Kerry were gunning for it in 82 and an unknown Sub came off the bench to scuttle the Kingdom. Fergal Boland, James Carr, FionnMc Donagh or could it be the Master himself Andy Moran? We have Cillian and Diarmuid , Kevin Mc or Darren Coen what a bench for the first time We Can WIN We will Win. Mattie Ruane is back as is Tom Parsons the Warriors Aidan and Seamie. A Full Back and Half Back Shield Barrett, Higgins, Durcan , Harrisson, O Donoghue, The Enforcers Boyle and Keegan. A choice of top 2 Goalies in Ireland, of course the Dubs are Vulnerable, of course they Respect Mayo and are Favourites. But……….
    This Band of Brothers are Battle Hardened, Fit, Skillful and Ready. Lets take the heartbreak of the last few years and turn it into an unbreakable resolve to go out once more and win, its in our hands not Dublins. We alone have it within to break this Dublin lock. Our Mighty Mayo Footballers have heard the battle cry last Saturday and Momentum is now with us. One on One we can take the Dubs lets believe we can do it. Down, Armagh, Galway, Meath, Donegal, Dublin, Kerry.
    Mayo will do it Mayo to do It Mayo for Sam. I believe in these Mighty Mayo Men lets. Get behind them and turn Croke Park into Mc Hale Park.
    Lads believe in yourselves as you always do. We dare to dream. Seamus Darby in 82 , Andy Moran in 2019?
    Mayo Team v Dublin

    Barrett. Harrisson. O Donoghue

    Keegan. Boyle. Higgins

    Kevin Mc

    Ruane. S O Shea

    F Mc Donagh. A. O Shea. J. Carr

    D Coen C O Connor

    Safe Travelling to All. Shout our lungs out. The very Best of Luck to our Fantastic Mayo Team, Panel and Management. Now is for the Hammer. James to have plan A, B and C for the Dubs.
    Mhuigheo Abu.

  2. By golly Heather is Rising..that’s magnificent! Great uplifting words! Hope our men are doing well and getting ready for the battle of their lives. We right behind ye.

  3. What happens very proud of this Mayo team all I want is a good performance pressure is on the dubs

  4. Brilliant articles.
    A small “correction”.
    When I first started following Mayo over 70 years ago, we always chanted
    “Up Mayo wherever you go”. I wont do it for another 70, but as long as I can I WILL.


  5. Let’s ensure we have big crowd in to support our Minor team. Hopefully these young lads will set the tone for the weekend like they have in the previous 2 matches,

  6. Dear The Heather is rising,you picked a good Mayo team there ,why did you drop Paddy Durkan by the way ???

  7. Great article.
    Out of interest (anticipation, boredom etc.) I watched the first half of the Dublin -Roscommon game. Roscommon discipline let them down early and they just weren’t tight enough on their men. In saying that they had three clear cut goal chances in the first 25 minutes. We have to be ruthless if we are to beat Dublin.
    Michael Murphy is right, we need to put up about 1-20 or 2-20 to fininsh them of. Holding them down the other end is obviously key as well. They have been working on the high ball into Con O’C throughout the summer and this killed Roscommon in the first 25 minutes. I’d put Harrison on Con and instruction should be to punch it away when it comes in high. Boyle sweeping up out in front to pick up the loose ball. Sounds easy!
    The Dubs won’t like the sight of Carr, Durcan and McDonagh running directly at them. As Cian O’Neill said, they’ll back themselves in those one on ones but those three lads have the pace to get by. What we need to execute better though is the ball across the square to a free man. On three or four occasions against Donegal, Cillian was free on the corner of the square and we didn’t look up to pick him out. We need to be ruthless and take our goal chances.
    If we do go ahead then we need to keep the foot on the accelerator. We all saw what the Dubs did to Tyrone in the final last year. They had that purple patch when they went behind and in a flash, it’s over as a contest. They will press the kickouts and they will be ready for those long kicks bypassing midfield into the half forward line. If we leave AOS and SOS in the middle they will do what they did to us in 2013 and from the kickouts, sprint out to the sides and kill those lads for pace. We have to be ready for this and this is why Ruane needs to start and half backline needs to push up. It’s not possible for us to play a sweeper and put a man for man press on their kickouts. Does this mean we abandon the sweeper and go man for man? I think that’s the only way we can win this.
    We need that intensity shown in the Galway and Donegal game and up it another gear and maintain it for 80 minutes. That is not going to be easy. Especially with a six day turnaround. It’s going to be a day at work today and waiting for throw in on Saturday.

  8. One way to stop a well oiled machine is to through in a fistful of grit. Mayo have have no shortage of Grit!

  9. “Now thrive the armourers, and honour’s thought reigns solely in the breast of every man”.

    Time to bring war and unleash the hurt this Dublin team have inflicted on us too many times.

  10. Great piece and following similar lines to my own thoughts. They hate us because they fear us. Simple as. They want us to bow before the altar of Gavin and listen to his pontificating bullshit. They want us to take our beating and stay west of the Shannon and not get notions above ourselves. We won’t do it and we never did. And we won’t do it on Saturday either. We didn’t do it in 1985 when Padden ripped Mullins a new one in midfield and the Jackeens had to resort to thuggery (see, they did it back then too!) as an “un-named” Dublin player kicked and broke the jaw of the John Finn, as he lay on the ground! Big brave man? I apologize, that’s their Corinthian Spirit I keep forgetting about, sorry.
    I will put my cards on the table. I can honestly say there is no team I dislike more than them and I’m married to a Dub. Such is my near-hatred for them I find it difficult to respect them as a fabulous team and admit that they are actually good. That’s all on me, I know, but I even hate the sight of their jerseys. I hate all the advantages they have over every other county in the country, financially, geographically and demographically. I hate the bullshit excuses and lies that are made up just to keep them in Croke Park. I hate the fact that they think they “own” the Hill (not to mention that fact that half of the idiots in there actually believe it was built from the rubble of 1916!). I hate the huge advantages their “amateur” players have over every other player in the country, e.g. travel agent “partners” so they get discounted holidays, fully prepared meals and food delivered to their front door, to name just a few that I know of.
    There is nothing that would bring me greater joy than to stop them in their tracks. It’s such a huge ask though, for the reasons laid out above, but it is not beyond us. There is something about this year in the way we have kept on going, doing just enough to get through, losing players, getting players back, and yet still finding a way to keep progressing. I think we can drag them down in to a pure dogfight, ideally in bad weather conditions, and bring them to the deepest, darkest of wells that only we know how to get out of. We have a totally free shot at them as no-one is giving us a snowballs chance in hell. Let’s wire in to them and hit them so hard their grandparents will feel it.
    Regardless of Saturday evening, I am happy with the progress we have made this year, the league win being a just reward for our battle hardened heros, along with uncovering some fresh new talent that is first team material already (McDonagh, Coen and Carr) and further potential in Eoin McDonagh and McCormack. Some exciting talent coming through, particularly at minor, and the fire still burns bright.
    To finish, If I see one “sunglasses in the hair brigade” Mayo supporter sitting quietly on Saturday, scrolling through the iPhone 10, I will throw them and their phone out of Croker myself! We are not there for the scenery, we are there to play our part. So make your ticket count.
    Rant over.
    Hon Mayo.

  11. I don’t really think they fear us Why would they. They have beaten us on every occasion (other than draws) in all games since 2012. I’d say the genuine Dub fans and indeed the team and management respect us as we have given them a greater challenge than anyone in the last 7-8 years. The idiotic element of their fan base don’t respect anyone (other than Man Utd and Liverpool etc) and they just engage in their verbal and on line abuse but I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Until we beat them there is no great point blowing our trumpet. We have played superbly against them, had dreadful luck both self inflicted and otherwise but we have not beaten them since 2012 and we almost blew a big lead that day as well. We have carried the baggage of history while they have carried possibly the greatest panel ever assembled. Our players have been mighty in so many of those games. But on Saturday next our players are being asked to play for the seventh time in eight weeks and that is simply neither right nor fair. On days when we got an equal break and got our match ups right we were exceptionally close to them. On this occasion we are not getting an even break so our players will have to put in a super human effort and get a bit of luck to go toe to toe again. Our warriors have been fantastic and even if we never get the better of them we should recognise all they have achieved. How I would love us to be the team who stopped the drive for 5. Maigh Eo abu

  12. Good on yea Darragh. Mayo and proud. The way it should be.

    Jack be nimble
    Jack be quick
    But God help Jack
    When he meets the Westport trick.

    I hope Jack running at full pelt comes to meet the laser guided shoulder of Fionn McDonagh

    This kid seeks out danger and destroys.

    No prisoners.

    Seek and destroy.

  13. Bring the passion, bring the roar, bring the green and red. Mayo will not be beaten tomorrow, be the 16th man, be proud of where you were born, nobody can match our resilience. The lads will need us at times when they have emptied the tank on the battlefield, let’s give them the energy from the sidelines that the entire county of Mayo is backing them. NO SURRENDER, Maigh Eo Abu.

  14. RTE’s sports bulletin just read just now by the Mumbler in Chief. Topics covered – showjumping, soccer, rugby and horse racing (in that order). Not a dicky-bird about the weekend’s semi-finals. I’m no conspiracy theorist but …

  15. Likewise WJ. It’s actually incredible. I’ve been listening each morning to hear a match review on the sports roundup but not a word about the upcoming Semi finals. Everybody ìs on message and signing from the Gavin songbook. Drive for 5 not mentioned. Dubs nervous perhaps?

  16. Finally some mention of the football at 8.30, though only after the showjumping, soccer and all the rest. Tomas Ó Sé said we’d bring the battle to Dublin but reckoned they’d eventually come up with the answers and then he see-sawed on the other game before finally forcing himself to back Kerry. Fair enough assessments, in both cases.

  17. John Duggan on Newstalk this morning gave Mayo no chance. For Mayo to win he said “it has to rain, Mayo to play at 110% and Dublin at 85% which is not going to happen”.

  18. I’m not a hater but I do not like this Dublin team and I’ll make no apologies for it .They have broke many a Mayo person’s heart too many times . When they retire from football I’ll look back and respect them for their success .Right now we are in the heat of battle and the Dubs are on the other side .
    If you look at it realistically we cant win this game .But my heart says we have a chance . No other county would have come through the qualifiers and super 8’s with the obstacles and injuries we have had . I have this feeling that Dublin will be cold going into the game and if we can bring the intensity we can get on top early but we need to stay on top obviously .We have to strave them of possession but take our goals when they come . Can we do it ? We have a chance and I hope we take it .

  19. Its the cynicism they get away with, despite their advantages. Smalls black card on Andy, McCauley red on Cillian. Neither given. Then Seamie OShea gets a black for an incident where you’d never see one given, similar to Lee. Of course these things make a difference.
    We’re yet to get a fair break against them.
    Hopefully we get fair play this weekend.

  20. Theres a photo in one of today’s papers of the moment the ref blew the whistle of the 2008 final. A Kerry player lying stretched on the ground with a Tyrone man bent over him, goading and jeering him, fists clenched. I recall this had started seconds before the final whistle went.
    That’s hate, that’s intensity, madness personified, that’s playing on the edge like never before, and they did it right throughout the match, from start to finish. It was quite remarkable. They refused to let Kerry get what they wanted, they refused to bend to them. That was an awesome Kerry team, as good in my mind as this Dublin team, and boy had they a grudge to settle with Tyrone, even then. It must be said that Tyrone got away with murder that day and I dont think a ref would allow something similar against the current Dublin team. Especially not with the 5 in a row at stake. If a ref is seen as messing that up he might as well emigrate. So expect Dublin to get every call tomorrow. We need to roar every wrong decision, every suspect call, regardless of how marginal.

    Theres plenty lessons for other teams in the way Tyrone treated Kerry, plenty. Get in their faces, make life hell for them, dont let them get their own way. Give them absolutely zero respect. I dont condone goading but if we tap into some of that Tyrone teams mindset it will go a long way to unsettling the greatest team of all time tomorrow.

  21. I hope Conor lane has been thinking about his mistake in letting bastick pick the ball straight of the ground in the drawn game. Overall I think he was fair that day though. He’s a decent ref. He’ll let a lot of the physical stuff go and there’s none more physical than us.

  22. Off with ya an scribble on some of those other sites like a good lad Frank Farnell. This blog is for those who are able to contribute some intelligent and meaningful analysis and debate.

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