Tomorrow’s match is a significant one for me, in that it’ll be the first one I’ll be going to where one of my kids will be wearing the colours of the opposition. My dutiful girls will be going in their Mayo jerseys but my little mucker is a Dub through and through and will be going to Croke Park attired as such. This experience isn’t, however, a family first and, in this guest piece, my nephew Sean reflects on what it’s like to be a second generation supporter of the Green and Red.
I was born in Dublin. I have spent the 18 years of my life so far in Dublin. So I am a Dub and so are my two younger brothers. But like a lot of people of my age that I know, my parents are not Dubs. This presents an interesting dilemma when country teams play Dublin as it leaves the house divided in who is supporting whom.
My Dad is from Mayo and while he is normally a level headed type, a red and green mist descends on his logic when Mayo football is the subject under discussion. To him it’s a bit like the lotto. There is always the chance that you might win – if you have a ticket, but you would seriously kick yourself if your numbers came up and you had stopped buying. So he keeps going, hoping for the day when the big prize will come and that he will be there to witness it.
As a result, I have seen Mayo play in such far flung places as Castlebar, Ballina, Charlestown, Roscommon, Salthill, Carrick-on-Shannon, Clontibret, Cavan, Sligo, Derry, Ennis, Cork and Longford. Of course, I have also seen them when they came to Parnell Park for a league match, to Portmarnock for a challenge and to several matches in Croke Park. And apart for when Dublin is the opposition, I have always worn the Mayo jersey. In fact, my uncle has commented that I probably have seen Mayo play more times in the last few years than many of the people that describe themselves as Mayo supporters.
There is a great sense of craic of going to the matches. Normal rules about using dodgy language are suspended. The only planning is about getting there on time, seeing the match and eating when hungry. It usually involves a number of uncles and cousins so it’s very much a male thing. And the other Mayo characters that we have got to know, the sayings that we have learned and the banter with people from other counties have added to the fun.
But despite this, when it’s the Dubs that are providing the opposition to Mayo, I put on my blue jersey and shout as loudly as any of my fellow Dubs. And if we lose, I am as deflated as the next Dub, but a few days later I come to terms with the fact that my other team has won.
So tomorrow, I will stand with my blue clad brothers and my green and red clad father. We will have the craic no matter what happens and if Mayo loses, I won’t rub it in. After all, we will need a lift home!