The men of the west are on their way

Image: Vinny Coleman, Carracastle (adapted from ‘Men of the West’ by Seán Keating)

It’s getting to that mellow time of night – yes, the beer has started to flow here – in the final hour of the day before the day when, once again, we push for ultimate glory.

There’s not a whole load more to be said tonight, a night of calm before the chaos we all hope the lads – our men of the west – will unleash at Croke Park tomorrow.

Like the rest of you I’ve turned over and over in my mind all the various permutations for how the final might go. I’m still none the wiser but to my simple mind the case for us weighs heavier.

We’ve beaten everyone there is to beat over the last decade, we downed the Dubs – inflicting on them their first Championship loss in seven years – four weeks ago.

Now we need to take the final, decisive step. It won’t be easy, of course it won’t, but the easy route was never our chosen path.

It’s a step that the men of the west are ready to take at Croke Park tomorrow. What days these are to be alive to have the prospect of seeing all this unfold before our eyes.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight is the eve of battle, a time for some quiet reflection. And some more beer.

‘Till tomorrow and all it holds for us. A day of days. A day when Sam’s up there on the plinth, waiting to be claimed.

Mayo for Sam.

47 thoughts on “The men of the west are on their way

  1. Sick with nerves but if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. The Gods have to smile on us once.
    Bring it on.

  2. Mayo for Sam.

    Good luck tomorrow James and Team. Play to your potential and you’ll win. Be patient. Be dogged. Be clever. You can do it. Embrace the unexpected, try to relax, and use the chaos to your advantage.

    Best of luck to all supporters going up tomorrow. Mayo are one.

  3. WJ – you are some man for one man!
    Even when relaxing with your craft beers the night before a AI Final, after all your work, you still pen a rousing final piece for us all to get the goose pimples – well done you!
    As for tomorrow – HON MAYO!

  4. “But hark a voice like thunder spake, the West’s awake”.
    Mayo to finally break this hoodoo tomorrow evening.
    There’s a buzz of anticipation in Claremorris today.

  5. I have no chance of sleep and it will be a long night. I have come up with a few anagrams of Mayo of Sam that I thought I would share.

    Mayors Foam
    Mamas Roofy
    Afar Moy Sam
    Arsy Oaf Mom
    Farm May Oos
    From Moy Aas


  6. I’m goin to bed now.
    I’ll roull in to the bed beside her and dream of football tomorrow.
    I’ll dream of winning Sam.
    I’ll take all the frees in me dream, and I’d say if we’re awarded a 70 yard free to win it with the time up, I’ll take me time over it, line it up and I’ll kick her clean out of the bed.

    Goodnight everyone.

    Goodnight John-boy.

  7. Mayo for Sam.
    Our best chance ever. We will do it. We will topple them.
    Thanks WJ, great piece as always.

  8. ”What days these are to be alive” Willie Joe…what a night to be alive….on a western island hiding….cant sleep….beautiful starry sky….Im going for a walk

  9. “There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place – and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what’s possible.” … At Saturday 9/11 approx 1850 hours Maguire is lofted into the evening sky adorned in red and green, 70 years of hurt banished forever.

  10. Good luck to the all the players and management. Safe travels to all the mayo fans . Those privileged enough to get tickets, you are so lucky. Enjoy the day.
    Padraic O’Hora you are a legend pal.
    Gaelic Football is the greatest game in the world, the north american sports here dont come close. No where close for pride, history passion.
    Croke Park is the best stadium . Mayo Senior team have the best fans and story . Mayo (on a sunny day) is the best place in the world .

  11. Of all the talk and podcasts and expert opinion there is only one thing for me that I can identify with that will guarantee we will win.We must mentally defeat the opponent.Dermot Flanagan.

  12. One of the few advantages left to living in the States anymore is when you tie one on late the night before by the time you get the fry in the morning it’s almost time for the throw in. No time for anxiety! Can’t believe how confident I am given the way these have gone before but I think it’s probably because this group of young men are unlike many we’ve had before. Safe travels to all fortunate enough to be going and good luck.

    Up Mayo.

  13. Time to finally push that boulder up and over the crest.
    Time to flitter that door to smithereens.
    Time to win the fucking thing!!!
    These are the days we dream of.
    This ditty is for all our loved ones who passed on…

    Mayo will raise Sam up on Saturday
    Honour those who have gone before
    You’re ghosts still haunt Croke Park
    We feel them to our core.
    70 years of false dawns
    Shook clean from our heads
    There’s a new sun rising in the sky
    It’s shining, green and red.

    Come On Mayo!!!

  14. All over the world people pulling for Mayo tomorrow. We will be watching the game live streamed on gaago from Park City Utah USA. C’mon Mayo!!

  15. Best of luck to James and the Mayo team and all the supporters enjoy the occasion . Today is your day. There is only one plan. Hon Mayo.

  16. I’m speechless. Birds are singing. Silence and stillness outside… thinking of my Mayo brothers and sisters all over the world. Let’s focus the energy, the passion, the inner roar and unleash it all with our lads at 5pm.
    Bring him home
    Maigheo abú
    Take care everyone and enjoy.

  17. Hunger is good sauce and we’ve been fairly well starved now. Another final and another hard earned golden opportunity – Maigh Eo abú!

  18. The only thing on my mind this blessed morning is the hope that all season ticket holders got fixed up with a ticket but I know some haven’t. I know if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be going I would be sick, sore and sorry this morning. The ad for the GAA on telly that insists that “It’s where we all belong” would seem very hollow. And when all this is over and done (and we are All Ireland champions) let’s not allow this kind of ticket nonsense ever happen again.
    Finally, cmon Mayo we can do it. A win would mean the world to me and to an awful lot of people of a certain age whose chances of experiencing the great thrill of watching a Mayo man climb those great steps and lift Sam high above his head, are beginning to run out.
    Maigh Eo abú!

  19. Morning all. Wasn’t fortunate enough to land a ticket (thought my chances had increased considerably after Kerry’s exit given I have a number of good contacts here and have always managed to land a ticket for all the finals since 89). Not going to let that mess with what will hopefully be a glorious day in Mayo footballing history. Myself and my daughter are going to hop in the car and head north to the home sod where we’ll surely find a few like-minded Mayo folks to watch the match and roar on our lads on like lunatics. So looking forward to this. Best of luck to James et al.

    Easy on with the Match Day piece WJ. People will be fired up enough already with being driven over the edge altogether:-).


  20. Whatever has “happened” to us in previous finals is nothing more than history.

    Today is about playing the game that there, a game there to be won.

    I’ve been as rational as I can all week, and will be the same today, well until Joe MC lofts the size 5 up into the Croker sky.

    I just can’t see us losing this, and again forget all previous history of finals, it’s of absolutely no consequence to the players today.

    I don’t think extra pressure comes into it either, it’s one more game in a sequence 5, 4 W so far in championship 2021.

    Let’s them tog out, step up, follow the Artane Boys Band, peel away, stand in line, face the tricolour above the Nally, run to position, take a deep breath and play with your heart and souls for the men donning green and red around you on the hallowed turf of Croke Park.

    11/09/2021. 70 years…

    Can’t wait.

  21. Best of luck to our neighbours in Mayo with the help of god I will be at bridge in Athlone Monday Evening to see the mighty men of Mayo crossing the Shannon as all Ireland champions
    Safe journey to all supporters travelling near and far

  22. Awake since 5, won and lost the game several times overnight! Have no idea how this is going to unleash, afraid to hope and maybe bracing for that depressing walk back down Jones road. Whatever happens , following Mayo is a joy- despite everything they have given us some of the best days of our lives. May today be the best ever- safe travels to all!….. doesn’t Tommy C look kinda good in the western gear?, well done Vinnie.

  23. We need to believe, Today will be our day, this will not be easy but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

    Best of luck all and safe travels to those hitting the road.

  24. 25567 days. Time to bridge that gap. We will win this guys. No excuses. No hard luck stories. Winning is not the only thing. Its everything

  25. Winning is everything.
    Hopefully after today we’ll have a different type of ‘journey’.
    Up Mayo. A hurricane is building from the West. Tyrone will be playing into it in both halves.

  26. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigheo inniu. Bainigi sult as an la agus bhi curamach ar na boithre.
    Ta suil orm go mbeadh Sam ag foireann Mhuigheo inniu!
    Mhuigheo abu!

  27. As a Dub married to a Mayo woman disappointed we are not there, but wish you the best of luck in the final and hopefully you bring Sam home. On the match it’s so hard to call, Mayo will need to improve on the semi final performance by a good bit. Dublin were awful as they have been all year. 14 points won’t get it done in 70 mins today. I do think Tyrone have a few weak links especially their goalkeeper. Dublin absolutely destroyed his kick outs in 2018 final and he lost his head completely. Keep the pressure on him and you win, best of luck.

  28. I’m up since 6am. You’d swear I was togging myself.

    Today we need to just get it done. Enough. Any which way will do.

  29. We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
    Always a little further; it may be
    Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
    Across that angry or that glimmering sea,

    White on a throne or guarded in a cave
    There lies a prophet who can understand
    Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
    Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.
    Up Mayo

  30. Sending the most sincere well wishes to the entire Mayo Team. You owe us fans nothing but you owe yourselves a lot.

    As a Mayo(Erris) man living abroad I’m very proud and thankful for all the effort and quality that’s gone into this blog and podcast. It shortens the geographical distance more than you could know.

    Getting home for this final hasn’t been an option but I’d like to wish all the Mayo Mafia who make it to the big smoke the weekend of your lives. I’ll be there vicariously through all the support and noise you give our lads.

    Up Mayo!

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