Well, here we go: it’s a bit after nine in the morning and, in just under five hours, battle with the Royals at HQ will get underway. For the first time in ages, I’m not faced with hours behind the wheel before and after the game and instead we’ll head off from here a bit before one in the afternoon. I’m well pumped up for this one, I must admit, and with a crowd in the region of 65,000 expected at Croke Park today, it should certainly feel like a big match day. I’ve no idea on what kinds of numbers will be travelling from the west but hopefully there’ll be plenty of support there for the lads as they seek to secure a semi-final spot for the first time in three years.
I’m taking all three kids with me to this one (the little lad, having spent the week in therapy after the Dubs’ defeat, is now back onside and so will be roaring for us today) and this is only the second time I’ve done so for a championship game. I don’t recall getting overly worked up at any stage during the Tyrone game last year at HQ but I’m expecting today’s experience to be a bit more visceral so there’s a good chance they’ll get to see that dark, deranged side of their papa that only properly sees the light of day when all hell breaks loose in a tense championship encounter.
That’s enough gabble, I think – it’s now time for the words to cease and the deeds to begin. But, thanks to Twitter, the words won’t fully cease – I’ll do a few updates to the site during the game but I think that the lads at Club Mayo Dublin and the Mayo News will be doing more on that front so, if you’re into that kind of thing, make sure to follow them. If I still have hold of my senses (and my kids) after the match is over, I’ll do an in-the-moment audio piece, with the full prose version to come later on.
This is one we can win and one we will win. Now let’s go and do it.