Waking up this morning as champeens is a feeling we could all get used to. Better than that, waking up having not lost another final feels even better. A departure from the house of pain into a holiday home of joy. Deploying a firm, fist-first approach, the Mayo do do do train has finally landed a national title and we’re ready for more.
Arriving into Croke Park yesterday afternoon on the back of a positive league campaign, we were still feeling guilty about leaving mam at home to listen into Angelina and co. on Midwest. Penance was served to us in the form of enduring the second-half of the mundane hurling final and the automated speeches that followed.
It was very fitting that Mayo’s hurling messiah and dear friend of Mayoareback, Fergal Boland, was the man to fist us off the scoring mark. Earmarked by ourselves a couple of seasons ago as THE ‘one-to-watch’, Fergie has become an important link-man between defence and attack this Spring. His summer could be fruitful so long as he doesn’t disappear again.
Although Mayo’s league campaign has been starved of COC, it has built a foundation of trust and belief in youth. Players like Boland, Ruane, McDonagh and Adny Mornan have been entrusted to take a chance whilst core senior players govern the key areas.
Having served him so well in previous finals, James Horgan adopted a man-for-man defence. Belmullet’s battling Barrett on big Tommy Walsh was the match-up that raised eyebrows but Chrissy stuck to him like dog shite on a shoe. The Partry sized hole in the centre of Mayo’s defence was evident in parts of the first half and this paved a highway for Kerry to blast two majors to the net.
While Kerry were hitting the net, we were jovially fisting it over the black spot from close range. A tactic which we here at Mayoareback absolutely love.
Debutant Jimmy Carr had the weight of a whole Parish on his shoulders and he struggled in the first half. When play resumed he showed that steel that can only be found in lads who reside north of Lough Conn and have modes of transport as surnames. Chalking on back-to-back points before he had a chance to write his name in the annals as Aidoxi picked him out with a 40-yard corker. However, his lack of experience told in front of goal; he really should have fisted it over.
As always, every great Mayo win has its roots in the much maligned Aidoxi. The Breaffy Mafia chief is certainly one of ‘Horan’s Men’ having played every minute of the league. His decision to replace his older brother with clubmate Matty Ruane has added spunk and girth to the Mayo midsection. Matty has also more than filled a Tom Parsons sized crevasse in the hearts of many a Mayo inbred. Wow, what a fine and fabyoulous guy.
It was he who penetrated the Kerry rearguard to blast home in Fenton fashion. That goal lead the way for a high yielding second half including 1-2 from captain Doctor Diarmuid O’Cillian. As an elderly Mayo fan chimed, “who needs COC when you have DOC”. I think she was referring to the O’Connor brothers but in this day and age you can never assume.
The celebrations warmed the cockles of our green and red hearts. Seeing oar Mayo boyeens on the steps of Croke Park, each member lifting the cup, supporters with tears of a different kind, Mike Connelly joining a team photo whilst holding a steel box filled with New York tickets. These are the moments that we Mayo fans live for.
We believe this Meo team, now more than ever before, are back. They are ready to capture the Mother of all silverware and bring Sam home.