Here we go again. Back to Croke Park, back in the big time. But with a twist – our All-Ireland quarter-final this afternoon is against neighbours Roscommon. Joe McQuillan has the whistle today where throw-in is set for 4pm.
Even more than twelve months ago, it’s taken weeks of hard pounding for us to make up for our slip-up at provincial level this summer. Like last year, though, it’s been a memorable road, one we’ve ultimately negotiated successfully.
Our reward is a place in the last eight. With it, comes a shot at redemption by usurping the provincial champions we’re paired with in today’s quarter-final, pushing them aside to reach the semi-final stage.
The fact that this time we’re paired at the quarter-final stage with the newly-crowned Connacht champions adds a fair degree of piquancy to the contest. With Galway also in action today at HQ the stadium will, for once, belong to the West, making it a day like no other in Croke Park.
Like the fans from Roscommon and Galway who will also be converging on Croke Park today, we should savour what will in every sense be a special day for the province. At the same time, though, we need to remain clear-headed about why we’re there.
Like every year since 2011, we’re heading to Croke Park today for this All-Ireland quarter-final with one aim and one aim only. That’s to win. The local colour may provide a different background but that’s all it is.
Unlike the neighbours, we’re fully versed in what’s expected of us today. Our team comes into this contest with massive experience of days like this and what’s expected of them in front of a big crowd at HQ. We need to make all that experience count to the full today.
As a significant part of that big crowd, we know what part we’re called to play today too. And play it we will, as we’ve been doing all summer long.
Are you up for it again? Of course you are. Let’s do this. Up Mayo!