It’s the day after, the first day of what’s now an empty summer for us as followers of the county team. A summer that’s no longer defined by big matches, by days out in Croke Park and the ongoing rollercoaster of emotions that go with following this amazing team of ours.
Instead, for the first time since the dawning of what I think can accurately be described as the modern era of Gaelic football within the county, we’re at a loose end for the summer. We’re onlookers as the Super 8s are contested for the first time. Rather than being at the centre of the championship story we’re on the outside looking in.
Now that the fatal blow has been delivered to our hopes for 2018, however, I have to admit that today the overwhelming emotion I feel is one of relief. We never really got going at all this year, either in the league or in the championship, and once we’d lost Tom and Seamie it always felt like we were living on borrowed time. That time ran out for us in Newbridge last night.
But, as anyone who has ever suffered a loss in this life knows, time is also a healer. And nobody died last night. We lost a football game – a very good match, as it happens – and, soon enough, we’ll all get over it.
The summer now opens up for all of to do other stuff. I’m happy to confirm that we’ve had holiday plans made since the start of the year and last night’s result means that, for the first time in several summers, my long-suffering family and I can look forward to a relaxing break away that’s uninterrupted by do-or-die sporting events back home.
Behind every cloud there truly is a silver lining (I’m the first to admit that I’m a sucker for clichés, mainly because they contain essential truths) and I do hope everyone – players, management, officials, supporters – grasps the unexpected free time granted to us and enjoys this summer to the full. We all deserve the break. And we will be back.
Needless to say I’m not going to dangle the usual links for match reports under your noses today, though – sad fool that I am – I will still gather them all up and post them to the results section for posterity. Someone has to do it.
But the show also has to go on to some degree and, in that regard, you might want to note that the match-day episode of the Mayo News football podcast, recorded at Newbridge yesterday evening and being edited even as I type, will be online at some point this evening.
The Man of the Match poll – the final one of the year – is still open too and I’ll leave that up until later on tonight. If you haven’t cast a vote in that you’ve plenty of time left to do so.
Right, that’s it for now. The question is, though, what now? I hear there’s a World Cup of some sort on. There’s always the hurling. Or, if I can summon the energy, the bike. Or a hundred other things. Choices, choices. The sun also rises.