Not even the miserable wet weather, the impending end of the kids’ school holidays and the more general return to all the routine and activities that go with this can dampen the mood this morning. Images from yesterday’s pulsating All-Ireland semi-final are still dancing round my brain and it’ll take a while for those cameos to settle down and find a place in the long-term memory bank. What a day to be a Mayo supporter, what a team of heroes that we follow.
I’ll get onto the Limerick thing in a bit but first it’s time to do the usual day-after-the-game sweep of the match reports and related coverage. Here goes.
In amidst that welter of coverage, two nuggets of information are worth highlighting, both from what James had to say after the game. The first is where he confirms that we will be appealing Lee Keegan’s red card, which I think is absolutely correct. If Dublin can get Diarmuid Connolly exonerated after a clear punch (in the 2011 semi-final) then the same should apply in relation to the innocuous incident involving Lee. I’ve seen far worse than Lee’s infraction this year not even meriting a card (Dublin’s Macauley in their quarter-final against Monaghan springs immediately to mind) so we should definitely do what we can to get Lee back on the field for the replay. The second point from James is that he says the problem that led to Ger Cafferkey’s withdrawal was no more than cramp and that he’ll be fine for the replay.
Right, then, on to the Limerick issue. Saturday 5pm at the Gaelic Grounds now appears to be set in stone and if this is the case then it’s a complete and utter disgrace, one that confirms yet again that those shower of money-grabbing fuckers in Croke Park know nothing and care even less about the soul of the GAA. These are the same geniuses who are responsible for the Garth Brooks fiasco, the odious Sky deal and Dublin’s permanent residency at Croke Park.
The notion that you build a magnificent stadium for your showpiece games and then sub-let the place out at the busiest time of the year for a sport from another country that nobody here gives a toss about and which forces a replay of one of your biggest matches out of your main stadium is just too stupid for words. I’m all for Croke Park being opened up for other activities but at this time of year the association’s own matches have to be given absolute priority. For the suits in HQ, though, money is clearly the sole priority driving them.
As many other have pointed out, Dublin certainly wouldn’t be forced to play a replay in Limerick and the official excuse – that the September the 6th date is needed in case Dublin and Donegal draw (the Dubs are 1/10 to win that one, by the way) – is just laughable. It proves beyond any doubt that counties other than Dublin truly are Children of a Lesser God in the GAA’s thinking, as it puts the small chance that HQ might be needed for a replay of that match above the 100% need for it as the venue for our rematch. That’s stupid and sickening and totally disgraceful.
I’m also a bit annoyed at our own County Board who I think folded far too easily on the issue. It was good to see them out of the traps so quickly to request that the match be played on Saturday week at Croke Park but no way should they have announced last night that, following the GAA’s confirmation that the match will be played in Limerick next Saturday, they had accepted this ruling, however reluctantly. If it were me, I’d have said there’s no way we’re playing there and put the ball back into their court.
Ultimately, though, I guess we’re going to have to accept that Limerick next Saturday evening is now a fait accompli. With that in mind, the main task for supporters is to make sure that as many people as is humanly possible get to the Gaelic Grounds to roar the lads on in the replay. The huge raucous support really drove the team on yesterday and we need to do the same again the next day. The lads deserve nothing less.