Image: Huffington Post
A New Year and all that it promises is just up ahead – and it’s great to see so many engaged with yesterday’s runout ahead of next month’s pre-season action – but before the fireworks herald the arrival of 2018 it’s worth giving a final nod back to the year that’s slipping away from us.
What a difference twelve months makes. Well, at a personal level that’s true. This time last year I was still in the throes of despair following the All-Ireland final replay loss at the start of October but this time round I’m completely at peace after our 2017 championship season and eagerly looking forward to 2018.
Maybe that says more about me than it does about the wider mood but I think that, from a Mayo supporter’s perspective, it’s impossible not to feel satisfied at the year we’ve had following the team. Sure, 2017 goes down in the record books like all the other ones where we just fell short but our marathon, often heart-stopping but frequently coruscating championship season will live long in the memory, quite possibly after all the others have been forgotten about.
I keep saying it but it’s worth repeating – these are special times to be a Mayo supporter. This is by some distance the best Mayo team I’ve ever seen and they played some of their best football this year.
It still wasn’t enough and, for all our efforts, we’ve no national silverware – and, for two years, no provincial honours either – to admire. Pride in this team’s performance has, then, to be tempered by this uncompromising fact.
But we’re close, so agonisingly bloody close. Or at least we were this year, just like last year. As another year dawns, we’ve got the whole mountain to climb all over again to earn another shot at Sam but we have every right to be confident in our team’s ability to last the distance and to be in the hunt for ultimate glory.
So, then, farewell 2017 and, despite that bittersweet finish to the season, thanks for all the memories. Here’s to even better things in the year that’s about to begin.