The waiting is finally over, especially if you are a follower of Gaelic football. For the first time since 1984 Pearse Stadium plays host to a Connacht football final between Mayo and Galway. This is a game that according to the experts is already won with Galway playing excellent football at the moment (according to them). I disagree, not because I'm a Galwayman based in mayo. But because of the facts that I see before me. C’mon, if we were to go off form at the moment, Mayo would stand a better chance. But it is because of Galway’s recent results (two All-Irelands since 1998) and Mayo’s (not that great to be honest) that the bandwagon has left the station and every so-called expert has jumped on it.
Galway’s record against Mayo isn’t that great. Defeat as champions in 1999(in Tuam) caused one of the greatest post mortems in recent times, especially because of the situation between some of the players at the time (there was an alleged ( I hate that word) famous moment when a certain Galway player decked another Galway team mate in a club game and everyone, from the referee to the linesmen to the umpires and the 5,000 there all blinked at the same time and missed it), but it gets worse. Galway at this moment in time have played both Roscommon and Leitrim and barely got out of first gear. Same can be said of Mayo. They had a job to do against Sligo and did it. So where does that leave next Sunday. Mayo make one change, young Fintan Ruddy in goal for Burke who is injured. Galway at the time of writing have not made any change to their line up. So all is happy in the camp.
Which after that rather long-winded build up brings me to my point that I should have made ages ago. Why do I think that Mayo is going to beat Galway? The answer is simple. They have the bigger hunger. Galway may have an excellent team, but they also have one thing against them. They are knackered. So would you if you had played championship football year in year out in really big games since 1997. Mayo on the other hand has a younger, maybe less experienced team. But they are not the class of 1996 so they won’t have the pressure expected of them.
We must not forget that the minor final takes place too on Sunday with Mayo taking on Galway. That will be a very big game with several of St Gerald’s all Ireland winning school’s team on it so they will not be lacking. It is a long day so if you are travelling, I would recommend leaving very early, get some brekkie on the way and sit back and enjoy the blue riband of Connacht football
P.S the fact that the loser goes to the qualifier and the winner to the next stage is not lost on me. But like the Munster hurling final last week, this is one of those games where we just say, “who cares?”
As always if you cannot make it stay tuned to local press and newspapers for all the latest. Enjoy Sunday. I’m in studio, enjoying it on the telly!