Monday, September 20, 2010

Thing 159 All Ireland Football Final

Football!!! Not the American kind. Or the English kind. Or even the Australian kind. OUR football. The one we invented ourselves, in which the pace and skill and strength make the other kinds of football look lame.

There's lots of things that you can criticise the GAA for, and I'm not keen on going down this road in a serious way, but tickets for the match weren't cheap. There's also the massive criticism that came with eventual decision to open Croke Park for soccer and rugby. Again, I'm not about to start slinging mud at the GAA. Overall, it's a marvellous organisation. Days like All-Ireland Sunday are proof. There were eighty-one-thousand Down and Cork supporters in Croke Park that day. About half and half in numbers. Rivalry was intense, both sets of fans were mad for their team to lift Sam Maguire, but there was no violence. There wasn't even harsh words had. It was pretty much all good natured from start to finish.

Made me kind of proud. Too bad it wasn't Limerick in the final.
Still, I could have made this Thing into "Be Adopted By Another County" - no Clare jokes please. I wore the Red and Black, and I had my flag hanging out the window all the way to Dublin. The Cork chap sitting next to me on the day kept referring to Down as "you". And the Down men, Token Northy included kept referring to their boys as "we". I felt included. Stupid final scoreline broke my heart too. I screamed my lungs out, but the real work was done on Hill 16. It was a Red and Black mass!

I think my adoption process started in Newcastle, County Down some time back, but the flag making, and the campaign to get Token Northy a ticket, they just reinforced my decision. I now, not so secretly, love Down.

That's the other thing about GAA folk. All the way back to Down my sorrows (see what I did there? That's not a typo. It's pure white hot wit...) Cork people kept on coming over to commiserate. And Down people kept congratulating all the Cork fellas. I'm bitter, so I didn't... but that's another story.
The buzz along the entire North side of the Liffey was incredible. Rain poured down in short, sharp showers and had no effect whatsoever on the crowd. People drank pints and shouted to others they knew as eighty one thousand descended on Croke Park. It was hard not to buy into the hype that goes into advertising these things. It was just that impressive.

It was also the very last final for an Irish legend... Micháel O' Muircheartaigh. The broadcaster retires now, after giving everything to the GAA and to broadcasting for a very, very long time. He'll be sorely missed. A nice blogging type has a list of some of his famous quotes:

Here's hoping that sometime soon Limerick make an All-Ireland football final and I can adopt Token Northy for a weekend...

1 comment:

  1. Limerick in the final. Good one!