Mayo hope to finally end All-Ireland famine but ticket famine harder to feed
Another false dawn? Or will the gleam grow into the full, dazzling, sunburst of glory?
Tom Donnellan and Shane Flanagan-Trias who won a ticket each to the All-Ireland final during a school draw at Scoil Íosa, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, yesterday. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO
The light promises once more for Mayo football. Another false dawn? Or will the gleam grow into the full, dazzling, sunburst of All-Ireland glory?
Most Mayo people living today weren’t even born when the county won the last football All-Ireland 62 years ago. Only a handful of the county’s population, all now elderly, have ever experienced the feeling of elation that winning ‘Sam’ brings.
One man though who has been there and felt the buzz is Fr Colm Kilcoyne, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Tuam. He was a teenager in the 1950/5I glory years when for most the ultimate in modern technology was a battery powered Pye radio on the corner of the kitchen table.
On that very Pye the young secondary school student listened to both finals, never dreaming that for another 62 years at least his native county would never win another All-Ireland.
On bustling Main Street, Castlebar, yesterday, Fr Colm ruefully admitted he never realised in 1951 that such a long famine was looming.
“In the 1950s and 1960s I always thought further All-Irelands were just around the corner. Now I’m half ready for the team to be beaten because that has been the story of my life.”
Scarcity of tickets
After a low-key build-up to the final, the pace and excitement was picking up yesterday. On street corners, vendors of Mayo hats, jerseys, banners and flags were doing a brisk trade.
All week the scarcity of tickets has been a big talking point, with glum-faced hopefuls claiming the
“famine” this year is much worse than last.
Thousands of the ticketless ones are preparing to travel to Dublin anyway today and tomorrow in the hope of picking up a coveted “pass” there.
On Thursday, one “hungry” supporter from Achill paid €2,400 to Midwest Radio for two tickets in a charity
Many factories and schools will remain closed on Monday should Mayo emerge victorious. The schools, however, have informed pupils that in the event of defeat they will be open for business as usual.
Win, lose or draw, the Mayo squad and backroom team are due to arrive in Castlebar by train around 5.15 pm on Monday.