Mayo God help us, says Enda, in plea to pope for big match digout


ENDA DOESN’T know whether he’s coming or going.

He’s bringing his All-Ireland ticket with him to Castel Gandolfo today when he meets the pope. The Taoiseach is in Rome, where he had talks with the Italian prime minister Mario Monti yesterday. Today is all about divine intervention.

Enda says he might consider looking for a little “pontifical” help for the Mayo cause in tomorrow’s big game. Maybe the pope can help out with the legendary “curse” that has bugged Mayo football over the years.

“I have my own ticket for the All-Ireland and I am prepared to give it to the pope if he can guarantee that Mayo will win.” Lucky Pope Benedict – and Galway Senator Ronan Mullen can fix him up with a ticket for the hurling final . . .

Enda is probably delighted to be out of Castlebar for a couple of days to escape the clamour for tickets – his office is inundated with requests.

Such is his excitement, he’s given his first interview in three years to Today FM for tomorrow morning’s Championship Sunday show with Paul Collins. It airs at 9am and Enda is in optimistic, if reflectively realistic, form.

His late mother may have come from Donegal, but his father Henry played for Mayo between 1932 and 1946 and has an All-Ireland medal in the locker. The Taoiseach knows his stuff where GAA is concerned. He says Mayo manager James Horan has prepared his team diligently and they are fit and ready to go.

“I think if I got into the dressing room on an occasion like this, it’s out through the walls they’d go and not through the doors,” Enda tells Collins, in a reprise of his speech to the FG parliamentary party during the failed heave against his leadership.

He’ll be back in Ireland this afternoon after his papal encounter, having initiated his fellow European leaders in the mysteries of Sam Maguire and Gaelic football.

The Taoiseach hopes to start his All-Ireland final weekend with a visit to the Kilmacud Sevens this evening. Tomorrow morning will start with Mass in Westland Row and then he’ll walk down O’Connell Street to Jones’s Road with the rest of the Mayo tribe.

Sixty-one years is a long time to wait. Will Enda still be smiling come teatime?