All-Ireland final: A Mayo win means all we know is wrong
Mayo as overlords. Mayo played by George Clooney. Everything we know will be wrong
“Imagine living in a world where Mayo were All-Ireland champions. We would have to decommission the term marquee forward.” File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
What will we do with ourselves if Mayo win on Sunday? Anybody thought of that? We can spend the week mulling over the various ifs and ands and wherefores but has anybody really allowed themselves a minute to consider the consequences of Andy Moran lifting Sam? These are volatile times and serious men ought to give this some thought.
Imagine living in a world where Mayo were All-Ireland champions. We would have to decommission the term marquee forward. Somebody call up the OED and tell them to get their Tipp-Ex out. From this point on, you only get to say “marquee forward” when you’re directing someone who is baloobas drunk around the Electric Picnic by the elbow.
Mayo, God Help Us? That would have to go too. What would we do then? Roscommon, God Help Us doesn’t have the same ring. Galway, God Help Us sounds like a craft beer. One of those 6.3 per cent by volume ones that leaves you bent double over the bowl crying for your maker the following morning.
The Saw Doctors would have a bit of tweaking to do as well. Some of the lyrics of The Green And Red Of Mayo are frankly unbecoming of All-Ireland champions. Soft and craggy bogland is the sort of put-upon, woe-is-us imagery that sits just about right with perennial nearly men. Fair to say it doesn’t scream champions.
If that’s the first line you’re using to define the landscape, think about the message it sends. You’re basically saying, “Sure how can we ever hope to be anything – look where we grew up.” You think Diarmuid Connolly ever had to kick points off soft and craggy bogland? Or Stephen Cluxton run a kick-out drill? Think again, pal.
If there was soft and/or craggy bogland anywhere in Dublin, the Corpo would have zoned it decades ago, some developer would have stuffed a brown envelope, some councillor would have had a word, some votes would have been cough-coughed through and some 400 families would be crying to Joe Duffy every winter when the floods come. Tell you what wouldn’t be happening – there wouldn’t be some soppy ballad raining down from the stands in Croker about it.
So that would have to be given a quiet burial. And The Curse, obviously. We’d have to pull stumps on The Curse of ’51. The one apparently imposed by a priest giving a funeral in Foxford who took umbrage at the homecoming in 1951 and the team’s overly loud yahooing as they passed through town while he was conducting his business. Father Crankypants shook his fist and said as long as they all shall live, Mayo will never win another All-Ireland.
All nonsense, of course. That said, they might just take the view though that you can’t be too careful. Put it this way – whoever was deciding the route home on Monday would want to be checking the local notices for any funerals in Foxford on the way back west. Tell the driver to steer well clear of any potentially grumpy priests. Like, Swinford clear.
Imagine there happened to be one. Some poor soul who passed on over the weekend and didn’t even get to see them win the bloody thing. Lying in repose in Foxford on Monday when the local padre gets word that the cup is coming. What happens next?
Who tempts fate in those circumstances? That was a long old 65 years, chaps – anyone feel like chancing 65 more? Thought not. Trappist monks at a silent disco would make more noise than you’d hear on the Mayo bus as it passed through the town. Somebody would have to sedate Lee Keegan with a tranquiliser gun. And they would, too.
Mayo as All-Ireland champions. How will we cope? We won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore. No more jokes about the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. No more sad heroes. We’ll never hear Ciaran McDonald’s name again. Liam McHale can go back to being an ex-basketball star. Pat McEnaney can go to Westport on holiday.
Will Galway bate Mayo? Doesn’t matter, Willie Joe or no. They’re All-Ireland champions and managed to throw Galway an oul’ win along the way just to get their hopes up. That will fairly take the legs out from under the end-of-year Galway GAA dinner dance. Maybe they’ll get Aidan O’Shea along to hand out the Connacht medals.
If Mayo win the All-Ireland, who will we cry about then? Whose famine do we adopt as our own? Cavan haven’t won since 1952, Roscommon since 1944, Kildare since 1928. Sure when will any of them be in a final again? Or anywhere close to one? Mayo are interesting because Mayo, like the poor, are always with us. But if they win the All-Ireland, will they even be Mayo anymore?
These are questions of philosophy, of psychology, of theology almost. Nearly makes you hope for a Dublin win, just so we don’t have to delve too deep into them.