No crowd and no rats: Galway and Mayo meet again, 21 years after Tuam

After meeting on the pitch in 1999, Horan and Joyce now face off on the sideline

Mayo’s James Horan

Mayo’s James Horan

July 18th 1999 and the 20th century may be cooling down but Tuam stadium remains the earth’s core so far as football rivalries go. It’s been a long time since Galway and Mayo has mattered so much. It is midsummer, even if it doesn’t feel like it. A hard rain is gonna fall. By nightfall, the Sunday Game phone lines will be hopping with irate fans saying they couldn’t get near the crowd despite having tickets.

“Oh big time. The crowd that day was unreal,” remembers Alan Roche, the sinewy Davitts defender who would make his debut in that afternoon’s final.

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