Patience and hard work paying dividends for Brendan Harrison

It’s been a crowded, lonely, brilliant road to the top for Mayo’s All Star defender

Mayo’s Brendan Harrison tackles Dublin’s Bernard Brogan during the All-Ireland final replay. “He is surprisingly strong. He is very physical. He is very tricky,” said Harrison.Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo’s Brendan Harrison tackles Dublin’s Bernard Brogan during the All-Ireland final replay. “He is surprisingly strong. He is very physical. He is very tricky,” said Harrison.Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

That slow walk is just as you always imagined. You are towards the front of the parade and you turn the corner by the Canal End of Croke Park and face the length of the pitch down to the Hill end of the stadium. And it’s all breathtaking. The crowd noise is surround sound and it’s like being hit by a wave, so warm and thick you could feel like you could swim through it.

“You see the blue smoke rising,” you will recall months later, on a fresh January night on Linen Hall Street, in a restaurant where the early-evening crowd have gathered for supper and Stevie Nicks is on the sound system.

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