So the mighty unbeatable blue machine didn’t win – ha! Everyone said all week we wouldn’t win and they were right - so up theirs. We showed what we were made of with an exhibition of total football not seen since we were in the semi. It was great to hear our fans on the Hill chant ‘its just like watching Brazil’. I love our fans – they bring such colour to the games – usually green and red.
Cillian got a fella called Jim McGenius I think it was, in to talk to the lads last week. He is apparently a guru whatever that is and he beat the Dubs once and has dined out on it ever since. He was very good – he told us to go out and win. Brilliant advice.
The bus journey was incredible. The Garda motorbikes with blue lights and sirens was awesome. I said to Donal this is like being in an episode of Ros na Rún. We were so excited – I think one of the lads even had a little accident. Diarmuid said it was ice but it looked very yellowy to me.
I had the headphones on in the dressing room. I love a bit of the Spice Girls to get me going. But I was in a trance and panicked when I opened my eyes and everyone was there - gone. I charged out the tunnel and there were Dublin fellas trying to block me. I barrelled past them roaring ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ just like Scarey Spice – and they were scared! I was like a cow in a China shop.
There was some noise when I got out on that pitch. It was deafening. Then I realised I still had the headphones on and the volume had accidentally turned up.
But conditions pitch side were Mayo like. It was very wet and my hair got destroyed. I spend 12 hours with the GHD on the Saturday straightening it and it was a mess after two minutes. I asked the umpire had he a comb but he gave me the brush off. It really affected my game. The last thing you want is to score a point and be on the telly with your hair sticking up.
It was a weird game. It felt like a final. We got off to a great start with two goals in the first 11 minutes. But then Andy said they were OGs and sure enough on the big scoreboard they were down for Dublin. I still think we were robbed and can’t understand how nobody spotted this.
I wanted to swap shirts with my hero Dermo Connolly but Leeroy said he wanted it and sure enough he went for the swap long before the finish. He always gets what he wants the fecker.
I was relieved at the final whistle because we hadn’t lost another final – yet. Mammy was in the stand signing autographs after her appearance on Up for the Match. We had a family hug but Conor was moaning because he didn’t get a game. Seamus said its cos you’re brutal and they started flicking each other’s ears – in front of everyone. I was mortified. Ear flicking should only be done indoors.
Daddy said if the ref was doing his job I should have got more cards than you’d see in Hallmark. He said I reminded him of the German flag – black, red and yellow. Mammy told him to mind his own business. She’s great.
I was so disappointed to hear that we weren’t going to the banquet. I had some real smart answers ready for Marty and we were going to do rabbits ears on Stephen when he was interviewed on the Sunday Game. All down the drain.
Instead we had to warm down. But it was great to leave Croke Park on All Ireland final day without losing. It was such a strange feeling for a Mayo man. Only the team of 1996 have ever done that before so we will go down in history. I hope we can go on to do what they did in the replay.
I can’t wait for it! It is a shocking disappointment to have to miss the Ploughing Championships this week but if it means another Garda motorbike escort next Saturday week it makes it all worthwhile.