By the time next week’s issue of the Mayo Advertiser hits the shelves, hopefully we'll be basking in the afterglow of a day to remember for many years ahead. Sunday's games have given the people of this great and proud county something to think about and concentrate on for the past few weeks. The All-Ireland has enabled us to forget about or worries for a few brief flickering weeks, as the hunt for tickets and the build-up of excitement about the games has taken hold and pushed our financial, social, and other concerns to a small corner of the mind. Not that they have gone away or been forgotten about at all, but it has given us something positive to concern ourselves with. It has also created a great sense of community spirit and kinship from the top of Bangor Erris to the bridge in Shrule as we have all rowed in behind James Horan and Enda Gilvarry and their two teams of heroes.
As you drive around the county through the villages and towns, you cannot but help notice the pride that the local communities have in their men and boys who will wear the green and red with honour on Sunday, knowing that not only are they representing Mayo, but also their home parish, their school, their family, and their friends. They also know everyone is backing them to the last to achieve their ultimate goal and dream, and with that the dreams of the Mayo people at home and those from Sydney to San Francisco, who will be tuning in at God knows what hour of the morning and night.
We've all experienced the lows of falling at the final step in this race before, but it never knocks the people of this county down, they keep coming back and wanting more. Always believing, always supporting, and always hoping for success. It's in the nature of Mayo people to strive for success be it in sport, business, political office, or on the mean streets of New York or Melbourne. Anyone who uses social media over the past few weeks cannot have missed the hundreds of photographs from the Mayos abroad from each corner of the globe showing their pride in their home place and holding messages of good luck to their heroes at home. That's the dedication and the sense of home that flows through the sons and daughters of this county.
We have seen thousands of them leave here in the past few years, many, many, of them not through their own choice but because they needed to find a better future for themselves away from our western outpost. They will succeed like so many thousands have before, but they don't forget home. And this weekend, an occasion like, this will make them miss it even more. But in the bars and clubs of Tokyo, London, Dubai, Auckland, and Vancouver they will find a community of like minded souls and feel a little bit more connected to home than they did before. They may even spark up friendships and contacts that will be of benefit to them in their new homes and lives. This bringing together of people and community is one of the greatest things about sports and in particular the GAA, and for just that reason alone, a big thank you must go out to all involved in bringing Mayo to this day and hopefully the greatest day in this county for 62 years.