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The Dubs drive for five is well and truly under way after they comprehensively defeated Tyrone in last Sunday's final to claim a record equalling fourth title in a row.
This Sunday the Galway senior footballers take on All-Ireland champions Dublin in Croke Park in the Allianz Football League division one final (4pm).
What a difference a week makes.
Mayo suffered a crushing and embarrassing 12 point defeat at the hands of All-Ireland champions Dublin last Saturday. Dublin, having drawn their last two games which they easily could have lost, had me fully convinced it was set up for Mayo to end their great two and half year and 32 game unbeaten run in league and championship.
And we are off again. It has been a long and winding road this year for Mayo on the field and when we thought we had reached the final destination two weeks ago, the car was pointed for home, neither full of joy nor regret, but full of more questions and possible answers. The steering wheel will be turned out on to the road and thousands of cars pointed east to the capital once more, thousands of Mayo fans will make the trek from Blacksod to the bridge in Shrule, full of hope, expectation, and delight tomorrow morning. For this Mayo team have another shot at glory, not redemption. It may be 65 long years since Sam Maguire came here festooned in green and red ribbons, but over the years in between hundreds of Mayo men have donned the green and red and given us some glorious days. Days that other counties could only dream of being involved in, we have been there, we have stood among the greats of the game and we have never done anything but seen our warriors give their all for their families, clubs, towns, schools, communities, themselves, and for us, those cheering them on from the sidelines.
And breathe. There is no word in the English dictionary to describe what went on last Sunday. Mayo produced their gutsiest performance ever to snatch a draw against raging hot favourites and current champions Dublin in Croke Park in the All-Ireland final. The tone was set long before throw-in as the teams entered the field. I happened to be on the sideline doing a piece with Radio 1 as I watched Stephen Cluxton lead his team out to a deafening roar. I was left stunned to see Cillian O'Connor burst out the tunnel through the Dublin players, followed closely by Aidan O'Shea and the rest of his team mates. Misinformed initially, I was told Mayo lay in wait for Dublin to ruffle their feathers. The reason for this coming together was the fact that Dublin were meant to enter the field at 2.56 and Mayo at 2.58. This clash occurred at 3.02.
And Dublin it is, as we expected. Dublin qualified for an All-Ireland final showdown with Mayo after one of the most pulsating and memorable semi-finals you are likely to see. It was no place for the faint hearted.
What a mouth watering clash we have in prospect for Sunday. Some of the biggest names in planet GAA competing against each other. We can now definitely say the three best teams in the country are left in the race for Sam Maguire, no one can argue against that. Kerry did all they had to do to get by Tyrone and reach another final but Sunday’s clash between Mayo and Dublin is the one we have been waiting for. The games against Dublin are incomparable especially at championship level. People all around lose the run of themselves. Croke Park is a cauldron of unimaginable noise, even deafening while wearing a headset and on radio duty. The league game in McHale Park this year between the two sides almost attracted a crowd of 16, 000, the likes of which I have never seen before for such an early season clash, which is where I am going to start. Dublin came into that game on a serious losing streak and in relegation trouble, Mayo were on the crest of a wave. All Dublin folk will tell you that game was the turning point in their season; they gave Mayo a right trimming winning by 2-18 to 0-10 that evening and went on to comfortably win the league thereafter. They have since won nine games on the spin.