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All-Ireland final fever is here. I still have to pinch myself to contemplate that Mayo are back in the football showpiece again. Looking at Mayo's run to the final you'd almost forget that it started against Sligo in Castlebar on May 21. The ticket fiasco is still the same, however, with most Mayo folk willing to beg, borrow, or steal to get their hands on that elusive golden ticket. Some novel efforts took to Tinder looking for a female acquaintance, the only catch was they had to have a spare ticket for the game. The most desperate are offering their spouses in return for a match day pass, it's all part of the fun, it's all part of the build up.
At the smoothly run and enjoyable homecoming for both minor and senior teams in Pearse Stadium on Monday, Galway minor hurling manager Jeffrey Lynskey quoted the old Meat Loaf classic “Two out of three ain’t bad” to describe Galway’s terrific 2-17 to 2-15 win over Cork in the All-Ireland minor final.
He has an All Ireland club medal, U21 winner's medal, three All Stars, two league winner's medals, a Fitzgibbon Cup and a couple of Leinister titles in his back pocket, but the one he really wants is up for grabs on Sunday afternoon.
This Saturday’s preliminary championship quarter-final in Tuam Stadium at 3.45pm between Corofin and Salthill/Knocknacarra will be a repeat performance of last year’s county final.
There have been plenty of talk and plaudits for the attacking return for the Mayo full forward line of 1-10, 1-9 of it coming from play against Kerry last Sunday. While he only registered 0-1 of that total, the influence that Burrishoole's Jason Doherty had on Mayo's ability to get scores was far more influential than a scoreboard analysis will show at first glance.
Opinions are like a certain body part - everyone has one - or so the saying goes; and since 3.34pm last Sunday - when Aidan O'Shea swung left and headed back towards the Davin Stand, plenty of them have been expressed on where he headed and where he stayed for the next 70 odd minutes.
Dear me, not again. The winners of this year’s Sam Maguire will have their name etched on the famous trophy but there is absolutely no doubt Mayo’s 2017 championship campaign will command the most paragraphs in the championship 2017 yearbook. Bizarre does not even go close to explaining it. Mayo supporters again travelled in their tens of thousands clogging the N5 and N4 all the way to the capital from early morning. It is very obvious that football is more important than Christmas for the supporters of the green and red who now have to contend with a ninth championship game in 2017 after another heart stopping semifinal clash with Kerry in Croke Park. They will not have a cent left for the festive period.
The Mayo Ladies go looking to make it back to the All Ireland semifinal tomorrow afternoon - when they take on one of the most improving sides in the country - Donegal.
Not long after Mayo rattled in their third goal in the first half of their All Ireland quarterfinal replay win over Roscommon, the thoughts of plenty of Mayo supporters wandered to what will we do to stop Kieran Donaghy, the man who has inflicted more pain on Mayo in recent years than probably anyone else on big days.
Early season predictions would have envisaged Dublin, Kerry, and Mayo making it to the semifinal of the championship with Tyrone getting a few hesitant votes because of a poor ending to their league campaign.