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This Saturday the Galway U21 footballers head to O’Connor Park in Tullamore to face Dublin in the All-Ireland final (5pm).
Saturday evening at Cusack Park in Ennis at 5.45pm was a fantastic place to be for a Galway football supporter.
Ahascragh/Fohenagh were far too strong for Ballyhaunis in the Connacht intermediate hurling final replay, winning by 2-20 to 0-13 at Athleague.
And then there were two. Knockmore qualified for their first county final since 2009 after a pulsating and dramatic game against hotly fancied Breaffy in the semifinal last Sunday. The final whistle brought on some ugly scenes as a lot of players from both sides got involved in skirmishes while supporters were on the field. It was an unsightly end to a compelling game with fisticuffs occurring between players while there were children in the vicinity, it was not a great advertisement for our sport.
Sometimes when we are so focused on how to deal with the emotions of victory and loss, we are thrown aside by the void that appears when whatever we are watching denies us any of those options.
It’s game eight of Mayo’s 2016 championship campaign and the biggest one of all, the All-Ireland final against the reining champions and hot favourites Dublin. Mayo are priced at 3/1, the Dubs are 4/11 while the draw is available at 10/1. In layman’s terms the bookmakers don’t see Dublin been beaten. The handicap betting is set at -3 points meaning the expert odd makers feel Dublin will win by about three.
After Brendan Maher lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup high over his head in the Hogan Stand a fortnight ago, he mentioned in his speech that it had been "six long years" for Tipperary waiting for this day. Six years may be a long time in Tipperary, but it was 38 years for Mayo to reach an All Ireland final from the last time they won it in 1951 to their next dance with the girls at the end of the summer in 1989. That particular dance saw Cork go home with girls and since then Mayo have gone back to the same dance hall on six more occasions only to leave by themselves at the end of the night when the jackets were being collected from the cloakroom.
“At half time we said we’d nothing to lose and to just go out there and have a go” Mayo manger Frank Browne said in the immediate aftermath of his sides heart breaking All Ireland semi-final loss in Cavan on Saturday night.
Mayo have been involved in enough epic semi-finals over the last two years and have come out on the wrong side of the result at the end of the day that Sunday’s performance over Tipperary won’t mind them that much at this stage, with four weeks to put things right before they face either Dublin or Kerry in the final.
After Mayo's superb victory over Tyrone I have to pinch myself to comprehend that Mayo are playing Tipperary in an All-Ireland semifinal on Sunday. It sounds bizarre. If we go back to June 18 and after watching Mayo's poor performance against Galway, we firstly did not see Mayo getting to a semifinal and if they did we certainly did not expect the opposition to be from the premier county. Clare and Tipperary have both been very successful examples of the qualifiers in 2016 but Tipp's trouncing of Connacht champions Galway by nine points has certainly made them the number one success story.