There was a great sort of contentment on Tuesday when for the last few minutes of a football match, we could actually sit back knowing that barring an earthquake, our team was going to win. We all hail from various areas where such luxuries are rare. Even if our team is in the habit of winning, it does so at the expense of your senses, and has your heart bouncing up and down with such palpitations, that you would need to have Croi on speed-dial on your phone.
The manner in which Corofin came out in Dublin and did the business was the subject of much admiration this week and indeed has been ever since they began marauding across the county, province and country since last autumn.
And when you see what a team from a small community like that can achieve through fantastic management (obviously a Mayoman ), and the commitment of players, sponsors, backroom, you have to ask about the vast potential that lies out there in the small towns and villages that we are leaving behind in ever increasing droves. They say the beauty of the All Ireland club championship is that it is a success because it is a local man playing with his brother, a local woman playing with her sister. It is players who grew up together, who fought together, who had shared experiences with each other. It has a familial strength that is absent from the senior intercounty game, but if that is the case, these are all attributes that should be brought to play when we look at how we can save rural Ireland.
Last week in Galway, hundreds gathered to network and share discourse on the topic of Innovating the West or perhaps more correctly, allowing the West to innovate us. The event was held to show the massive potential that exists in this region through all of the skills and talents we possess. A bit of madness, highly-skilled workforces, a sense of being, the craic, diversity, a sense of being here, and then some more craziness, and local knowledge and then a bit of divilment. And a whole lot of seriousness about where we want to go.
When Corofin set out last season to become All-Ireland champions, their progress was deliberate and effective. They saw what they wanted and they said ‘we’re going to go out and get this because we can if we do X, Y and Z”
Over the last few months there has been much move politically to wrest power away from the centre and bring it back to the people in the small towns and villages. That is why the next election will perhaps be one of the most dramatic we have seen for ages. It won’t be like the last election which was just a ‘kick ‘em out and replace them with like’ sort of election. It will be one in which there will be policies and issues coming from the ground up, not filtered or sanitised by the process of traditional politics.
So we have to look at what Corofin have achieved and say that although they are a seriously talented group of players and motivators, why can’t every village look at itself and ask why can’t we go out and get what we want. Now is the time to save rural Ireland. In 30 years time, we don’t want to echo the words of John Healy and mourn the fact that nobody shouted stop. Well done, Corofin. And to everywhere else, “Hon, the little village. Hon