Search Results for 'Stephen Cluxton'
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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.
When Mayo needed a man to show the leadership in a clutch situation, their star man came good right at the death. Cillian O’Connor showed why he was picked by Stephen Rochford as his captain, when he created the space he needed to shimmy inside and drill the ball through the drizzle over the bar and electrify the Mayo faithful in Croke Park to haul his side level at the death.
Two decades ago he was part of a brash young bunch of players who made their way into John Maughan's team that came from nowhere to almost claim an All Ireland title, but lost out to Meath after a replay. But he didn't hold a grudge against the Royal county as he ended up marrying a lady from there who "felt a bit of sympathy" for him. He broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in a game in 1999, and that more or less ended his serious playing career. But at the end of last month he tweeted "Playing Junior C Championship at 42 and at times trying to chase Colm Mcs nephew is a serious recipe for extreme stiffness on a Monday" Who is it you ask that's still playing football club football 20 years later chasing after the nephew of one of his team-mates from that All Ireland final? It's John Madden, the man who stood between the sticks for Mayo in those clashes against Meath.
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.
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.
Mayo showed the kind of fight and heart that will have given their supporters plenty of cause for optimism going into the rest of the league campaign which will return at the tail end of the month. However, despite that fight and heart Mayo are still pointless after their first two rounds of action in the league and now face into two tough road trips to Ulster on the bounce before the final swing of three games at the tail end of Spring.
A few of us used to go regularly to All-Ireland football finals as a matter of course, and the same four men traveled to all the football finals from about 2004 until 2011. Things change though, and a few of us have children old enough now to want to go themselves with Dad if he can snaffle an extra ticket.
A few of us would regularly go to All-Ireland finals as a matter of course, and the same four men travelled to all the football finals from 2004 until 2011.