In support of flags, bunting and painted sheep!

There are a lot of things wrong with the GAA – as there are with most if not all big organisations – but one thing it gets right is the sense of identity it gives to communities who might otherwise struggle to have one. And when your team, be it your county or your club, makes it to whatever final it aspires to, it’s a great opportunity for counties and communities to come out and show their unbridled support for their team.

  I have written before about 1989 when Mayo made it to the All-Ireland final and we were going to Achill for a few days’ holidays. As we drove through the entire county, we could not get over the huge amount of colour with flags, bunting, cars, houses and even sheep all decked out in the green and red of Mayo. It was an awe-inspiring moment that still lives with us to this day, as it was certainly the first time that we encountered the vibrancy and excitement that a big final can bring.

  A few weeks ago I told you of the extraordinary effort made by the people of Roscrea to transform their town into a sea of blue and gold in support of their Tipperary hurling team and how it brought the whole place to brilliant life. Even at local level, if your team gets to any final, be it Junior B, C or D, the lift it gives to a place is immense and banners, posters and all kinds of supporting material springs up almost as if by magic and for a few days or so the whole area is buzzing. ‘Best wishes to the Creggs football team from Frank Brandon’ (that’s only an example) signs appear everywhere and it all adds to the sense of excitement and anticipation!

  This all brings me to the ridiculous decision of Longford County Council to take down and destroy signs wishing good luck to Mayo in last Sunday’s All-Ireland final, which had been erected by members of the local business community. The owner of the big SuperValu, a Mayo woman whose name escapes me, called it a petty and childish act and she pointed out that she pays all her rates, provides huge employment and she, along with other business people, including the owner of the Sherpack Company (also a Mayo native), were very upset that a couple of harmless signs that would only be there for a small amount time were taken down and destroyed, without any communication from the Council. If every place took such a mean and petty stand on such signs, it would take away from the All-Ireland occasion.

  I remember last year when Galway reached the hurling final, there were loads and loads of signs along the side of the motorway around Athlone wishing them well and it was great to see them. I know Longford will say it’s to do with litter laws but I think it was a stupid and petty act as the lady from SuperValu called it and it reflects badly on the decision-makers of Longford County Council.

Rental madness in Dublin

While we are constantly being told that the country is staging a massive recovery on the economic front, you would have to wonder where the extraordinary increase in the price of rental accommodation in Dublin is leading.

  In the last few days, I have spoken to a few different people who work in the Capital city and you would wonder how they can afford to work there at all. In one case a single lad is being asked to fork out €1,000 a month for what effectively is a room in a two-bedroomed apartment, where he shares a kitchen, sitting room and toilet.

  The second example is that of a husband and wife with a number of young children who were asked for €2,200 for a three-bedroomed house. As they also needed to pay childcare to enable the wife to stay working in order to meet the rent, the whole thing was totally unsustainable. It was a catch 22 situation, whereby if the wife stayed at home there would be no childcare but also no wages to help with the rent, but when she went to work the cost of childcare was nearly as much as she earned.

  I’m no financial wizard, but it seems to me that we are heading for a huge problem with rents and rental accommodation and in Dublin. You would have to earn a fortune to be able to stay in the city. There is also a myth out there that the banks and building societies are back lending – not so, according to what I hear on the ground.

Critics of All-Ireland  final are off the mark

It’s now Monday morning and before I leave the Mayo men and their quest for Sam, I just can’t believe all the negative stuff that I am reading and listening to about last week’s All-Ireland final. For me it was a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting game and for excitement and unbelievable intensity, it would be hard to beat it.

  I have heard people giving out about the amazing levels of aggression that Mayo brought to Croke Park and I have to admit that I wonder if any of them have ever played sport at all. To win any title, even the lowest grade possible, takes great commitment, dedication and effort, but to achieve the ultimate in senior county football and take home the Sam requires a level that most of us can’t even begin to understand!

  And so the purists would have liked if Mayo stood back and let the Dubs weave their magic and probably cruise to another All-Ireland success. Thankfully the wearers of the green and red were in no mood to do any such thing and as a result we had a match full of bravery and even heroism and the 2015 champions, who are rightly regarded as a fantastic side, were drawn into a war of attrition and it is to their credit as well that they lived to fight another day.

  History would suggest that Dublin will be a lot better in the replay and it will be a bigger task for the Mayo men to beat them this time around. However if any team can rise even higher again, this Mayo team can and, I for one look forward to another battle in two weeks time. Hopefully the purists will have another field day giving out about the aggression levels again and please God this time the 65-year wait will finally be over!

And finally…

Finally for this week, we have only just over a week ‘till the big charity dance in Dowd’s, Glinsk on Saturday, 1st of October and the ticket sellers are out in force and getting a fabulous reception. Keep an eye out for us! Someone will hopefully call to you over the next ten days or so!

  As luck would have it, the replay between Mayo and Dublin is on the same evening, so maybe we might have Sam on his way to Mayo. Even if he doesn’t make it to Glinsk, Jimmy Kearney and The Lancers will definitely be there to make sure you have a great night’s entertainment. They’ll have you dancing all night long.

Till next week, bye for now