Internal organ for a ticket, anyone?
Diary of a home bird
It’s the week of the All-Ireland. Imagine, we’re in it again? This year, I’m not in as comfortable a position as I was this time last year. Not long back from a week sojourning in the Algarve I was sleeping soundly in the knowledge that a ticket with my name on it (well, destined for my back pocket) was safe in the capital waiting to be collected.
Roll on 12 months and I’m now toying with the idea of selling a kidney on the black market in exchange for even a ticket for the Nally. Sure, haven’t I heard of loads of people doing grand with just the one (kidney, not ticket).
Call it powers of persuasion or outright guilt-tripping, but I’ve told Pops that it would only be fair that should he happen upon a ticket, it should be given to moi. Well, in fairness, I was stuck at home sporting red and green socks under my fashionable dungarees while my brothers walked up Jones Road in ’96 and ’97.
Last year’s All-Ireland weekend was made all the more special with the arrival of my little niece on the Friday before.
Before hitting for the motorway on the Saturday, my two brothers and two sisters-in-law and I stopped into the hospital to get a glimpse at the little bundle of joy. (Thankfully the parents shied away from calling her Samantha and went for Saoirse!)
As if in a scene from Roddy Doyle’s ‘The Snapper’, we poured into the hospital armed with a miniature Mayo kit, which she sported on All-Ireland Sunday, more swaddled in the Elvery’s jersey than wearing it.
Along with the usual questions like ‘Are mother and baby doing well?’, came ‘Would daddy travel to Croker?” As he had lived outside the country since 2000, this was to be my brother’s first All-Ireland since 1997. Having quite possibly the most-understanding wife in Ireland, he togged on the Sunday.
Nearly a year on, a picture showed how time flies. Just after Mayo’s thrashing of Donegal last month, my brother sent a picture of my niece donning the same jersey drinking her bottle, with the caption “Nothing like a bok bok after hammering Donegal.”
Perhaps when Saoirse grows up she will have a much different view of Mayo football than I and many like me have. Maybe Mayo will be the Kerry of her generation?
It would be remiss of me not to mention my late grandfather when speaking of the All-Ireland. The fit-as-a-fiddle 83-year-old travelled to Croker for the final last year with my two cousins and could even see the bright side of things after Mayo’s defeat.
Making the journey home in the car, my cousin Philip said, “Granda, I’m sorry you didn’t get to see Mayo win the All Ireland.” To which my quick-witted Grandfather replied, “What are you on about? Don’t feel sorry for me, I’ve seen them win three times. I’m more worried you’ll never see them win.”
Oh Granda, I hope you were wrong. Maigh Eo Ábu!