IN FULL FLIGHT Mayo’s Colm Boyle wins the ball ahead of Kerry’s James O’Donoghue during Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay. Pic: Sportsfile
WITH live TV interviews to be done and two man of the match awards to be collected, Colm Boyle was in demand last Saturday evening at Croke Park as the dust settled on Mayo’s first championship win over Kerry for 21 years.
As they came striding down the tunnel together under the Hogan Stand, Boyle’s club-mate, Mayo GAA PRO Paul Cunnane, couldn’t contain his delight at the result and Boyler’s performance.
“You can’t beat the Davitts lads!” he declared with a smile.
Boyle never flinched, his mind still locked in game-mode and also conscious of the need to keep his focus ahead of a round of post-match interviews.
A few minutes later he re-emerges with his RTE and Sky Sports duties done, the beads of sweat still visible on his forehead after going 75 minutes with Kerry on a warm day.
We ask him what kind of a game was it to play in?
“It was a bit strange really,” he answered. “I think we started well but hit a bit of a lull halfway through the first half. “Maybe both teams did.
“Then Diarmuid’s [O’Connor] goal towards the end of the first half gave us a bit of a tonic, a bit of a kick coming in to half-time.
“Andy’s goal then at the start of the second half gave us another bit of a lift, and we were able to push on from there, thank God.”
Just then Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice walks by, shaking Boyle’s hand as he does so, and wishing him well in the All-Ireland Final.
That will be Mayo’s tenth game of a marathon summer so you can only assume the whole championship must be a bit a blur for these Mayo players.
“Some of the games are a bit, probably that game there is a bit of a blur to be honest,” he admits.
“I won’t say it’s been a long summer, but we’ve been busy. We’ve probably trained less than we ever have before but we’ve had more games. It’s been great really.
“Big crowds, big Mayo support, and again huge Mayo support for us today… you just have to admire them.”
Six days previous, Stephen Rochford’s decision to take Boyle off eight minutes into the second half of the drawn game drew the ire of pundits and many Mayo supporters alike.
The story goes that Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien was getting on too much ball and running hard at Mayo’s backline, while Boyle’s first half exertions also caught up with him.
We ask the man himself what the reason was?
“There was no reason behind it really. “It’s a 26-man squad, 21 guys play on the day, and you need everyone going full tilt.
“That’s what we saw out there today, you saw subs coming off the bench making a huge difference for us and that’s what you need every day you go out. “That’s what we’re going to need the next day.”
Between now and Sunday, September 17, Colm Boyle will return to work as a Garda in Westport and stick to his tried and trusted routine.
It will be his fourth All-Ireland Final, five if you count last year’s replay, but he has no interest in getting caught up in talk of ‘finishing the job once and for all’.
“First and foremost we’re just delighted to be there, that was the plan at the start of the year, to get back to an All-Ireland Final,” he explains. “We’ll leave the talking to everyone else.
“We’ll just keep the heads down.”
But before he leaves to hit the ice-baths, the Crimlin crusader has a brief message for the Mayo fans.
“The lift they gave us out there today was unbelievable. The lift they give us every day is out of this world and it means an awful lot to us. Hopefully we’ll see them out in force again in three weeks’ time.”