On the road
RIGHTLY — or more probably wrongly — generosity is often curtailed by the potential of precedent. Mayo GAA Blog creator and my Mayo News Football podcast side-kick John Gunnigan didn’t pay heed to any such fears on Sunday morning.
I was whizzing along the motorway bound for Newbridge when I took a call from him (via bluetooth, of course).
Before the hellos had even concluded, the question had been asked: “What do you want in your half-time sandwich, with the roasted red peppers?” he said, with a mix of chirpy enthusiasm and the kind of haste you hear in the voice of a New York deli server riffling up one of 50 or 60 such belly-fillers every hour.
When we bring the podcast to New York in a little over a year’s time, we might compare Manhattan’s finest with one made at Gunnigan HQ in Dublin.
Betty’s roasted peppers will take some beating. (Keep in mind, the sports editor has just read this and is currently trying to work out how he can factor John and I into the New York budget but the podcast is a runaway train at this stage, so we’ve no doubt he’ll come up with a killer plan!)
Anyway, before all that, we have Ballybofey in the National League and a host of venues still to be mapped out with a potential ‘Super 8s’ adventure on the horizon for good measure.
Now that the precedent has been set for the half-time sandwiches, I think John is going to be busy keeping myself, his son Joe, and brother Louis full for the journeys that lie ahead.
After the sandwich order had been completed, we got down to planning the podcast for Sunday’s game against Kildare. Our in-match position was once again set for the terrace, opposite the main stand.
We went for a similar location in Galway and the atmosphere was just the right mix of enthusiasm and good-natured banter.
Long before all the drama though, I had secured the showpiece interview of this week’s episode.
Mary Coen (mother of Stephen) and Lorraine Hall (Michael’s mum) kindly agreed to have a chat with us on Mother’s Day and their interview at the end of this week’s podcast is essential listening for some insight into life on the road, supporting a family member playing at the elite level of Gaelic games.
We recorded the final segment of the podcast just in front of the press box an hour after the game’s conclusion.
One colleague was just minutes away from having to find a B&B in the town as he almost got locked into the Bord Na Mona car park.
“I’ve a report to finish,” he hollered. “That’s not my problem, you can finish it once you’ve moved your car,” replied the local steward who had been tasked with passing on the message and chose the style of a frustrated delivery man in Castlebar.
We had no such worries as we finished our duties before getting on the road home, satisfied by John and his sambos, a man of the match display from Aidan O’Shea, and a good win that seems to suggest that all is getting back to normal in the Mayo camp.
Good news for us, bad news for every other team in the country.
On the road