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The bluffer’s guide to the big game

Sport

ENJOYING THE DAY  Esther Dixon, originally from Claremorris but now living in Long Island in America, is pictured at the Mayo v New York match at Gaelic Park in 2014. Pic: Sportsfile

Guide
Mike Finnerty

Q. Does anybody know how many Mayo supporters are going to New York for the game?
A. No, they don’t! And if anybody tries to tell you they do, then they’re bluffing because there is no way to know for sure.
But going by the bush telegraph and anecdotal evidence, it seems that there are more people travelling than ever before.
Our educated guess is more than 5,000 but it’s impossible to know for sure. Anyone want to try and count them?

Q. Will everybody get to see the match?
A. That’s a very good question, but it doesn’t look likely.
John Prenty of the Connacht GAA Council says that there around 4,500 tickets so demand is more than likely going to exceed supply.
Plus, we remember in 2014 when Mayo played New York that there wasn’t a whole lot of wriggle room at Gaelic Park and that was when there were around 4,000 people in the ground.

Q. What should Mayo fans that don’t have a ticket do?
A. They should keep their ear to the ground around the coffee shops and bars where they see other Mayo supporters. You never know where one might pop up.
Otherwise, get out to Gaelic Park bright and early on Sunday morning because there just might be some tickets going on general sale at the ground.

Q. So they can watch it somewhere, right?
A. Wrong! Despite a few rumours to the contrary, the match isn’t being shown on any TV station or streamed on any websites.
Mayo GAA TV had looked into the possibility of showing the match online a number of months ago, but they were not given permission to do so due to rights issues.

Q. So what will Mayo supporters in New York who don’t have tickets do on Sunday?
A. We can only assume that some of them will head to some of the bars around Gaelic Park for the afternoon, while others might get some shopping done or perhaps take in a tour. As Prenty has been saying for months now, ‘People should go for the craic, not just for the match!’

Q. What are New York like?
A. NOBODY knows, because they haven’t played a competitive game since losing to Leitrim by a point after extra-time twelve months ago.
And there’s been such a big turnover in players in the New York squad since that nail-biting defeat than it’s impossible to know what sort of challenge they will put up to Mayo.

Q. Have they ever won a match?
A. NO, not in the Connacht championship.
Sunday marks 20 years since New York started playing in the provincial championship and they are still waiting for their first win — although they nearly took down the Rossies and Leitrim in recent years.
Leitrim needed extra-time to pip them last May.

Q. What are Mayo likely to win by?
A. The bookmakers are predicting that the margin of victory will be at least 19 points, and Mayo left with a 22 points win back in 2014. But any kind of a victory will do James Horan at this stage, preferably one that comes without any drama or injuries.