IT’S the morning after the night before here in New York and it’s time to starting packing for the journey back to Mayo. We have done what we came here to do (work, of course, in the case of your dedicated Mayo News scribe) and now it’s time for all of us to move on to the next challenge.
In case you missed it (but you probably didn’t) Mayo won yesterday’s match against New York by 2-19 to 0-10. It was a good, entertaining game of football but, as we learnt over the course of our four days here in the Big Apple, this fixture is about an awful lot more than a game of football.
It’s a festival of Irish culture and a Mayo reunion all rolled into one. It’s also a rare chance for hundreds of Mayo men and women, who cannot return home to Ireland, to see their beloved county football team in the flesh and meet friends and family. That much was obvious during every single moment of our time here in New York.
Roughly 500 Mayo fans flew over from Shannon and Dublin for the weekend and all of them seemed to enjoy the show. What wasn’t there to enjoy?
The weather was glorious (after a slow start), there was always some Mayo function or other to attend (including a good old-fashioned traditional Irish music seisíun on Saturday night), and Gaelic Park yesterday featured a barbecue, cold beers, and a Mayo win. Happy days!
There were 3,000 people at the game, most paying $25, and anyone The Mayo News spoke to afterwards really enjoyed the day. The New York GAA Board ran everything like clockwork, the ground looked a million dollars, and the Mayo footballers kept up their end of the bargain with a good win.
Last night the Mayo players were free to do their own thing after attending a post-match meal in Eugene Rooney’s bar and restaurant, which was the unofficial HQ for Mayo fans over the course of the weekend.
Some headed to McLean Avenue in the Bronx to meet up with old friends while others stayed around the bright lights of the city. But all of them were glad of the chance to relax a little after spending four days ‘in camp’.
So, our time here is almost at an end. It’s been emotional — but well worth the trip. Roll on 2014, hopefully the recession will have passed by then!