Rolling out the red carpet

A Breaffy Man in Castlebar
Out with the red carpet

Edwin McGreal

We’re welcoming royalty on Sunday.
All this week every spare minute any Breaffy GAA clubperson has will be spent making sure our clubhouse, playing field and grounds are in tip-top shape.
Gerry Bourke will have the field like a golf green, Mick Conway will have the dressing rooms so well polished that you’ll be able to see your reflection off the wooden benches and Dolores Gannon and Mary Fahey won’t sleep right until every single inch of the club bar is spotless.
Donal Ó Gallachoir will be up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to carefully iron the flags and, at around the same time, some of our players will be getting fitful sleep, nerves intruding on their usual pattern. The other players? Well they won’t sleep at all.
Our team captain Barry Jordan is an excitable guy and this game has him in knots. Because it is the Mitchels that are coming, well Barry won’t eat after Friday morning, so caught up will he be with nerves.
The Mitchels to the uninitiated, are Castlebar Mitchels. Our big neighbours. The club we yearn to emulate.
Truth is we have to pinch ourselves that we are even allowed share the same field as them. Castlebar Mitchels. One of the biggest clubs in the county, nay, country. Too many senior county titles to mention.
And then there’s us. Breaffy. The hicks out the road. Never played senior until 1999. Never won a single senior championship. We live in their shadow and, well, to be playing them at senior level truly is an honour for our proud, little club.
How will we do? Well we know we’re up against it. Mitchels paraded in the St Patrick’s Day Parade this year with a float that said Moclair Cup - Coming Soon.
The Moclair Cup is the trophy for the county senior championship. And you couldn’t call such a bold declaration arrogant. It will be coming soon. Only bad luck deprived them of a final place last year.
I’ve a feeling this could be their year. And, make no mistake about it, everyone in Breaffy will be delighted for them if they were to do it.
Hick we may be, but begrudging we are not. Mitchels are our second team. If we’re out of a competition, then we cheer on Mitchels fervently, every man, woman and child of Breaffy.
But, before any of that, there’s Sunday. We know most of the Mitchels lads.
When it came for time to go to secondary school, we ended up in the same class as some of them. And many of them were kind enough to take us under their wing. They were streetwise and cool. We were the Beverly Hillbillies in comparison.
We needed guidance and counsel on the big bad world beyond Breaffy. The Castlebar lads gave it freely.
So it would be rude if we were to beat them so on Sunday, wouldn’t it?

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