Early rising in the English capital

A Mayo man in Galway
Early rising in London

There’s nothing like a 6.25am flight out of London on a Monday morning to test the mood of Mayo people after an interesting weekend in the capital.
Groggy heads were ten-a-penny at Stansted Airport and hadn’t improved much by the time they made it to Knock Airport. Any of them working on Monday probably didn’t contribute much in terms of productivity.
But it could have been worse if London had pulled off what they looked like they might do and beat Mayo for the biggest shock possibly in GAA history. It would have been easy to talk to us on the plane in that case.
As it was the hardy creature that is the Mayo GAA hardcore supporter was making little of the fact that they had no more than four hours sleep before the flight. Some brave or foolhardy (delete as you feel appropriate) younger fans stayed out for the night, left a London night club at 3am to get on the flight. They won’t need sleeping tablets this week.
The Mayos were out in force over the weekend. The carrot of the Champions League final brought a few more over than normal, even if tickets for that were harder to get than for any All-Ireland Final.
The plan was to watch a tight soccer game in the pubs on the Saturday evening and then go to Ruislip on the Sunday for the straightforward matter of beating London. The best laid plans of mice and men . . .
From all parts of the county they travelled over to London at the weekend. O’Neill’s in Soho was our location for the Champions League final and on the third floor alone there I counted over 30 people from the Castlebar area. I’d meet fewer people I know walking down the Main Street in ‘town’.
Ruislip on Sunday was like an interactive map of Mayo, meet an Achill man here, talk to a Ballyvary man there. Kiltimagh, Breaffy, Islandeady, Ballyheane, Parke, Turlough, Castlebar, Ballintubber, Belcarra – name a village in the county and if there wasn’t someone from there in Ruislip, something was wrong.
They got more than they bargained for too.
The jokes weren’t long circulating afterwards.
People talked about booking CityWest for the All-Ireland weekend with tongues firmly in cheek while I liked one man’s line that we shouldn’t be too hard on Mayo – sure haven’t London a huge pick.

Email Edwin at edwinmcgreal@gmail.com