THAT WINNING FEELING Fergal Loftus from Swinford epitomises the Mayo relief and delight after referee Joe McQuillan’s full-time whistle in Croke Park on Sunday.?Pic: Sportsfile
Final fever after dramatic victory
The hunt for that most precious piece of paper - an All-Ireland Final ticket - begins now after Mayo secured their place in the All-Ireland Football Final following a dramatic and nerve-wracking semi-final win over All-Ireland Champions Dublin.
It’s the second year in a row that Mayo have defeated the All-Ireland champions and while Mayo manager James Horan and his players will now focus on how they can overcome Donegal in the final, it’s a battle of a different kind for supporters - to make sure they’re in Croke Park on September 23.
One of the GAA’s marketing slogans this summer is ‘nothing beats being there’ and for the 25,000 strong Mayo supporting who made themselves heard in a frenzied Croke Park on Sunday, that was definitely the case as they watched Mayo’s most dramatic game since the 2006 semi-final win over the same opposition.
For those supporters and many more the coming days and weeks will be consumed by a treasure hunt for that elusive ticket. The bad news is they will be hard to find. The Mayo GAA Board anticipate an initial allocation of less than 10,000 with, historically, competing counties in minor and senior only receiving in the region of 30,000 tickets for the 82,300 capacity stadium.
Plans for the All-Ireland were nearly hatched too early on Sunday. When Alan Dillon put Mayo 0-17 to 0-7 in front after 51 minutes people wondered how come it was so easy. But there is almost always a twist and by the end Mayo were hanging on as the Dubs surged back into it. Late scores from Cillian O’Connor and Seamie O’Shea saw Mayo home on a score-line of 0-19 to 0-16.
Joe McQuillan’s final whistle brought a mixture of euphoria and relief as Mayo supporters dare to dream again.
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