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Island dreams of Sam

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UP FOR THE MATCH Children from the Junior Room at Sáile NS on Achill Island pictured with their teacher Ms Clíodhna Healy at the school’s Mayo Day on Friday last.


Edwin McGreal

Friday afternoon last in Sáile NS on Achill Island and there’s excitement in the air.
Principal John Gallagher has called a Mayo Day ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland Final.
In the Junior Room (Junior Infants to Second Class), with the help of their múinteoir Ms Clíodhna Healy, the kids are blasting out The Green and Red of Mayo with all of their might. We’d be surprised if every Mayo player around the county couldn’t hear them.
In the Senior Room (Third to Sixth Class), the kids there and their múinteoir Ms Mary Eileen Gallagher are busy turning the school green and red while an impressively created Sam Maguire stands proudly in the room.
Cillian Doolan-Lynch is back in the school he graduated from two years ago to tell everyone about the two tickets he won for Saturday to take part in a skills competition (see piece in All-Ireland supplement).
A Gaeltacht school, the kids take a break and talk as Béarla for The Mayo News.
Tickets are the talk of the place. None of the kids in the upper room have one but most are hoping they will get their hands on them before the weekend.
All togged in Mayo colours, there’s some big Mayo fans here as you discover when you ask them who their favourite players are and why.
Pádraig O’Hora is a particular favourite, with Aoife Corrigan, Caitlyn Gallagher and Noah McNea singling him out as their favourite.
“He’s not a glory hugger, he actually passes to other people,” says Noah of the Ballina man’s selfless attitude.
Caoilainn McHugh’s favourite is Robbie Hennelly, for his equalising point in the semi-final while Matthew Kilbane opts for Paddy Durcan, ‘one of the best half-backs in Ireland’. Impossible to argue with.
Shane Gallagher plumps for Lee Keegan for his ability to go up the field and score while Mairéad Murphy opts for Eoghan McLaughlin for his bravery in the semi-final win.
Matthew Ruane’s workrate stands out for Andrea Kilbane while Jamie Kilbane and Shane Cafferkey say their favourite player is Aidan O’Shea.
There’s no disagreement on who is going to win … Mayo of course! But there is a wide range of opinions about the score. Noah McNea reckons it will be 5-9 to 6-2; Caoilainn McHugh goes for 1-16 to 1-13 while Cillian Doolin-Lynch is confident Mayo will win by 2-14 to 1-9.
Mairéad Murphy reckons Mayo will win by a goal, 1-12 to 0-12 but that it will be like the Dublin game, with ‘Mayo behind at half time and coming back’.
I’m not sure Mayo fans will cope with another day like that but will gladly take any of the results the kids in Sáile are suggesting.