THE Sam Maguire Cup will not be leaving Croke Park next Saturday evening, regardless of who wins the 2021 All-Ireland senior football final.
So the coveted trophy will not be coming west — or going north!
Covid-19 rules and regulations prevented the Limerick hurlers from bringing home the Liam McCarthy Cup after the All-Ireland hurling final, and the same rules will apply on Saturday night, according to Mayo GAA Secretary Dermot Butler.
“Whoever is lucky enough to win the game will have to leave the cup after them, but nobody will be too worried about that at the moment,” he told The Mayo News before explaining the protocol around the trophy.
“The winning captain will lift the cup and make his speech, and if players want to go up then and lift the cup individually they can. The cup will then come down for a team photo before it’s taken back by Croke Park officials again,” said Butler.
The Mayo GAA official was speaking after both he and Tyrone secretary Dominic McCaughey were informed of the strict regulations by Croke Park officials last Friday.
Of course, the Sam Maguire cup will not be presented on Saturday evening if a replay is required. The prospect is a live one after both semi-finals required extra time, but Dermot Butler believes that the possibility of a replay is a long-shot.
“If the game ends level after 70 minutes, two periods of extra-time will be played, and if it’s still level then the game will be replayed eight days later on Sunday, September 19,” he said.
Another change to ceremonial matters will be the arrival of President Michael D Higgins in the stadium. The Galway man will be introduced to the crowd for the Presidential Salute, but will not meet and shake hands with players from both teams as had occurred before pre-Covid-19 All-Ireland finals.