Last night I had a pleasant dream ……
Which song will Larry sing? screamed James Molloy’s promotional posters for the Qualifier game with Wicklow. Would it be “Lovely Leitrim” or “Among theWicklow Hills”? PRO Collette Fox was busy last week making sure the posters hit every corner of the county, it would be important to pull the supporters out again to roar on the green and gold.
As I was perusing the GAA Qualifier programmes I could see in the clearest pie-chart format that Leitrim was the only county yet to win a Qualifier game in the All Ireland Football Championship. A big red pie all to ourselves. Kerry had a clean plate, never having lost on their journey through the back door en route to the Quarter Finals. The other counties had a mixum-gathering. Disappointed at Leitrim’s lot, I just nodded off into a deep, deep sleep.
But at least I had a pleasant dream. The sun shone on the manicured Páirc Seán pitch and there was an air of expectancy around the place. Carrick had been booked out solid for the weekend — not a bed to be got –only this time, not just by the hens and the stags. The GAA fans had travelled in big numbers from the Garden County and were going to make a few days of it, before tuning into the Round III draw on Monday morning. Hadn’t all the papers and the pundits made them hot favourites. It would be the same old story for Leitrim.
In my dreams I could see a new passion in the Bush Hotel jerseys as every player raised his game; Ray Cox grabbed the ball, swung around Colm O’Rourke style and bisected the posts; James Glancy and Emlyn Mulligan were picking off points; Cathal McCrann was making wonder saves; Enda Williams was making pin-point passes; the backs harried and the forwards hunted, while the midfielders flicked the kick-outs away from their much taller opponents; Leitrim were ahead at half time; the “Lee-trum, Lee-trum” chants reminded everyone of the early nineties; George and Barney consulted, waved directions and made timely substitutions; the stand and the terraces were going mad; John Lynch, Seamus Gallagher, PJ Leddy, Kevin Blessing and all the others were going hoarse with excitement; East Coast radio was telling its listeners that Wicklow wasn’t giving up, there could be a goal in them yet; the Leitrim medical and backroom team were on their feet; James Molloy and Willie Donnellan could hardly hold their cameras steady; Joe Flynn and Diarmuid Sweeney and the whole officer board were getting claps on the back; former team Manager and great friend to the players, Mickey Moran was delighted he had travelled from Derry; John Connolly and Philip Rooney were working out a headline for the Observer; Brian Blake was zooming in on the scoreboard; every watch in Páirc Seán was checked and double checked; Castlebar was forgotten; the players were still giving of every ounce of energy; it finished with a Leitrim win.
What a dream, what a dream. As Larry Cunningham sang so often, I woke up with a smile.
Then someone told me my dream had come true. We HAD won. Larry would be singing “Lovely Leitrim” after all. Well done lads, every single one of you.
Collette and James, get the next poster ready.
15-Jul-12 by Tommy Moran