Come up for the Match
Leitrim’s big day is on Sunday, the annual pilgrimage to Páirc Seán MacDiarmada for the Minor and Connacht Gold Senior Football Finals.
What club in the county would not want to be part of it all? Who would not want to play in a Senior Championship Final? Is there a young footballer anywhere that would not jump at the opportunity to slip on a club jersey in a county Minor Final?
Last Sunday Croke Park did not have a vacant seat. Supporters of both counties and GAA followers from every county filled the stands and the terraces. But many had come from afar. When a county makes it to the All Ireland, a fever grips every corner, every household, every townland, every native. Flights are booked at short notice and Gaels pay top dollar to fly home from all corners, be they near or far – Australia, the States, South America, Europe, Liverpool or mainland Europe; sun holidays are abandoned; the phone calls home tell the relations to beg, borrow or steal tickets. Then, of course, there are GAA enthusiasts who fly in every year, irrespective of who makes it to the final, the few bob is put aside for this weekend, year after year. The wonder is, where do all the tickets manÓge to come from?
The good news for Sunday is that the games in Carrick are not all ticket, like the mobiles it’s pay as you go. And do you know, there will be as much excitement, or more, than there was with Kerry and Donegal in Croker. The rebirth of Aughawillan, a club whose password is passion, coming up against the reigning champions, St. Mary’s. There will be more at Mass in Carrick Church on Sunday morning than live in the whole parish of Aughawillan. But it’s not the dog in the fight that counts, it’s the fight in the dog. So be there.
Get there in time for the Minor game, with St. Manchan’s – Mohill, Eslin and Cloone – taking on St. Felim’s, the Ballinamore/Aughavas combination. Each side contains stars in their own right, who have played Minor for Leitrim and Senior for their own clubs. This will be a close one.
On your way in, make sure you get the Match Programme. It’s top class and chock full of info on the four clubs, the teams, the match officials, the youngsters from Annaduff, Aughnasheelin, Leitrim Gaels and Drumkeerin who line out in the exhibitionÓgames, together with memories and memorabilia and super, super photographs. It could be a lucky programme for you too – each one is numbered and a draw will be held at half time in the Senior game for a prize sponsored by Championship sponsors, Connacht Gold.
As well as all that you get the chance to honour stars of the past, when the Jubilee Team, the 1964 Senior Champions, Ballinamore, are introduced on the field. Throw in the harmonious music from the Kiltubrid Pipe Band, who will lead the pre-match parade. What more could you want?
Don’t be one of those saying on Monday “I heard the County Final was great, I should have gone”.
Have no regrets, be in Páirc Seán on Sunday.
25-Sep-14 by Leitrim GAA