An Ode to All-Ireland Final Day
'Tis the best day of the year
The third Sunday in September; that magical day where dreams can come true or be shattered by the kick of a ball.
This Sunday Dublin and Mayo face off in the 2016 All-Ireland Final, and the hype has reached fever pitch as the Metropolitans aim to achieve the only thing that has eluded their current squad so far - back to back Sam Maguires. Mayo are hoping to shake off a curse that has plagued the team since they pissed off a priest back in 1951, and it promises to be an epic encounter.
In honour of the big day, we have compiled the Typical All-Ireland Final Day, which will hopefully jog a few memories and get some of you psyched for the big day.
You're up earlier than you'd like to be, but the smell of your aul one's fry up has kickstarted your All-Ireland day. Rashers, sausages, soda bread and a mug of tae has you right as rain after you had ten too many pints with your mates the night before while discussing who was going to win man of the match the next day.
You have your jersey on, accompanied by a cowboy hat with your team colours. The boot is filled with the hang sandwiches and flasks of more tae. The group discussion gets quite heated shortly before you head off - one car flag or two? And we're off...
You're stuck in traffic...
You've hit the big smoke and the place is buzzing. "Hats, flags, scarves and headbands" they're shouting on the street. Into Quinn's/The Big Tree/The Hogan Stand you go for your pint of stout or bottle of Bulmers, when the sudden realisation hits you - still haven't got a feckin' ticket! The scramble is on...
Well, realistically the scramble has been on for the last three weeks but you've left it to the last minute. You get a call from your uncle, whose wife hasn't been able to come down because she's gone into labour. He'll see her after the game and you collect your ticket outside the Croke Park Hotel. Down the Jones Road you go!
Despite your half-arsed claims that you'll get in for the second half of the minor game, you stumble in the gates of Hill 16 just as the teams are running out on to the pitch. The sun is beating down (maybe) and those pints you had before the game are making things a little blurry. Nonetheless you bellow out the words you know to the national anthem with pure pride in your country. The referee throws the ball in and we're off.
The game's just finished, you're either in the midst of pure euphoria, or if you're from Mayo you're cursing those lads from the '51 team and how they should hurry up and be on their way. Either way, you're heading back to the pub via the burger stand.
The post-match analysis is well under way. "He's a cert for an allstar now" or "I knew he was shite anyway" are a few of the things being thrown around. Your plans to head home that night are scuppered by a mate living in Dublin who says you can stay the night. Coppers it is lads.
Jaysus lads the queue for Coppers is brutal...
You eventually make it in after narrowly avoiding the black card from the bouncer. The jersey and cowboy hat have miraculously survived the day. Now you're looking to get on the scoresheet.
Retire back to your mate's gaff defeated, but not before a pit stop for a curry chip. You meet a couple of other like-minded individuals from your rival county, and the chat about next year's adventure begins...