Kenneth Conway is our latest contributor to our “Nostalgia Week”. I’ve just this second made that up, but it works. So it’s Nostalgia Week from now on. Take it away Kenny!

I’m a 19 year old and for someone of such a young age I have seen and been at an amount of Mayo games you would need a few sets of hands to count and even then you might need an extra hand or two. I have been going to Mayo matches for the last 10 years or more. In 2004 I went to my first All Ireland Final and that was an experience in itself and I am going to tell you a little bit about the experience in the lead up to it and after the match itself.

At that time it was a week or so off my 10th birthday and I remember I kept asking my dad to bring me to Croke Park for the final but he kept saying no that it was too expensive. So me like most children when they didn’t get their way went to their bedroom and sulked. Little did I know he had actually got tickets for us both.

It was the night before the final and I went to my room and there it was right in front of the telly was a ticket and I felt as if I was after getting the golden ticket like Charlie from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My parents were in the sitting room which was directly below my bedroom and I’d safely say they thought I would come through the ceiling with the way I was jumping for joy.

I remember running down the stairs and going straight over to my dad giving him the biggest hug. I was absolutely ecstatic at the fact that I had got a ticket after asking him over and over again to get me one and him repeatedly telling me no.

My dad soon told me to go and get my jersey and flag ready for the morning and head straight to bed as it was going to be an early start in the morning. I ran straight back up to my room got my jersey and flag ready and jumped into bed. Tried as I might I just couldn’t get to sleep that night with the excitement of going to my 1st All Ireland Final. I know I was already in Croke Park previous to the final but this time was different as it was going to be my 1st final.

The big day came and we headed up to Dublin. So eventually we got there found a parking spot and made our way to Croke Park. Walking up Jones’ Road is another experience in itself being among tens of thousands of people who are all there for the same thing you are.

We finally got inside and made our way to our seat. The teams came out done their warm ups , had their photo’s taken , had the team talk and stand and face the flags for Amhrán na bhFiann. With all of these out of the way it was game time.

Croke Park

As we all know it didn’t end up being our day like it has every year we have been in a final since then and we suffer heart ache each year. For me as a 9 year old yes I was obviously disappointed that Mayo didn’t win but at the same time I was so happy that I was able to see an All Ireland Final for the 1st time.

Since then I have been to every final Mayo have been in and many a match since and hopefully I will be at another final this year and many more finals and matches in years to come.

Maigh Eo Abú !

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