We’re delighted to welcome Gerry in Laois to the hot seat this week, where he’s giving the last rallying call to the troops before tomorrow. Read and obey!! Take it away Gerry …
I think by now we have made our feelings pretty clear on the semi-final replay débâcle. Willie Joe summed it up quite succinctly on Tuesday when he observed that in the eyes of the top brass at Croke Park:
“We truly are Children of a Lesser God.”
But that’s the hand we have been dealt. it’s a crappy one, but one we now have to play. I think we must now grab this opportunity to turn adversity into advantage.
The Gaelic Grounds has a capacity of about 50,000 or so, and this game will probably be a sell-out. We easily outnumbered the Kerry fans the last day, about 4-1 by my reckoning. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the crowd photo taken for eircom.ie/gaa and compare the number of Mayo and Kerry jerseys on show. We won’t have this advantage on Saturday, given Limerick’s proximity to Kerry. (You all have your tickets by now, I hope?!) But that doesn’t mean that we can’t own the joint for the evening and turn this into a de facto home game.
We know all our players give everything to the cause. There is no place for passengers on any top-class team, and on Saturday, there will be no place for passengers in the stands either. If you want to come to the match and just sit and observe in silence, may I respectfully suggest that you use your Sky+ or UPC box for that purpose. We are going to Limerick to do a job, and that is to let our lads know that they have the best supporters in the country backing them all the way.
Last Sunday when the chips were down we did ourselves proud, both on the field and in the stands. The colour and raucous noise were a joy to behold and you could see that it gave the lads a lift, and helped them to go that little bit further and get those vital scores. We need to do that again on Saturday evening from before the match even starts, right to the very end.
Bring as much colour as possible. Flags, jerseys, hats, whatever you can find. If you don’t have anything to hand, look in the hot press and see if you can find two pieces of red and green material and stitch them together. We have immense pride in our county colours, so let’s make the Gaelic Grouds a #seaofgreenandred.
(Photo: James Crombie/INPHO)
The smaller ground means we will be closer to the action, so if we can replicate the noise levels from Croke Park last Sunday, we will have this place rocking. Make sure to be in place well before throw-in. When the stadium announcer reads out the Mayo team names, let us roar out our approval in unison, for every single name. As loud as we can, so that they hear it in the dressing rooms. Then before the teams emerge, we start a chant. Bring anything along that will make a bit of noise – horns, bodhrans, whatever. Stamp your feet as you chant. Can you imagine the effect that would have on our lads as they’re coming out of the dressing room? Hearing tens of thousands of feet stamping in unison and the chant “MAYYYY-OH! MAYYYY-OH! MAYYYY-OH!”
And then when they emerge, we raise the roof.
All through the game, we keep going. We cheer not just every score, but every time a Mayo hand touches the ball. Every pass completed, every kick-out secured, every turnover won, every broken ball won, every free won, every Kerry shot blocked, we shake the rafters. (OK, I know there are rafters and a roof on one side of the pitch only, but you know what I mean!) If it’s not going our way, we keep urging our lads on even more. If it looks like the ref is giving a few too many soft frees to Kerry, we get on his case. If you find yourself behind the Kerry bench, roar even louder so that their players can’t hear their instructions.
If you still have any anger or frustration in you from Sunday, this will help you vent it. Don’t worry if you lose your composure and end up looking like Steve Ballmer, because the result will be worth it. We played Kerry up a stick with fourteen men on the field last Sunday and the equivalent of at least two or three more in the stands. Imagine what we could do with our full fifteen and the same again or more from the stands?
And when it’s all over, and everyone is celebrating our third consecutive All-Ireland Final appearance in one of Limerick’s fine hostelries, we sing with one voice:
“You can stick your American Football up your arse, up your arse!”
MAIGH EÓ ABÚ