Monday, July 09, 2007
I have waited literally my entire life for Sligo to win a Connacht Championship; when I first saw the world in October 1975, Barnes Murphy's men were the reigning champions, only the second title in their history, though the lustre of their replay win in the provincial final had been lost by their hammering at the hands of the mighty Kerry team of Eoin Liston, Jack O'Shea, Mikey Sheehy et al in the All-Ireland semi-final in the eighth month of my gestation.
There have been three provincial final defeats since, in 1981 and 1997 against Mayo and five years ago against Galway, when Sligo later defeated Tyrone and ran eventual All-Ireland champions Armagh to three points in a replay. The latter two finals were contested by men that were very much my own generation and I'd played underage football football and soccer against many of them. I was at the final defeat by Mayo ten years ago and followed the campaigns of five and six years ago on TV. This makes my failure to remember yesterday's final, which resulted in a 1-10 to 0-12 win over Galway, all the more embarrassing and unforgivable. It was a text message from my mother, who was at the game, that told me the good news. I wait every minute of my existence for the unthinkable to happen (and this year the prospect of a provincial final win was particularly unthinkable) and when it does, I am, as it were, at the bar, or in queue for the jacks, if you will.
Even worse, I have been unable to see the edited highlights on RTÉ's news streaming because of foreign broadcast rights. No sign of it yet either on YouTube. Apart from one Sligo person I know over here, there is no-one to celebrate it with either. How can one savour a moment in isolation? I suppose people did it easily enough in the pre-Setanta era but that's no consolation. I won't be missing the quarter-final clash, whenever it is, and whoever it's against.