Last Saturday evening I decided to head along to the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick to see what a battle of the neighbours looks like as an “outsider” so to speak.
Arriving early, there was already that usual feel of a GAA occasion as Mayo and Galway fans streamed into the Mackey Stand with those late ushered towards the open stand which didn’t look as inviting with the grey skies but as it turned out, no one was drowned as the rain never went past mist level.
The first game up was a very entertaining Connacht Senior Ladies Final Replay in which Galway took the honours before the hour and a half delay took place ahead of the 7pm throw in with late comers all looking for the elusive seat.
Soon it was time for the action as both sets of fans welcomed their teams into the arena. Galway received a generous applause from their fans before the roof was almost taken off the stand upon Mayo’s arrival.
And it stayed that way for most of the 70 minutes to follow only to be raising a little higher upon the arrival of Lee Keegan to the pitch and upon the final whistle.
It was both amazing and frightening in equal measure as their passion completely drowned out the considerable Galway support. In the end when the final whistle went James Horan ensured that his players returned to the dressing rooms without any celebration. Their focus was now on Kerry in Killarney.
Mayo supporters will no doubt travel in big numbers to Killarney on Sunday and it will take some effort from the home support to match what will arrive. Having seen how fanatical they are at first hand, they will roar on their team from the first whistle to the last.
So Kerry fans, no excuses, no sitting at home watching it on telly, no “the day is wet”, or “Parking will be hard to get” just pack up, colour up and head to Killarney early and get behind this largely young Kerry team who will need to hear you on Sunday.