It’s not easy being a Mayo supporter, following the ups and downs of Mayo Football. We are well used to hearing the comments “Mayo God help us” or “bottlers” but this team are different. They don’t make it easy on themselves or us as supporters sometimes, but they keep plugging away, battling and never dropping the heads or giving up. These players fight for each other, stand up for each other never lose heart. It’s what makes this team different.
After 21 minutes played in the first half, Mayo were 7 points to 1 down, Kerry were hammering Tyrone up in Omagh and Donegal were having a battle royal with Dublin up in Ballybofey. This was when my heart started sinking, starting to give up, relegation to division 2 was certain, the future of Mayo football looked very bleak in my eyes. This Mayo team had different ideas though!
Kevin Mc Loughlan got the scoreboard ticking again with a point from a free, then Micky Conroy got a cracker of a point shortly after. Another good point from Alan Freeman after getting a push in the back (which should have been a free) and another great point from Aiden O’Shea after scooping the ball out of the air from the Cork kick out. Mayo went in at the break 8 points to 5 down, but things were looking a lot brighter.
Mayo came out for the second half meaning business with Donnie Vaughan scoring a cracker of a point from way out the pitch. Another brilliant save by David Clark on the line (that fella is cooler than the breeze that was blowing!) Cork were starting to get frustrated by our solid back line and some bad wide’s as they were facing into a strong wind. Richie Feeney got an awful charge from the back which was bad enough to give him whiplash! A bit of a battle started in the middle of the field and as I said earlier, these lads stick up for each other and gave as good as they got!
Two huge sideline kicks (one from each side of the pitch) from last years young player of the year Cillian O’Connor, the last which was the winning point for us, secured our place in Division 1 for 2014. It also means that we maintain our record for being the longest team to remain in division 1, 16 years and counting if I’m correct! It was an agonising few minutes waiting for the results from the other match’s to come through and was a great relief that we avoided relegation, and a shock to hear that Donegal were relegated.
There was a huge Mayo support that travelled down for the match. We went down on Saturday morning and meet a good few Mayo people around town. We decided to meet up for a few pints in the famous Larry Tompkins pub on Saturday night and we met a few Cork and Mayo legends there! Mayo supporters out numbered (and out sung) Cork supporters Saturday night and again at the match, some reports in the papers today saying by 3/4 of the 2012 that went through the turnstiles.
The players really noticed the vocal support as well and a good few of them (that I’ve seen) showed their appreciation on Twitter today.
— Lee Keegan (@leeroykeegan) April 8, 2013
A big thanks to the supporters who made the long trek to Cork today. Glad it was worthwhile.
— Cillian O'Connor (@CILL14N) April 7, 2013
Great result 2day and getting a spot in the semi finals. Fair play to all our supporters who made the long trek dwn . #backtocroker
— Kevin Keane (@kevkeane3) April 7, 2013
All the photos from the match can be viewed in the photo gallery. Mayo are now in the division 1 league semi-final after beating Cork. We will be meeting Dublin in Croke Park next Sunday with a 3.45 throw in time. It will be preceded by the other semi-final between Tyrone and Kildare which throws in at 2pm. Another trek to Croke Park and it will be Monday sometime before I get any photos uploaded, as it will be late Sunday night when we get back home.