Battle lines drawn as family divided in big-game support
LOVE may conquer almost anything – but it doesn't stand a chance when it comes to an All Ireland final.
Dubliner Damian Loftus has lived and worked in Westport, Co Mayo for the past seven years. However, with the All-Ireland clash looming on Sunday, he's found himself caught behind enemy lines.
Home is proving no solace with allegiances evenly divided between the teams. His wife Noelle and two daughters Saoirse (7) and Aoibheann (5) are all die-hard Mayo fans, while sons Stephen (13) and John (3) and daughter Alannah (10) are supporting the boys in blue.
"The oldest three were born in Dublin, but Saoirse has defected. But now I have John with me," joked Damian.
While Damian and Stephen will travel to Croke Park for the match, the rest of the family will watch the game from Mayo.
And Noelle is so confident of a Mayo win she has made a bet with her husband.
"When Mayo win, Damian can make dinner for the rest of the week," she said.
Damian, an avid GAA fan, who played with Vincents in his Dublin days, now manages the Kilmeena football club and Westport hurlers.
"I've been getting plenty of ribbing on the run up to this match that's for sure. But I expect Dublin to sneak it in the last minutes," he added.
After a 62-year wait for Sam Mayo has turned green and red with bunting and team songs at every turn. Two young sisters Nicole and Elisha Gannon from Westport decided to support the team by recording a song in their honour.
Nicole (15) penned the lyrics to This is Our Year and roped in 13-year-old sister Elisha for the music. Much to their delight, the song has been viewed almost 5,000 times online with some of the Mayo team tweeting their support for it.
"I decided to write the song because Mayo have been so close so many times and this time we thought we'd give them that extra boost with a new Mayo song," she said.
"The reaction has just been outstanding".
But despite even garnering a following among the team, the young sisters are still desperately seeking tickets to the match.
"It's the one thing we want. It would put the icing on the cake to get tickets," she said.
The young sisters are now considering new careers in the music industry.
"I used to never like to sing before this but Nicole made me sing along and it was fun. So you never know," said Elisha.