Monday 23 April 2018

The West awakes - and hits the road ahead of crunch GAA fixtures

Former Miss Galway Laura Fox gears for the big match. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Former Miss Galway Laura Fox gears for the big match. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Top: Galway fans have covered their street, St Brendan’s Terrace, Ballinasloe, in maroon and white

Declan Rooney

Galway is gearing up for the final - and a Loughrea sports shop is hoping that its equipment will prove the magic ingredient.

Declan Power Sports is a regular pre-match destination for Galway hurler Jason Flynn, and yesterday morning was no different as he finished off packing his kit bag.

The boots are polished and the helmet is ready, but Power's are hoping that their grips will be Jason's lucky charm on Sunday.

"Jason comes into us here before every big game to get his new grips. Hopefully they'll be the ones that bring him the good luck," said employee Padraig Robinson.

"I'm from Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry myself and our clubman, Shane Maloney, hit the winning point the last day. Hopefully one of the boys will do the business for us on Sunday."

All-Ireland fever has gripped the county for the past two weeks since Anthony Cunningham's troops wrapped up their place in tomorrow's hurling decider.

And that excitement is about to come to a crescendo as members of the Tribe trawl the county for the last few tickets to gain entry to the Croke Park decider.

It's 27 years since Galway last lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup and no one wants to miss out.

Last time they were there in 2012 Kilkenny needed a replay to shake off Galway, so this time around, the maroon faithful are looking to go one better. But there will be thousands of disappointed Tribesmen as the fruitless search for tickets continues.

And it's not just Galway that's gone mad, as Mayo supporters are trying their best to get their hands on the golden pass for today's All-Ireland semi-final replay with Dublin at Croke Park.

Mayo-born Loughrea resident Michelle Collins is not shy in nailing her colour to the mast.

But her five-year-old son Padraic Hedderman is having none of it - he says maroon all the way!

Former Mayo and Galway manager John O'Mahony, now a Fine Gael TD, will get to meet and greet many of the people in Croke Park this weekend, who he will hope will be voting for him in the general election.

"The west of Ireland will be decamped to the east coast for the weekend and here's hoping for a great double," he said.

Irish Independent

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