School ties go out the window as fans show true colours ahead of final
AS the chants of "Come on Dublin" grew louder and more raucous, a lone Mayo woman amid the sea of blue called for quiet – and got it.
Teachers have their own rules. They just may not work in Croke Park.
Maire Ni Ruain is a long way from her native Belmullet, but as the third-class teacher in gaelscoil Scoil Bhride in Dublin's Ranelagh, she was keeping the green and red flying, despite being heavily outnumbered.
But the 'split' Dublin/Mayo jersey worn by her son, Ruairi O Donnchu (10), was the perfect compromise for any potential confusion or division of loyalties.
Or so it seemed.
Asked who he was supporting in tomorrow's final, Ruairi hesitated momentarily before apologetically admitting: "Er, Dublin."
"His father is from Dublin," said Maire, who was lucky enough to get tickets for herself and her husband – though she couldn't track down any for their children.
"It was impossible to get any more and Mayo mightn't be here again for a long time, so I'm going myself," she added.
Just down the corridor, another Mayo woman was bravely keeping the green and red aloft despite a deluge of little chanting Dubs.
"They're very excited," said Bernie Gearoid, from outside Belmullet, of her pupils in rang a haon or first class.
"Some of them have parents from Mayo – but the kids themselves are all strong Dublin supporters."
When two little boys came shyly to the fore, asking if they could sing a song, it was difficult to know whether 'Molly Malone' or 'Mayo for Sam' was going to come out.
As it turned out, it was an all-encompassing and diplomatic shout of "come on Ireland".
Asked who was going to the match, seven children put up their hands – although whether they have told their parents of their plans might be a different story.
Meanwhile, Bernie is bitterly disappointed not to have managed to bag a ticket for either herself or her brother Micheal, who is returning home especially from San Francisco today.
"There were absolutely none to be had – it's absolutely crazy," she said, adding that she is keeping her eyes firmly peeled for any that might crop up.
"There's a great atmosphere in the school," said fifth-class teacher Yann O hEireamhon, a staunch Dublin fan.
"I've never been so nervous coming up to a match," he added.
"There's been so much coverage about it and we don't know how it will go."