Friday 22 November 2019

Mayo mountains

• The county of Mayo has many beautiful mountain ranges. The Partry and The Nephin ranges, along with the most famous of Ireland's holy mountains, Croagh Patrick, are well known. I'm sure many of the counties' footballers both past and present have, in the peaks of their fitness, walked up and down its gravelly slopes in pilgrimage and maybe for training purposes.

Like Mayo, Donegal has many impressive mountain ranges, The Blue Stacks and Mount Errigal spring to mind.

However, I feel that when Donegal teams travel outside the county to play important game like All-Ireland finals in Croke Park, they leave the mountains where they belong, sturdy and anchored within the county boundaries.

But it seems that when Mayo teams go to play on the level playing pitch of Ireland's most iconic sports field, Croke Park, they can't help creating mountains where none previously existed.

In finals against Kerry and in last Sunday's encounter against Donegal, the ball had been barely thrown in when the first mountain sprung up.

A quick-fire goal for Donegal. The saliva had barely dried from the tip of the referee's whistle when the busy Mayo backs had created another mountain. Goal number two for Donegal.

So along with trying to contain and stay on top of a fancied and super-fit Donegal, the hopeful Mayo lads had a big mountain to climb.

Sadly again on Sunday they failed to reach the summit to lay claim to the holy grail of Sam Maguire. Yes Mayo people will say, we've got Knock and Croagh Patrick, something that few other counties can boast of, but would they trade one or both of those holy places for the honour of giving Sam Maguire a loving home and resting place for 12 months?

Brian Reynolds
Cootehill, Co Cavan

Irish Independent

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