Friday 23 March 2018

Mayo marches on Dublin - but first, the Full Irish

BRING THE NOISE: Mayo fans in full voice earlier in August. Photo: Cody Glenn
BRING THE NOISE: Mayo fans in full voice earlier in August. Photo: Cody Glenn
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Napoleon once said that an army marches on its stomach.

He might have been talking about Mayo's 30,000-strong battalion of fans heading to Croke Park today.

Hotelier John Feerick will feed thousands of Mayo fans before and after this afternoon's clash with Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Feerick's Halfway House Hotel in Rathowen, Co Westmeath, has become a totemic rallying point for the green and red army since the proud Mayo man - a native of Ballinrobe - took over the former pub in 1999. A squadron of chefs and catering staff will prepare an astonishing 2,000 Full Irish breakfasts today.

To this end, he has rallied the local suppliers and rounded up no less than 2,000 eggs, 4,000 rashers, 4,000 sausages, about 70 large punnets of mushrooms and tomatoes, six cases of large catering tins of baked beans, and half a van-load of bread, as well as a seemingly endless supply of hash browns.

There's also enough tea on hand to make Mrs Doyle of 'Father Ted' fame swoon with envy.

The first of more than a dozen coach buses will start arriving at around 9am this morning when the hungry and pumped-up masses tuck into their €10 brekkies.

But it's not just the food, which Mr Ferrick assures "will keep them going until dinner" but the electric atmosphere on match day.

"It's going to be a magic, magic day," said a hotel worker.

GAA fans are willing to pay four times the normal price for tickets for today's game.

Croke Park officially sold out its 82,300 seats on Wednesday, but ticket buyers and sellers have been doing deals online.

One user said that they would pay €100 for a place on Hill 16 for today's eagerly awaited tussle - four times the normal ticket price.

A GAA spokesman has warned fans that ticket touts will be investigated.

If you get a ticket off a tout, you risk being thrown out of the ground.

Sunday Independent

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