It’s the talk of the town… tickets, injuries, departure times and above all the match of the year. We are feeling the buzz, the hum in the air, the building excitement – work still goes on, holiday season is in flight and the tourists are in awe of our joy but in our wee villages there is nothing quite like the lead in to an All-Ireland Hurling final! At AJLA and PoppySeed the story is the same and the talk is about a balance of rosters and tickets – who has the golden ticket and who really needs the day off?
Sunday itself will be a different day at work, fast and furious followed by calm and relaxed. The prediction?, A big hearty crowd for the breakie – many wearing the war colours of maroon and white, eating and talking at pace and ready for the whistle as if they too were hitting the turf at No.11. They will mostly savour the traditional meal of days like this – the full Irish with the best Galway fare. Collerans meats, Galway free range eggs, kinvara mushrooms, thick cut home brown bread and a cup of the finest Irish tea. You can almost feel the 80s! Everyone bursting with pride that our boys are leading the way to Croker in both Senior and Minor games.
A more relaxed lunchtime guest will savour the quiet of a Sunday afternoon of days gone by. Days when roads were empty, shops were closed and often the only thing to do was enjoy a cuppa, a match on radio or TV, a walk. Light lunches and maybe a tiger prawns here and there will be the winners from the menu. As the clock ticks closer to 3.30pm and the throw in for the senior game our doors will remain open but an eerie calm will settle. This will last for about the first half, a gradual trickle of tourists stop by, a few escape from home for a sweet treat and then there is a gang who will drop in because they cannot handle the pressure, the intensity, the stress of the game. This has become routine, a “cannot bear to look” moment, the clock has all but stopped and escape the only solution. We’ll set them up with a coffee, a piece of cake and regular updates on scores. A few will wait it out with the restaurant team and some will run, as fast as they appeared, the call of the last few torturous minutes too much to ignore.
Hurling, it’s a joy for those of us who love it, a thrill for those who appreciate it. It’s our heritage, the fibre of community, a stronghold of Irish tradition and from our corners in Clarinbridge and Oranmore we send every good wish to Micheal, our Senior and minor teams.