Who Will Take Sam Home This Year?

It’s All-Ireland time! Dublin and Mayo will be battling it out for the coveted Sam Maguire cup on Sunday, 18th September in Croke Park. Can Dublin win two in a row? Mayo has been a finalist so many times. Is it finally their turn? None of the players today have seen a Mayo All-Ireland win in their lifetime; their last one was in 1951.

On match day, Ireland will be divided not only into Dublin supporters and Mayo supporters but into those who were there to see it live and those who wish they were. Wherever you are and whichever team you support, half of the fun is the slagging and bragging being bantered back and forth about the two counties. So how do Dublin and Mayo stack up off the field?

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Which county is more of a superstar? Well, Mayo was the setting for a massively famous film once. It’s been a while since The Quiet Man, and film crews in Dublin have been anything but quiet. From The Dead to The Commitments, Dublin has been the star of both blockbusters and quirky films. My Left Foot, Intermission, Goldfish Memory, and many other films were set in the nation’s capital city.

Which county is called home by some of Ireland’s best and brightest off the field? It’s hard to compete with a city feted around the world for its literary talent. From Jonathan Swift to Oscar Wilde to Maeve Binchy, Dublin has a corner on writers. Mayo, however, is the home place of some pretty ferocious and famous folks. Grainne O’Malley, the legendary pirate queen, was from Mayo, as was Ireland’s first female president Mary Robinson, who went on to work with the United Nations.

Of course, literary ability isn’t going to win this game. Neither is diplomacy, although some of Grainne O’Malley’s attitude would help. On the day, it will come down to which team is better able to seize their chances and which team wants it most. Will Dublin carry forward their momentum from last year and hang onto the cup? Will Mayo surge forward because they are a bit hungrier?

Whoever wins, it will be an epic day in historic Croke Park. Television can never capture the feeling of watching the action live surrounded by 80,000 other singing, screaming fans. Some people thrill to seeing live opera. Others are over the moon at the chance to spend a day dancing in the mud at a music festival. But for some of us, Croke Park is the centre of the universe and the All-Ireland Senior Final is New Year’s Eve. Who wants to sit home watching it on telly when you can be out living the excitement?