There is something uniquely satisfying when your county wins All Ireland football championship, writes Ciarán McGowan.
A different, more optimistic, perspective encapsulates your mind-set and life seems and is better. Daily drudgeries are dealt with sub-consciously and cease to register as irritants. There is a relaxed acceptance of how things are and a feeling that they will always be this way – life is good. And then there’s that smile that won’t go away prompting worrying looks from strangers on train. How many times and how any hours can be spent discussing and analysing 70 minutes of football? In how many ways can you articulate your respect and admiration for losing county, its team and its supporters? Surely, there must be a finite response to both questions but that’s for another day. Right now, there is a never-ending conversation to be had. It is front and central from moment you wake up in morning to moment you drift peacefully to sleep with that smile on your face and image of Stephen Cluxton lifting Sam Maguire cup.
Of course, this is a temporary state that will slowly dissipate as time moves on and distance between present and final whistle increases. Drudgeries will return. But there are memories and moments that will never be forgotten, triggers that will re-activate precious emotions and these are yours forever – this is what your county team has given you.
The people of Cork and Clare are expectant this weekend as their teams meet again to decide All Hurling championship. Both counties might feel they left it behind them last day and three week gap is sufficient time for both to prepare for another epic encounter. I have talked up Clare all year and still believe they have best hurlers in country. I think this will be a close one – but I’m staying with Clare.