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Thursday 8 December 2016

'Winning the Lotto would be easier than getting a ticket for the replay', say fans

Michelle, Caitlin, Saoirse and Paul Peate-Morgan, from Ratoath, watching the match at Smithfield Photo: Tony Gavin
Michelle, Caitlin, Saoirse and Paul Peate-Morgan, from Ratoath, watching the match at Smithfield Photo: Tony Gavin

"An opportunity lost." That was the view of some wet and weary Dublin fans after watching the match on the big screen at Smithfield. Up to 1,000 Gaelic football fans braved the miserable conditions to pack into the old market square to watch Dublin's disappointing draw with Mayo.

Among those making their All-Ireland debut was 12-month-old Conor Fleming, cradled among the crowds by proud Clondalkin mum Caroline Fleming (31).

Unfazed by the noise and packed crowds, the infant only took his eyes off the big screen erected by Dublin City Council in the dying moments of the game.

"Of course he'd fall asleep just as things got exciting. Still, there's the replay now to look forward to.

"His dad is at the game, so we figured Smithfield would be the next best thing. The rain aside, it's been a fun day. The council did a great job putting everything together.

"The day has been a bit of an anti-climax though. It was a good finish but the game didn't seem to get going until the last 10 minutes. Dublin just didn't seem interested in finishing Mayo off."

Tom Doyle (62) told the Herald he'd been to every Dublin game this season and that their performance in the final was "among the worst" he'd seen in recent memory.

"It was the worst game I've seen them play in a while. It looked to be a very slippery pitch so that's sure to have had an impact, but Mayo had to deal with the same conditions and they were down five points at half-time."

Sister Rachel Doyle (28) joked that it would be easier to win the Lotto than get a ticket for the replay on October 1.

"You might as well try panning for gold in the Liffey," said Paul Peate-Morgan (45), living in Ratoath, on whether he was hopeful about getting a ticket for the replay.

"Pure gold dust they are. We've been to every game this year and tried everything to get tickets to the final but there wasn't a hope in hell.

"We must have entered every radio competition in the hopes of getting some," added wife Michelle (42).

"But living in Meath we'd little chance. No clubs there would get tickets for a Dublin-Mayo All-Ireland final."

The Dublin family, originally from Bluebell, said their two young daughters Caitlin (nine) and Saoirse (seven) were always keen to show their county colours. They even went so far as to make sure the Dublin flag always hung from their bedroom windows on match day. "They're completely mad for it, so the drive up was well worth it even with the draw," said Paul.

"We'll definitely be back for the replay, we can't wait," said Caitlin and Saoirse together.

The All-Ireland screening in Smithfield was organised by Dublin City Council to give those supporters without a ticket to Croke Park a focal point to gather and enjoy the game.

Packed

It paid off, albeit for a few brief hours, with a family-friendly atmosphere on the cobblestoned square. No alcohol was allowed into the screening, and before the All-Ireland Senior football final there was a special screening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

"It's been a great day all things considered," said mum-of-two Antoinette Leonard (42), from Ballymun.

"The film was a great idea and the chance to watch the game on the big screen was fab.

"Much better than sitting at home or in a packed pub - can't be doing that with the kids."

Watching the game alongside their mum, Abi Travers (nine) and younger brother Sam (seven) said they were "very sad" that Dublin didn't win.

"They love the football whenever it's on, so I'm sure will be back here for the replay," said Antoinette.

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