'My Mayo move was not a Seánie Johnston type, I've an affinity with Mayo but I'm a Dub,' reveals Enda Sheehy
IN THE replay week that's in it - something of a Dublin rarity - memories of their 2001 saga with Kerry have flooded back.
Enda Sheehy started both All-Ireland quarter-finals in Thurles ... and yet, just two years later, he was togging out in Markievicz Park for his first and last competitive outing with his adopted Mayo.
He had hooked up with John Maughan's panel earlier that summer, only for a hamstring injury to scupper his chances of Connacht action. His second SFC 'debut' duly arrived in a qualifier against Fermanagh ... but Mayo lost narrowly with Sheehy at midfield and, the following year, he was back playing his club football in Dublin.
With Dublin and Mayo now in the midst of a two-game battle for All-Ireland survival, Sheehy's number was an obvious one to dial this week.
"The only reason it came about was because I was off the Dublin panel at the time; I was 27 and I felt I'd a lot to offer," he told The Herald.
"If I was on the Dublin panel I would have stayed with that. But at 27, I was too young not to be playing inter-county football when you feel you could be playing."
Still, he is quick to clarify that Mayo were far more than a flag of convenience.
"My mother is from Crossmolina and that's where the connection came," he explains. "Most summers I would have spent time down there, playing in the pitch and going to matches, so I would have a great affinity.
"It wasn't that it just came like, I suppose, a Seánie Johnston type thing … I'd a huge connection with them, and I would have known Liam Moffatt and Barry Heffernan and Ciaran McDonald as well.
"They were on to me then - 'Sure look, will you come down and play with the club?' They'd won the All-Ireland in '01 and I said to myself, when I was off the Dublin panel, sure why not? I was teaching in Ballyfermot, and I said 'Why not give it a shot?'
"And no sooner was I down in Crossmolina than John Maughan invited me into the Mayo panel."
Part of his motivation was a desire to prove he cut still cut it at that level. He had played under three Dublin managers - Dr Pat O'Neill, Mickey Whelan and Tom Carr - before being cut from the squad in 2002 by Tommy Lyons.
"I remember my first night going into the Mayo dressing-room in Castlebar. I suppose a Dub going into a Mayo dressing-room at the time was unheard of. But I must say, the Mayo lads really rallied around me and I enjoyed my time," he recounts.
"I went up in June, played a handful of challenge matches against Donegal and Kerry ... but I tore my hamstring at the outset of the summer and that curtailed my involvement.
"I played in a county final that year for Crossmolina, we were beaten by Ballina by two points. I was sent off in the last ten minutes, harshly so ... and obviously Ballina went on to win an All-Ireland in '05.
"John Maughan asked me to stay on in '04 - but my work was here, I'm teaching in Dublin, and ultimately I came back."
Not that any of this history has altered his allegiance as Dublin/Mayo II beckons.
"Sure I'm a Dub. Look, the only reason I was up in Mayo at the time was I was off the Dublin panel and I got the opportunity to play inter-county football. I had the connection and, oh Jesus, I'm proud of my Mayo connection, don't get me wrong. Look, I'd love to see them win an All-Ireland, they deserve an All-Ireland ... but you create your own luck."