Supporting from afar

Thousands of Mayo and Donegal supporters will embark on a journey to Croke Park on Sunday, September 30th to cheer on their respective counties in the All-Ireland SFC final.

They will come from every corner of the country to support their counties, while even some will come from further afield.

The true extent of a person's allegiance to their county can be gauged by the lengths they are willing to go to cheer on their side on All-Ireland final day.
The scramble for tickets has reached fever pitch, and it is no different in New York where Mayo men are 'calling in all favours' to try and get the hottest property on these shores at the moment.

One man that finds himself in that scenario is former Moy Davitts clubman Robbie Moran, who has been living in NY since emigrating in 2004.

Robbie admitted to that it is not easy to get tickets for the final, especially for Mayo fans, who had to see Donegal qualify first.

“Donegal supporters had a head start on the Mayo lads over here as their semi final was played first. There is a huge scramble for tickets, but I would love to go over for the final,” said Robbie.

The advent of satellite tv and the internet allows Robbie to keep in close touch with the happenings of Mayo football and he has been impressed by what he has seen this year.

“Mayo have been very impressive this year. Their poorest performance was probably against Leitrim, but then again you can only beat who is put out in front of you.

“They seem to have improved with each game and they are a well balanced side. Another thing that is standing to them is the fact that they have a strong panel, which was evident in the semi final against Dublin.

“Between blood subs and full substitutions used, they men that came on were equally as good as the starting XV, which is a great situation to be in.”

Robbie feels that James Horan's professional approach to the set up has brought on Mayo leaps and bounds in the last couple of years.

“Certainly, James has done a great job since he came in. He seems to have brought a unity to the squad and their style of play is very similar to Donegal's and this should make for a very open game of football.

“It is going to be a tough game, Donegal have looked very impressive also and they have improved from last year as there is a more attacking style to their game now.”

Robbie does believe that all the hype surrounding Donegal may stand to Mayo on All-Ireland final day. “Mayo are certainly going in as underdogs and many neutrals don't give them a chance, but I do think that may suit them as there are coming in under the radar to an extent.”

In 2003, Robbie was part of the Mayo squad when John Maughan was in charge of the Connacht outfit and he admits that stepping up to the senior set up was a real eye opener.

“I had played underage and under-21 with the county, but going into the senior squad was a whole different level. Everything was done a lot quicker, it was an enjoyable experience.

“A year later I decided to come out to New York for a year and now eight years later I'm married and still here.”

Despite emigrating Robbie has still played football and shortly after arriving he won a senior title with the Down club, but they went out of existence the following year.

These days he plies his trade with the Mayo club in the intermediate grade and Kerry in the top tier, which is permitted under NY GAA rules.

Up until two years ago, the Mayo native played for New York and captained the side for three years of which he has one very special highlight.

“I captained the side when we played Mayo in the Connacht championship a few years ago. It was a weird experience lining out against my native county, but it was an honour at the same time.”

Robbie works for Irish owned firm Gotham Drywall and Carpentry, which is based in New York. The firm employs a large Irish contingent and Robbie is Foreman with the company.