Orlagh Winters: A Galway Girl In Tralee Before The Big Match

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Ok, so let me start this column by saying that I only realised that football is a religion when I moved to Kerry ten years ago, before that I had only a mild interest in it.

The reason for this is that I come from a town where hurling and rugby were the sports that I grew up with.

I also need to stress that I was too much of a wuss to ever try rugby and my only encounter of playing camoige was in first year in school when I nearly decapitated our star player (sorry Imelda).

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Prior to that I was used as the goalie in the “All-Ireland Loughrea Finals” when my brothers and neighbours needed someone to make up the numbers and me, being the tomboy that I was, willingly obliged.

Having lived in Cork for a number of years before I crossed the county bounds, the “small ball” was all that they really cared about in the circles that I hung out in.

Football was secondary to the game of hurling. Admittedly I still prefer to watch a good game of hurling to a game of football but I know how much it means to the people of Kerry and you kind of get sucked in and start to follow it.

So on Sunday there is an important game between the Tribesmen and the army from The Kingdom.

The slagging has started already but it is all in good fun. To be honest I know more of the Kerry footballers than I know of the Galway footballers.

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Obviously I will be shouting for my Native County when the ball is thrown in on Sunday in Croke Park.

Don’t get me wrong, if Kerry were playing any other team except Galway I would be shouting for them, just not on this occasion.

It would be lovely to see Galway win but I am a realist and I don’t see it happening. I have such respect for all GAA players and for the sacrifices that they make.

They play with such pride and are proud to wear their county colours. I also have huge admiration for the partners of the players, Tina, Hilary, Catriona, Laura and all the other amazing girls behind the Kerry lads.

They too make enormous sacrifices and often have to listen to the barrage of abuse from the “experts” in the stands or read the comments from the keyboard warriors.

Whoever is the victorious team on Sunday I would urge everyone to give the players and management the respect they deserve. They have put blood, sweat and tears into getting this far.

Until next time,

The Galway Girl x

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