By Michael Dwyer
Spurred by a recent blog post on this site on the dilemma of the dual supporter, I decided to travel to Tullamore to view the replay, having watched the drawn game on television. Watching that game and seeing so few Wexicans in the sea of blue seats of Croker left me feeling a little disgruntled, but who was I to judge, perched as I was in the comfort of my armchair!
As I planned my Tullamore expedition, I chose the scenic route to travel, through Stradbally and towards Offaly HQ fully expecting to be overwhelmed by throngs of model county supporters. I was proved wrong. On arrival shock was the main reaction. How could a panel of players representing a county of 145’000 people receive such poor support?
It was almost an embarrassment to compare the welcome that Longford received as they emerged from the dressing room to that experienced by Wexford. Longford were treated to rapturous applause, Wexford to a murmur. Aside from the discomfort of being outnumbered by the waves of support from the other three counties, the standard of football did not mirror the Wexford attendance.
Despite a mediocre start, the lads showed great strength, determination and experience to defeat the Longford. A well placed shot from the boot of Redmond Barry kept Wexford in touch for the first thirty five minutes but after the break Wexford roused themselves with flair and style. Shane Roche delivered a sterling point from a near impossible angle and with just a point was between the sides, Ben Brosnan had the crowds in awe when he had the guts to slot over a beautiful point. It’s moments like that you just don’t fully appreciate on TV.
The GAA sum it up the best as really; nothing beats being there!
Longford were shocked that Wexford managed to rise again in the second half and after the fourth time of trying, managed to defeat Glenn Ryan’s boys. Wexford have a lot to work on. For the footballers, a huge step up is needed to prepare for Dublin but we have time on our hands with a three week stretch to prepare.
For the supporters, we need to get behind our team now. We expect a top class set of intercounty players, yet how must they feel to have such poor support from the supposed “Model County”. As supporters, let’s model ourselves for our team. Lets show the players that we have faith in them to do the business on Sunday the 1st of July in Croke Park and let what was a flickering flame in Tullamore be transformed into blazing heather! Loch Garman Abú.