A Season to Remember for Maigh Cuilinn

Maigh Cuilinn players complete a season to remember with Galway GAA.

Getting to the All-Ireland final after 21 years was strange. Playing the final before the races was stranger still…. but we went all out.

The build-up was short – that didn’t stop the flags, buntings and posters from getting up in record time. The hunt for the tickets was on… ringing, begging, swapping and harassing were the norm. No one wanted to be left out. Everyone was getting behind the team.

How did we get here? At the start of the year, no one predicted this… 2022 was a year to remember for the Galway senior footballers and we had a very strong local representation involved.

In January our own Seán Kelly was announced as team captain for the year, just as our lads started in the Sigerson and National League competitions.

In February NUIG won the Sigerson, in March Galway secured promotion to Division 1 and in April Galway beat Mayo… things were happening fast!

In May Seán climbed the steps in Pearse Stadium to collect the Nestor Cup; we cheered.

In June we had Sean Kelly, Cian Deane, James McLoughlin, Eoghan Kelly, Dessie Conneely, Paul Kelly and Owen Gallagher at the clubhouse with the silverware from the Sigerson and Connacht championships. They answered very tricky questions from a captive audience, posed for hundreds of pictures and signed every ball, jersey and page thrown in front of them. It was only getting started.

In late June, Galway played in the game of the championship against Armagh – exciting and controversial, getting attention on the front and back pages. The semi-final against Derry was cagey, but the West was the best, and on we marched to the final and the boys from the Kingdom.

In July, Galway won the minor All Ireland, Charlie Cox, Padraic McNeela and Sean O’Connor were the club players on the panel…and the excitement grew.

A few short days before the All Ireland, we said farewell to Dave Cox, a great clubman and great friend to us all. In his last days, he was still involved with the decorating and planning. We stood in his honour, we said goodbye, shed tears and we got ready for Croker, as Dave would have wanted.

And so, on July 24, young and old travelled up the road. We went with flags, nerves, hope and ham sandwiches. We saw epic, sublime scores, great players giving their all and the odd debatable call.

Kerry won the day, but Galway won our hearts. What a great journey they brought us on – thank you to all the players who brought us along the way.

Roll on 2023.

(This article appeared in Moycullen Matters, October 2022)