How do you make a Kerryman laugh on Monday morning? Tell him a joke on Friday evening.
The alternative punch line could easily be: Show him a Donegal shirt.
After humming ‘Jimmy’s Winning Matches’ all summer, the poor Donegal lads and lassies have finally been silenced. For those that went to every game, the disappointment was immense.
It was a great summer for Donegal, full of hope, nerves, anticipation and pride. With each match, the excitement grew and we all wondered: can they do it again?
Even back in May, the nerves were present in Celtic Park when a goal from McLoone saved our backsides and won the game for us. It was clear then that the hunger we were lacking in 2013 had returned.
It’s tough being an avid GAA supporter. Between the array of emotions during each game and the expense of tickets, travel and sometimes accommodation, it’s so much more than a hobby.
Plus, there are only so many ham sandwiches, Pringles and juice cartons you can have in one summer.
We Donegal fans have been through a lot this year; determination to beat our neighbours in Derry, elation as we creamed Antrim, revenge-seeking as we triumphed over Monaghan. And that was before we even got to Croke Park…
I genuinely think that watching the match against Armagh was more painful than getting a root canal. For days after, all we heard was talk about “that dirty Ulster football”.
The Dublin game was arguably the best day of my life. No need to elaborate.
So we reached the All-Ireland Final again – which we had never lost before – with hope in our hearts and yellow and green face paint on our cheeks. Unfortunately, the cards were not in our favour.
When Paul Geaney sank the ball into the Donegal net within the first minute, it was a smack on the face that made us realise that this wasn’t going to go our way.
The sting of that smack never really left our faces throughout the match either.
There were tears and consolation handshakes as we left Croker. People from Kerry are annoyingly gracious.
Maybe Sam will come home next year. Up Donegal.