Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: GAA supporters deserve height of praise

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

I was at the quarter finals in Croke Park at the weekend and stayed in the Croke Park Hotel. The place was jammed, as they say, with people everywhere. The bars were choc a bloc, the restaurant was full to the brim, but no hint of trouble.

There I met Jimmy Magee – by chance he was coming into the lobby, on the Sunday morning as I was going out – so after greetings and catching up, and telling him how very well he looks he asked me to come on in and join him for lunch. I had eaten lunch but said I’d have a cup of tea.

It’s always heartwarming, and side splittingly funny to spend time with Jimmy.

He’s a most amazing character, living life to the full every week. Several people stopped him in the lobby, in the hallway, in the restaurant, in the bar when we passed through it but James wore it like a badge of honour.

Ever patient, he always has time for everyone.

Photographs, selfies, the lot. He’s like a superstar.

We walked out of the dining room towards the lobby and outside to Croke Park. In that spell alone, Jimmy was stopped 18 times in all, to take photographs, and to have that magic “word”.

No man wears his reputation more easily than Jimmy.

He should be an ambassador for Irish spirit.

We talked of the wonderful way GAA people congregate and mix without any rancour whatsoever. I’m always amazed that we can see several hundred people at one time in a hotel spilling over in all directions some from the lobby to the bars, some from the bars to the restaurant, some just walking around to see who they’ll meet…but never any trouble.

There aren’t many events nowadays – that I’m aware of – where drink is served without the slightest sign of trouble no matter how many are in Croke Park. It’s a great tribute to the GAA and those who support the games, to see how many can attend and behave properly.

Sunday there were almost 67,000 in Croke Park, and nobody out of order.

All classes, and all walks of society.

Having a great time.

One of the great things about the GAA.

Praise to those who support the games.