This weekend proved to be a dynamic sporting occasion in the capital with two national football championships taking place within 24 hours of each other. On Saturday we had the rare thrill of witnessing US College American Football season in action, playing for only the second time in its history on foreign shores (first time was in our own Croke Park in 1996) when Notre Dame played Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic at the Aviva Stadium with the aptly named Notre Dame Fighting Irish delivering a comprehensive win.
And on Sunday back in our own national football championships, we had the long awaited second national football semi-final when Mayo played defending champions Dublin in Croke Park. Despite a close finish, dark horses of the completion Mayo provided another upset in this seasons championships, after Donegal‘s surprising win over Cork last weekend, to secure their first final appearance in six years. They will now face Donegal in the final on 22nd September with only one thing certain, whatever the result there will be a new All Ireland football champion for the 2012 football season. With Dublin being the last football champions of the past number of years to fall in a championship which has been full of shocks and surprises, this championship has seen the old guards and past champions of recent years fall to fresh blood and could mark a turning point in a championship that had been become predictable.
Whilst the American football championship game brought glamour with its cheerleaders and hotdogs and a sense of historic occasion, the Mayo/Dublin match proved to be a hit for those on Ireland vacations as it reveled at highlighting the best of our national sport with a thrilling match, tight finish and a heartfelt and surprise result not to mention a national sense of tribalism and inter-county support and passion with both sides frantically cheering on their teams. So while another football championships at home are almost at an end with a year of surprises and underdogs triumphs, over stateside the American season is only starting as it moves back home with the honorary Irish side Notre Dame side looking particularly strong this year.