Midleton are taking part in Glen Rovers within the county remaining. It’s your first time in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Your cousin Sean was there earlier than, for the semi-final — however he’s 10, and also you’re solely six.
Your buddy Evan is coming too. He’s the perfect hurler in your class, however you’re sooner at working.
You spend the entire morning pucking your sliotar in opposition to the wall of the home, scoring objectives for Midleton. You’ll be able to’t anticipate half-11, that’s when your Dad mentioned ye’ll be leaving. You run into the home a great deal of instances to test the kitchen clock.
Your Mam provides you fish fingers and waffles earlier than ye go. She makes you deliver your outdated hat as a result of you possibly can’t discover your new one with the membership crest. You’d love if she was coming too, however she will’t, she has to take care of Nana Betty.
The pub is boring earlier than the sport, and also you and Evan have to face for ages whereas your Dad drinks beer and watches another sport on the telly. Then Grandad arrives, and ye all stroll to the stadium.
The stand in Páirc Uí Chaoimh is big and there’s one other pitch simply in entrance of it. The U14s from the membership performed there final summer season. You’d love to do this, it’d be class, however Jimmy, your coach, says they don’t let the U8s play there.
There’s thousands and thousands of steps as much as the highest of the stand, and your legs get actually drained, however you don’t say something. Grandad has to cease midway up and take off his face masks for a bit. You and Evan get a Coke, however Dad has to carry them whereas ye maintain the flags and the hurleys till ye sit down. Grandad has tea after the primary sport. He provides you and Evan some chocolate.
Grandad tells you that Midleton have received seven counties, and right this moment would be the eighth.
“Don’t jinx us,” Dad says. You don’t know what meaning.
“You recognize we received the All-Eire in 1988, with John Fenton?” Grandad says. “He was our greatest ever participant.”
“Higher than Conor Lehane?” you ask.
“Oh, Conor is nice,” Grandad says. “However John was even higher. Your uncle Willie was good, too.”
You by no means knew a membership might win an All-Eire; you surprise in the event that they beat Limerick.
The noise is SO loud when the groups stroll behind the band on the pitch. The person behind from Glen Rovers could be very loud, too.
Within the first half, Midleton get a load of factors, and are successful by 9. The person behind is giving out about brief puck-outs. Then Patrick Horgan will get a purpose and the person behind is even louder. Patrick is your favorite participant for Cork, however now you hope he doesn’t rating any extra.
Within the second half it’s very shut, and Glen Rovers hold scoring factors and getting nearer. Your leg is leaping the way in which it does whenever you get nervous in school, however you possibly can’t cease it.
Then Midleton miss a purpose and have a load of wides, and your Dad is shouting: “Blow it up, ref!”, however the ref doesn’t. You suppose you would possibly cry if Glen Rovers get a purpose and draw the match, however then it goes vast.
When the ref blows the ultimate whistle, your Dad hugs your Grandad after which they’re each crying. You by no means noticed your Dad cry earlier than, even at Uncle Willie’s funeral a couple of weeks in the past. He grabs you and pulls you into them. He hurts your arm a bit, however he doesn’t imply it.
“We received, Cian — we did it,” he says, crying. You want he wouldn’t cry.
Getting on the pitch after is class, and also you faucet among the gamers on the again. There’s an enormous crowd. Dad takes a photograph with you and Evan and Sean O’Leary Hayes.
Whenever you get house you run into the home to inform your Mam all about it. Then you definitely and Evan take turns at scoring objectives for Midleton in opposition to the wall, like Conor Lehane and Ross O’Regan and Luke O’Farrell do. Evan can hit it actually onerous, typically you possibly can too.
Evan’s Mam comes to choose him up, and also you go inside and have dinner. It’s hen, your favorite. Your Dad goes to the membership to have a good time, however earlier than he goes, you ask him if he thinks you’ll play for Midleton in a county remaining sometime. He smiles and rubs your hair and says: “’Course you’ll, child.” You prefer it when he smiles.
You ask your Mam when you can put on your jersey to high school tomorrow, Muinteoir Muireann mentioned ye might. She mentioned the cup is likely to be coming to the college too.
“I hope Pa White comes,” you say. “He mentioned howdy to me when … what do you name it after we lined up for them once more, final week?”
“A guard of honour. Straight to sleep now for you now, buster, you’ll must be contemporary for tomorrow.”
You shut your eyes. You concentrate on scoring objectives for Midleton, objectives for Midleton, objectives for Midleton.
You go to sleep. You dream.