“Decorum may fly out the window in last few minutes”

FINAL DEBATE: Taoiseach Enda Kenny on past memories and future dreams for Mayo

Question 1: Because your own county is involved, will All-Ireland Sunday be any different this year to the norm?

A: Of course it’s different — We have waited 61 years for a victory at this level and because it’s my own county it means so much more — though I am half a Donegal person! (on my late mother’s side)

Question 2: What recollections and memorabilia have you been able to compile from anecdotal and recorded evidence of your father’s Mayo career?

A: Too many to recount here.

That first winning Mayo team was indeed legendary — 1 All Ireland and 6 League titles in-a-row — but that is from an era long forgotten in the current circumstances.

Question 3: If you were to compare your own playing style to one of the present Mayo squad, who would it be?

A: Teams are so much fitter now. My place was number 5 for many years and the philosophy was — play hard, play clean, keep them out and attack when you can! All the Mayo players would concur!

Question 4: Though decorum dictates An Taoiseach sits in a certain place, and behaves in a certain manner on All-Ireland final day, how difficult does that become when your own county is going for a first title in 61 years?

A: Decorum may fly out the window in the last few minutes and tribal passion take over — especially if Mayo are in front. And if the team wins I will probably be the first to shed a tear and lay the ghosts of the past to rest!

Question 5: If you weren’t the leader of Government, where would you like to be in Croke Park on Sunday , and who would you most like to sit beside you?

A: I would be happy to sit anywhere just to be there; beside my wife Fionnuala and family.

Question 6: You managed to attend quite a few Mayo games over the course of the season. Did you see this renaissance coming under James Horan?

A: No I didn’t. I attended as many games as possible since my playing days. My interest never waned.

Question 7: Governing is the art of the possible. To that end, do you admire or acknowledge Donegal’s unique defensive gameplan?

A: Not as much as I respect the new concept that Jim McGuinness has brought to Gaelic Football — Full Panel, Full Pitch, Full Match. This allows Donegal to turn defence into attack in an instant.

Question 8: Which of Mayo’s most recent All-Ireland defeats (1996, 2004,2006) was the most frustrating and annoying?

A. 1996, because of the last few minutes. The teams of ’04 and ’06 were psychologically destroyed by Kerry.

Question 9: At a general level, do you welcome the GAA’s indication that they will make Croke Park available for an IRFU-led Rugby World Cup bid?

A: Yes I do. Strongly.

Question 10: Given the scarcity of funding for community-based facilities, would you welcome a review of the GAA’s use of property rule with regard to their facilities around the country?

A: The GAA will always consider what the best thing to do in the circumstances prevailing.

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