One day in Croker (Pt. 5)

The match restarted just as Aoife sat down.

“Find them okay?” her sister asked speaking loudly into her ear.

She nodded in the affirmative.

Kerry scored a goal two minutes later. Her heart sank. Then they scored two more points and she started looking at the sky. Anywhere, but the pitch.

For many minutes nothing happened. Kerry began to kill the game, hand-passing the ball back and forth trying to coax the Westmeath players from their defensive positions. The game was drifting away.

Then Westmeath won possession in midfield and quickly attacked. It was Dolan who won possession, who hand passed to Sheerin. Then a long kick pass to Ahern who swiveled and rifled it into the net. Aoife jumped for joy.

It was all Westmeath now, dominating every aspect of play.

The crowd roared on each point. They drew level and then pulled ahead.

Then the final whistle blew. Westmeath were the new All-Ireland Football Champions.

Tears of joy rolled down Aoife as she hugged all those around her. The crowd emptied onto the field forming a huge mass of people with chants of “Westmeath, Westmeath”.

The minutes flew by as the victory speech in the opposite stand began.

Tá an-áthas orm an corn seo a ghlacadh..”

Then Aoife thought of Stephen. She looked around but couldn’t see her sister.

She found herself walking up the stand to go look for him.