GAA has always been a great uniter of people — even bringing couples together. As the Dubs aim to make it three All-Ireland triumphs in a row tomorrow, we caught up with a couple who were brought together by The Dubs and follow the Boys In Blue through thick and thin...
Jason and Linda Murray met in 2008, when they had a lengthy debate about Dublin hurling (the team having drawn with Wexford earlier that day) and Jason was seriously impressed with Linda's knowledge and enthusiasm for the Dubs.
Jason played football for Erin's Isle in Finglas (now in its centenary year) and currently he's the statistician for the hurlers there. Linda's club is St Vincent's, where her father trained teams for many years.
We asked the pair to tell us a little about their shared love of GAA...
First football game or memory?
JM: Dublin beating Meath in a replay in 1983. John O'Leary saved a penalty from Mick Downes and we went on to win the final against Galway with 12 men!
LM: The four-match Meath saga in 1991. I remember being bitterly disappointed as a child.
Best Dublin football memory?
Both: Being in Croke Park for the All-Ireland final against Kerry in 2011. To win the way we did against Kerry, in our first final in 16 years, was something we'll never forget. We were carried for about five feet during the celebrations of Kevin McManamon's goal!
Do you have any match day rituals?
LM: For major matches, I get very nervous with the anticipation and fear of losing. Thankfully, we've been having a few more successful days lately! Usually we get the train into Drumcondra and might stop for a few drinks before the match while soaking up the atmosphere.
How is it a part of your life — taking up weekends, spending money, travelling, missing work, missing family occasions?
Both: Starting with the O'Byrne Cup in January, we try to get to as many matches as we can, both home and away. We have been season ticket holders since 2012 and as a result we've had a number of weekends away supporting the team. We also plan our time off from work around the championship matches in the summer.
What does being a Dublin football fan mean to you?
LM: My dad stood on the Hill in the '70s and early '80s, so it's like a generational thing. It's very special at the moment, being witness to all the recent successes.
JM: I always feel like we're taking on the rest of the country, especially in the summer when the hype levels increase significantly.
What's the furthest length you've gone to get a ticket?
LM: The biggest difficulty we had was getting tickets for the final in 2011. Even though we entered every competition, tapped every contact we knew, applied through clubs and so forth, it was only the day before that one of the contacts delivered the goods!
Is there a message you'd like us to pass on to the team?
Both: We're very grateful for all their recent achievements and certainly don't take these days for granted. We remember the darker days too, such as going seven years without winning Leinster and losing to Mayo in 2006 having been seven points ahead in the second half. The commitment of the players and management throughout the season deserves huge credit, which often isn't recognised.