By Séamus Leonard
Donegal and Mayo’s qualification for the All-Ireland football final has thrown up a novel pairing for the decider, but it has also opened the door for an avalanche of songs to celebrate the counties’ progression.
While few will complain about hearing classics like ‘The Green and Red of Mayo’ by the Saw Doctors, or ‘Las Vegas (In the Hills of Donegal)’ by Goats Don’t Shave, the meeting of the two western sides has given licence to a plethora of artists to pen underwhelming efforts to celebrate the occasion.
However, one song that seems to have captured the imagination of supporters of the Ulster champions is ‘Jimmy’s Winning Matches’ by Rory and the Island. But then singer Rory Gallagher (formerly of The Revs) does have decent form, so you’d expect a release by him to be a cut above the norm.
Another track backing the Tír Chonaill men that doesn’t have you sucking your thumb and curling up in the foetal position is ‘Half Cut Sam’ by Free Whiskey.
Donegal’s songwriters have probably been helped by the distance this year’s All-Ireland final appearance and their last way back in 1992.
That 20-year gap has brought a bounce to their tunes, and the fact they are favourites to lift Sam Maguire can only be serving to lift spirits in the extreme north-west.
While Mayo are not exactly serial finalists, they have appeared in four All-Ireland deciders since Donegal’s historic success in 1992.
But the Westerners have a dire record when it comes to the biggest stage, as they lost to Meath (after a replay) in 1996 before coming a cropper against Kerry in 1997, 2004 and 2006.
Maybe it is these disappointments that have led to a melancholy and lack of imagination in Mayo’s musical offerings.
Gerry Carney’s ‘Mayo Will Always Be Home’ would leave you more dispirited than 70 minutes of chasing Mark McHugh around a football pitch, while ‘Mike Denver’s ‘Mayo Are Back’ – resurrected from the 2004 campaign – is about as endearing as a ticket tout.
Thankfully, the hurling meeting of traditional powers Kilkenny and Galway has mitigated against a barrage of ditties, although The Corrigan Brothers have produced 'Victory - Will it be Galway or Kilkenny?'
Neutral it may be, uplifting it ain’t.
Am I missing some excellent tunes, or some absolute stinkers? Let us know on Twitter @RTEgaa or @seamusleonard, or in our comments section above.