As cold as it is, as muddy as it is, there’s something special about playing ball in the winter.
You know you’re doing something big when the crisp air is back and you can see your breath at training. You know you’re really on the cusp of something when the seasons have come full circle, the dark nights have returned, but you’re still going.
It’s almost a festive thing at this stage, freezing your bollocks off in cold stands in the middle of nowhere with nothing but soup for comfort and some of the most important games of players’ careers being played out on soft turf giving way with every turn.
As stupid as it is, it’s every bit as magic. These are the days for family. For club. It’s the same thing.
— Sean Cavanagh (@SeanCavanagh14) November 26, 2017
So another Sunday passes and dreams have come true, hopes have been crushed and Gaels all over the country went back their separate ways with red noses and frozen finger tips.
That’s what it’s all about. We whinge about fixtures but it wouldn’t be the same without that bite in the air for these games.
In Cork, Nemo Rangers scaled a seven-year gap to clinch the Munster club title again.
Corofin reigned supreme once more out west as night fell over Galway.
In Ulster, who else would it be but Slaughtneil?
Ulster Camogie Champions 2017,
Ulster Hurling Champions 2017,
Ulster Football Champions 2017,
Ulster Camogie Champions 2016,
Ulster Hurling Champions 2016,
Ulster Football Champions 2016 ➡ The Double Treble. Magnificent @GACSlaughtneil. #CandC
— Derry GAA (@Doiregaa) November 26, 2017
Mickey Moran’s outfit have won three Ulster titles in four years now – the club’s only three Ulster titles ever but there’s no sign that they’ll be slowing up.
In 2015 and in 2017, Slaughtneil lost the All-Ireland final but, yet again, they are one hour from Croke Park. In their way are Nemo Rangers.
All-Ireland club SFC
Fulham Irish v Corofin
Corofin/Fuham v Moorefield/Loman's
Slaughtneil v Nemo Rangers
— SportsJOE GAA (@SportsJOE_GAA) November 26, 2017
The Cork outfit saw off the All-Ireland champions Crokes in the Munster decider – the same side who beat Slaughtneil in March – and it was Corofin who saw off the Derry kingpins in their first appearance in the decider.
Still, they’re on the hunt again.
Winning the Ulster title with eight points to spare over Cavan Gaels was only one of a few highlights from Armagh on Sunday.
Playing at this time of year brings with it a low sun and that obviously affects your view.
Obviously a cap isn’t going to cut it at this weather so one man had the perfect solution.
Next time you feel like you’re being ripped off for the programme, think of all the other uses you can get out of it.