WITH the football and hurling seasons in full swing, John West, official sponsor of the GAA national Féile competitions, have surveyed over 900 GAA obsessed boys and girls to get their thoughts and predictions for what lies ahead this season.
And in Mayo the dream is in safe hands as the survey revealed that 50% of the county’s younger GAA fans believe that Sam will be going home with Mayo this summer. A further 39% think it will remain in the hands of the boys in blue.
No surprises in the county’s favourite footballers as Andy Moran and Cora Staunton came out on top in their respective categories, with 83% each.
Joe Canning proved to be very popular in Mayo with 100% of respondents choosing him as their favourite hurler.
Despite the deeply rooted rivalry, Mayo fans do see the talent in their Dublin counterparts, with 22% choosing to transfer Paul Mannion on to the Mayo team along with 17% choosing Diarmuid Connolly.
When it comes to coaches, Davy Fitz was the favourite among the children of Mayo with a third (33%) of the vote, and Mayo’s own Stephen Rochford and Dublin’s Jim Gavin tied for second with 22% a piece.
When it comes to Ireland’s favourite players, Dublin’s Paul Mannion and Mayo’s Andy Moran, who are no strangers to competing against each other, went head to head in the chase to be named as Ireland’s favourite footballer. Mannion came out on top with 40% of the vote with Moran just missing out at 35%.
The nation’s favourite hurler was undisputedly Joe Canning (68%) with Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley coming in as a surprise second with 10% of the vote.
In a similar rivalry to the men, Mayo's Cora Staunton and Noelle Healy (Dublin) were the favourites among the children of Ireland but the Mayo woman took the lead with almost half of the vote (44%) of the vote.
Cork and Kilkenny battled it out in a similar fashion when it came to the nation’s favourite camogie player, as reigning All-Ireland champion Julia White came out on top with 37% while runnerup Shelly Farrell received 27% of the vote.
According to the children of Ireland, it looks as though history is set to repeat itself with the Dubs the outright favourites to bring Sam home again. Over three quarters (78%) of those surveyed chose the boys in blue as this year's All-Ireland senior football champions.
The competition between the hurling counties is a little bit tighter with Galway, Kilkenny and Tipperary all in the running for the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Current holders Galway lead the way at 37% of the vote Kilkenny and Tipperary trail behind with 28% and 22% respectively.
Despite the rivalry, natives from Dublin and Mayo do see the talent in their opposing teams – 11% of Dublin children would like to see Andy Moran put on the blue jersey while nearly a quarter (22%) of Mayo fans would welcome Paul Mannion on to their squad.