This Sunday, barring the miracle of another replay, will mark the end of full houses in Croke Park for the season.
It has been a magical season in the big house. The highlights reel flicker by and show us the power-packed performances of Donegal in securing their second Sam Maguire. We also see a resculpted Joe Canning climbing over the top of Jackie Tyrell to claim the ball and launch the Galway devastation of Kilkenny in the Leinster hurling final.
Then, there's the performance of Henry Shefflin in dragging his side back into the light of the All-Ireland hurling final, Canning's goal…
Enough sentimentality. When the carnival packs rolls out of town, we make our own entertainment. In this case, it's the domestic action of clubs.
After a summer of gorging ourselves on the gourmet menu of Croke Park action, we return to the bacon and cabbage of club football and hurling. It's an appetising prospect. While Ireland is a country of counties, each county is made up of different GAA cells. It's a peculiar one, but I still have a habit of when I am asked about a certain village in west Fermanagh, I call it ‘Devenish’.
The village is Garrison, but the GAA club is Devenish St Mary's, so by force of habit I call it Devenish. I'm not alone in that. That factor is at the root of the appeal of local GAA; it's rootsy, organic and primal.
This weekend, two great clubs in Antrim put their credentials on the line. St Gall's put up the football crown when they meet historical rivals St John's on Friday night in Casement Park, and Loughgiel Shamrocks will be putting not only the county title up, but their Ulster and All-Ireland titles too when they meet Dunloy the following night, both games throw-in at 7pm.
Pound for pound, this will be the best hurling match that you will see this side of the Galway to Dublin line.