The long road to Croke Park on the third Sunday in September begins this weekend.
But while Headquarters will house a capacity crowd for the annual autumn showdown between the two teams who negotiate the route to the final, only a tiny fraction of that attendance will be present in New York on Sunday when the home side launch the Championship series against Mayo.
The school of thought, indeed, that would seek the exclusion of New York from the Championship has elicited a sharp response from Big Apple chairman Larry McCarthy.
“There is a lot of great work being undertaken here and our players see participation in the Championship as their big goal,” he rapped.
Mayo manager John O’Mahony is without several players for the trans-Atlantic mission.
Exam commitments have ruled out Kenneth O'Malley, Mark Ronaldson and Seamus O'Shea while Conor Mortimer will also miss the game due to a hand injury. The bulk of the Mayo squad travelled yesterday but Leaving Cert student Aidan O'Shea headed off today while third level students Tom Cunniffe and Kieran Conway are due to arrive tomorrow.
Mayo had an indifferent National League campaign but new skipper Trevor Mortimer is fired up for the task of leading the side.
“We are going out with the intention of winning the Connacht title. That is our main goal for now,” says Mortimer.
There will be considerable Ulster interest in the Connacht championship as Mickey Moran and John Morrison will be striving to claim a rare title for Leitrim.