Eons ago, back in September ’95, I had just made the major life choice to enter junior infants. Following in the footsteps of my older brother, I attended St. Joseph’s National School. The school must have been much bigger than I remember, because it seems that almost every guy I meet also went to St. Joseph’s, even those who didn’t live in Dublin. Weird.
What I do remember is that shortly after starting, Dublin beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in Croke Park on the 17th of September, in front of 65,000 spectators (remember/found on Wikipedia). It was a major win for Dublin, as they hadn’t won since ’83, and wouldn’t go on to win again until 2011.
I was at that match (and even had my picture in the paper), but that’s not what this mystery is about. Shortly after the match, some of the team came to my school to raffle off an autographed ball, and I won. While I was far from the most sports-enthused of children, I had never won anything in my 5 long, grueling years of life, and was still dealing with a traumatic experience several weeks prior, in which some bitch tried to steal my balloon (she didn’t manage to get it), so I was happy & selfish enough to keep it anyway.
Recently, my younger sister was going through old photos and found the aforementioned news-clipping. This piqued my interest, as I knew I still had the ball somewhere in my room. After a quick search, I found it and my dad and I started looking into where it came from. We assume that it comes from the Dublin v Tyrone match, because the dates seem to line up, but we can’t be positive. While some of the signatures are pretty legible, others are more difficult to make out (no offence, signatories).
Below are photos I took of the ball, which has admittedly become a bit deflated after spending the last two decades in my closet, much like myself (surprise mom & dad!). If anyone knows anything more about the ball, or has any interest in purchasing it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.