The 17th September. Over five months ago. That's how long it's been since Dean Rock's free won the All-Ireland for Dublin and consigned Mayo to at least another year of heartache.
The Dubs have quietly set out for four in a row in 2018, while Mayo have regrouped to have one more go at knocking them off their perch. Dublin, as usual, have sauntered into the season, trying out new combinations and players, and have casually amassed three wins from three and look as formidable as ever. Mayo have suffered defeats to old rivals Galway and Kerry, but you don't get the impression that matters all that much. 2018 is about Sam.
But how much does getting Sam rely on getting a psychological advantage on Dublin? Tonight, in Castlebar, they encounter the All-Ireland champions for the first time since September 17th. Is this the game they've been targeting? Is this to be their 2018 marker?
If it is, they got off to the worst possible start? Just one minute had been played, when this happened:
Paul Mannion opens the scoresheet with this cracker! pic.twitter.com/HhIVZ4J38L
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 24, 2018
A brilliant team goal, and a brilliant individual goal. Just the start Jim Gavin would have wanted. There's a long way to go, and Mayo have weathered the storm, as they tend to do, but what a way to arrive in enemy territory!