After being dropped off the Mayo panel in 2011 things could’ve been very different for the Charlestown man had he not been so determined.
For three years the midfielder was nowhere to be seen on the inter-county scene, as he left to go working in Cardiff and his footballing days really looked as if they had become a thing of the past.
Even throughout that period Parsons always had it in the back of his mind that he would eventually pull on the green and red jersey again.
Speaking to The Irish Examiner, he said:
“I remember saying to my parents – ‘I will play for Mayo again.’ I had made a verbal contract to myself at that stage and you don’t forget words like that.”
Given the importance of club performances when it comes to emerging upon a county panel, Parsons showed incredible levels of dedication as he flew over and back from Cardiff for the Connacht League before James Horan decided to give him another opportunity to pull on the Mayo shirt.
Massive sacrifices were then made in order to ensure that his inter-county career was here to stay this time. He secured a work transfer to Dublin from Jacobs Engineering as well as moving his family back to Ireland – something which the 29-year-old has no regrets about.
“It is absolutely worth it every time you put on that jersey to play for Mayo, with the magic support we have day in, day out. It is something that I have absolutely no regrets about.”
Travelling from Dublin to Mayo to train is a prime example of the level of dedication put in by Parsons to be a part of Stephen Rochford’s side – but he knows that at the end of the day all of his commitment is worthwhile.
“I definitely have more grá, more want and will to work really, really hard to keep that jersey because I know what it means to lose it.”
An All-Ireland medal to end 66 years of hurt would be the perfect reward for his efforts this Sunday, but if Mayo are going to overcome Dublin, then Parsons and his teammates will need to have one of the games of their lives.
This man is certainly more than willing to die for the shirt on his back.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena