Mayo GAA

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For Mayo's current season see 2016 Mayo football season.
Mayo GAA
Mayo crest.JPG
Irish: Maigh Eo
Province: Connacht
Nickname(s): The Westerners
The Yew County
The Heather County
County colours:          
Ground(s): MacHale Park, Castlebar
Dominant sport: Gaelic football
Competitions
NFL: Division 1
NHL: Division 2B
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Christy Ring Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit

The Mayo County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Maigh Eo) or Mayo GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Mayo and the Mayo inter-county teams.

Mayo's senior Gaelic football team play in the Connacht Senior Football Championship. Despite having three All-Ireland Senior Football Championship wins—1936, 1950 and 1951— and also holding having an unequalled number of consecutive National Football League titles. Mayo also hold the record of staying the longest time in the top flight of the National Football League, being present there since 1997.Mayo have in recent times become known for their propensity to reach All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals only to fall at the ultimate hurdle. Mayo hold the Championship record for consecutive losing All-Ireland Senior Football Final appearances—this currently stands at seven.[1]

In 1989, they reached their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final since their last victory in 1951 only to lose to Cork. In 1996, a freak point by Meath at the end of the final forced a replay, which saw Mayo concede another late score that would deny them victory. Kerry bridged an 11-year title gap against them in 1997 with a three-point win, before torturing them by eight points in 2004 and thirteen points in 2006.[2]

Mayo returned to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in 2012 only for the "Kafkaesque black farce"[2] to continue as usual—with Donegal allowed to bridge a 20-year gap between titles, helped in no small part by a nightmare opening quarter for Mayo as Michael Murphy—whose father is from Mayo—launched a rocket of a shot into the goal after three minutes. Then, in the eleventh minute, Colm McFadden seized the ball from the grasp of Kevin Keane and slid it into the net for a second Donegal goal. Mayo managed thirteen points to Donegal's two goals and eleven, only got on the scoresheet after sixteen minutes when already two goals behind and never led during the match.[2][3][4] 2013 saw Mayo in the final again, and once more coming up short, this time being seen off by Dublin, who won by a single point. 2014 saw the Mayo team progress to the All Ireland Semi-Finals drawing with Kerry. The replay was controversially moved out of Croke Park to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, where Mayo eventually lost after extra time in another thrilling encounter. In 2015 Mayo reached a 5th consecutive All-Ireland Semi-Final where they faced Dublin. After an exhilarating comeback, they drew and sent the game to a replay. In the replay, they lost by 7 points.

Crest, colours and supporters[edit]

For the current season see 2016 Mayo football season.

The team's traditional colours are green and red. The Mayo jersey will commonly be mostly green, with a thick horizontal red stripe just below chest level. These colours are inspired by "The Green Above The Red", a rebel song.[5]

County Mayo coat of arms

Mayo's current crest is based on the county's coat of arms, which is shown on the left. It features four crosses, each representing a diocese of the Catholic Church in Mayo. The Patriarchal or 'double' cross represents the Archdiocese of Tuam, while the three smaller Passion crosses represent Achonry, Killala and Galway/Kilmacduagh/Kilfenora. The Irish root word of the county, Maigh Eo, means "plain of the yew trees", and the trees that surround the crest represent this. As well as this, the number of trees is significant, with the nine trees representing the number of baronies in the county. The sailing ship represents the county's maritime history, while the red sea below the green hills represents the traditional "green above the red" motif of the county.[6] The Mayo GAA crest also features the Irish words Críost Linn, which translates to "Christ be with us".

Mayo's current sponsors are Irish sports store chain Elverys Sports. Their jerseys are provided by Irish manufacturers O'Neill's sportswear.

Mayo's unofficial supporters club is Mayo Club '51. Their crest is based on the current GAA crest, with the famous mountain Croagh Patrick in green and the sea beneath it in red, signifying the county's coastline. The name of the club commemorates the year that the Mayo senior footballers last won the Sam Maguire Cup, a year which is synonymous with Mayo football.

Traditionally a football county, Mayo have always had a large support at minor, U21 and senior level. Despite a long spell without winning the Sam Maguire Cup, Mayo fans have always had a reputation for being a colourful and loyal group of supporters.[citation needed]

Kit evolution[edit]

Sponsorship[edit]

The following is a history of shirt sponsors of the Mens Mayo Senior Football team. The Mayo team are currently sponsored by Elverys Sports, previously known as Staunton's Intersport, and have been since 1999, making it one of the longest running sponsorships in the GAA.

Manufacturer Sponsor
Years Sponsor
O'Neills
1900 - 1991 No Sponsor
1992 - 1993 Univet
1994 No Sponsor
1995 - 1998 Genfitt
1999 - 2002 Staunton's Intersport
2003 - Elverys Sports

Gaelic football[edit]

History[edit]

Though not affiliated through the 1890s, there is strong evidence of GAA activity in Mayo and the rivalry with Galway that brought success to both counties from the 1930s on was already in evidence. This history between Mayo and Galway has produced two of the finest footballing teams in the game. Between them, the two teams have more than three quarters of the Connacht titles that have been contested.

Mayo have an unequalled number of consecutive National Football League titles. The Mayo team were champions in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939.

Early years – Mayo's first All-Ireland[edit]

One of the great turning points in GAA history west of the Shannon was the 1935 Connacht Final when 26,000 turned out to see National League Champions Mayo beat the All-Ireland champions Galway in Roscommon. In the 1936 Connacht Final Mayo were leading by a goal in the last minute when Brendan Nestor scored an equalising goal for Galway – he raised the flag himself and caused a riot. However, Mayo won the replay and went on to capture their first All-Ireland Title, beating Laois by 4–11 (23) to 0–5 (5) in the final. The following year, 1937, they were the victim of a Louis Blessing last-minute goal in the All Ireland Semi-Final against Cavan in another match that featured a pitch invasion. It ended Mayo's run of 57 matches without defeat. Mayo dominated the National Football League for six years, but pulled out of the 1939–40 league in a grievance over the 1939 semi-final, a bad-tempered draw and replay with Kerry. Mayo returned to the competition to win their seventh National Football League title in 1941. Unfortunately, due to World War II, the league was suspended for four seasons until 1946, and Mayo were unable to add to these successes.

1940s and 1950s – Mayo's greatest ever team[edit]

Following Mayo's 1939 Connacht Final victory, it took the team nine years to emerge from Connacht again, but they narrowly lost the 1948 All-Ireland Final to Cavan and 1949 semi-final to Meath. However, they returned to Croke Park in 1950 to win an extraordinary All-Ireland Title when Louth's Sean Boyle had his kick-out charged down and Mick Flanagan broke through for a freak winning goal, Mayo winning the game by 2–5 (11) to 1–6 (9). In 1951 Mayo retained the All-Ireland Title, winning their third title overall, with three late points from Pádraig Carney (known as the flying doctor because he had returned from the United States to play the game) giving Mayo a 2–8 (14) to 0–9 (9) win over Meath. During this period, Mayo also won the National Football League in 1949 and 1954, their eight and ninth titles in this competition. Eight wides and a one-point defeat in the replayed 1955 All-Ireland Semi-Final against Dublin brought this particular era to an end.

Mayo went 12 years without winning another Connacht Championship title, until the Mayo team of the late 1960s won the Connacht Championship in 1967 (destroying Galway's 4-in-a-row All-Ireland hopes in the process) and again in 1969. Mayo also added their tenth National League Title to their collection in 1970, beating Down in the final on a scoreline of 4–7 (19) to 0–10 (10). Despite this success, the 1970s was arguably the least successful decade in the history of Mayo football, as the team failed to win a Connacht Championship title throughout the decade, coming closest when losing the 1975 final to Sligo following a replay.

1980 - 1989: Mayo's return to regional prominence[edit]

While the team had not won an All-Ireland title since 1951, nor even qualified for the final, the 1980s saw a marked improvement in the team's fortunes. A twelve-year gap was finally bridged in 1981 when Sligo were defeated in the Connacht Final on a scoreline of 0-12 to 0-4 at McHale Park, which was followed by a heavy defeat to a great Kerry side, 1-6 to 2-19.

Next year, 1982, brought a heavy Connacht Final defeat at the hands of Galway in Tuam, and a rematch of the final the following year in Castlebar again saw Galway run out the victors, this time by three points. Mayo had at this stage dropped to Division 2 of the NFL and lost a promotion playoff to Roscommon in early 1984. For the third consecutive year, Galway and Mayo met in the Connacht Final, this time in Pearse Stadium, Galway. The result remained the same, with Galway completing the three-in-a-row, 2-13 to 2-9.

Mayo were on the opposite side of the draw to Galway in 1985, and easy victories over Leitrim (semi-final) and Roscommon in the final, saw them claim the Nestor Cup. The final was notable as it saw the retirement of Roscommon great Dermot Earley, Snr, who was chaired from the pitch by the Mayo players at the end of the match. Dublin lay in wait in the All-Ireland Semi-Final, and Mayo's first championship meeting with the Dubs since 1955 ended in a draw 1-13 to 1-13. The first match saw Mayo player John Finn's jaw broken in mysterious circumstances and tension was high for the replay. However, despite a goal from Padraig Brogan, Dublin made easy work of Mayo in the end, running out winners by eight points, 2-12 to 1-7. Despite this, the year marked as close as Mayo had come to an All Ireland Final since 1955. Dermot Flanagan, Willie Joe Padden and Kevin McStay received All Stars in recognition of their performances during the year.

Although 1986 saw promotion to Division 1 of the league, the championship campaign ended in disappointment with a Connacht Semi-Final defeat to Roscommon at McHale Park. The following year saw Mayo reach the Connacht Final, going down on this occasion to Galway in a low scoring match, 0-7 to 0-8. 1988 saw the team slide to Division 2, but Connacht wins over Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon in the final saw them reach another All-Ireland Semi-Final. Reigning All-Ireland champions Meath proved too strong for Mayo, running out 0-16 to 2-5 winners, and then going on to defend their title.

The 1989 season saw former player John O'Mahony take over as manager, and after mixed results in the league, an epic championship ensued. After a draw in the Connacht Semi-Final against Galway in Tuam, Mayo won the replay 2-13 to 1-8 in Castlebar, with goals from Liam McHale and Anthony 'Larry' Finnerty. The final was played in Castlebar against Roscommon and this too resulted in a draw, 0-12 to 1-9. A further 70 minutes in Dr. Hyde Park a week later also could not separate the teams, with Mayo eventually running out winners 3-14 to 2-13 after extra time. A scrappy game in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone ended with Mayo as winners 0-12 to 1-6, and was made famous by the iconic image of a bandaged Willie Joe Padden. Mayo's first All-Ireland Final appearance in 38 years was against Cork, runners up from the previous two seasons. Cork's experience told in the final, and despite a goal by substitute Finnerty in the middle of the second half, Cork ran out winners on a scoreline of 0–17 to 1–11. All Stars followed that year for Gabriel Irwin, Jimmy Browne, Dermot Flanagan, Willie Joe Padden and Noel Durkin.

1990 - 1999: Fall and rise[edit]

Despite winning Connacht titles in 1992 and 1993, the early 1990s was a largely unsuccessful period for Mayo, as Connacht football in general suffered a severe drop in standards between 1990 and 1995.

Mayo suffered from a hangover of sorts in 1990, and the championship campaign amounted to just one outing, a 2-11 to 1-12 defeat to Galway in Tuam. The following season proved little better, as after big wins over London and Galway, Mayo faced Roscommon in the Connacht Final. A last minute free from long range by Roscommon's Derek Duggan led to a replay in Dr. Hyde Park, which saw Mayo go down by a single point, 0-13 to 1-9. John O'Mahony stepped down as manager at the end of the season, following a dispute between O'Mahony and the County Board over appointment of team selectors.

Former Dublin player Brian McDonald took over as manager for the 1992 season, which proved more successful for Mayo. Following a first round replay victory over Galway, Mayo got the better of Sligo in the Connacht semi-final and then Roscommon in the final. This set up a first ever meeting with Donegal in the All-Ireland Semi-Final. In what is widely regarded as one of the worst semi-finals of modern times, Donegal beat Mayo on a scoreline of 0-13 to 0-9, before going on to shock Dublin in the All-Ireland Final. TJ Kilgallon was awarded an All Star at midfield at the end of year awards. A player revolt ultimately saw McDonald pushed out, over allegations concerning his training methods, which were said to include pushing a car around a car park.

Former Kerry legend Jack O'Shea took over from McDonald as manager for 1993. Back-to-back Connacht titles were secured in a poor game against Roscommon, which finished 1-5 to 0-7. Humiliation followed in the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Cork, where Mayo went down by 20 points, 5-15 to 0-10. Kevin O'Neill was a rare bright spot for Mayo, and the young forward ended the year with an All Star. Despite the result, O'Shea remained in place for 1994, a campaign that culminated in defeat in the Connacht final by a Leitrim side now managed by John O'Mahony. This was only Leitrim's second ever Connacht title, and prompted O'Shea to step down.

Anthony Egan took over from O'Shea as manager but 1995 proved a low point for Mayo, with relegation to Division 3 of the NFL followed by an unsuccessful championship which culminated in a defeat in the Connacht final to Galway by 7 points in Tuam.

John Maughan, who had achieved some notable successes as manager of Clare including a 1992 Munster Championship title win, was brought in as manager in an effort to improve the team's standing. Maughan was a former Mayo player and Defence Forces officer. He was renowned for the physical fitness regime he imposed on his teams, and the improvements were swift. Mayo won Division 3 of the National League in 1996 before going on to win their third Connacht title of the decade, overcoming Galway in the final. Maughan's side produced their performance of the year in the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Kerry, winning by 2–13 to 1–10, a lobbed goal from 40 metres by James Horan in the last minute of the game sealing the victory. This was Mayo's first victory against Kerry in the championship since 1951.

In the All-Ireland Final against Meath Ray Dempsey's 45th-minute goal gave Mayo a lead of six points; however a Meath comeback, culminating in a last-minute Colm Coyle long-range point, saw the game end in a draw on a scoreline of 1–9 to 0–12. During a bad-tempered replay – which included a brawl in which Coyle and Liam McHale, one of Mayo's most influential players, was sent off – Mayo led by four points at half-time only to succumb to a Tommy Dowd goal, losing the game by one-point on a scoreline of 2–9 to 1–11. Mayo's efforts saw Kenneth Mortimer, Pat Holmes, James Nallen, Liam McHale and James Horan secure All Stars.

Mayo retained the Connacht title in 1997, beating Galway, Leitrim and Sligo in the final. The Galway win was notable as it was Mayo's first victory in Tuam in over 30 years. Mayo went on to reach their second successive All-Ireland Final following a 0–13 to 0–7 victory over the Leinster Champions, Offaly. However, Mayo again lost out in the final, losing by 0–13 to 1–7 to Kerry in a poor game illuminated by the skill of Kerry forward Maurice Fitzgerald. Mortimer was again honoured with an All Star, with only Pat Fallon joining him from the ranks of the Mayo team.

Mayo entered the 1998 Connacht Championship as hot favourites, but once more the spectre of John O'Mahony returned to haunt them as his Galway side ambushed Mayo in the preliminary round in Castlebar. Two goals from Ciarán McDonald couldn't prevent a 2-6 to 1-13 defeat.

In 1999 Mayo returned to Division 1 of the National Football League and another Connacht title (Mayo's fifth of the decade) followed, after wins over New York, Roscommon and Galway in the final. However, Mayo failed to reach another All-Ireland Final falling to Cork 2-12 to 0-12 in the semi-final. James Horan secured and All Star and manager John Maughan resigned after four tumultuous seasons.

2000 - 2009: Success and failure[edit]

Pat Holmes came on board as manager for the 2000 season, but his managerial career got off to a poor start with a first round defeat in the Connacht Championship against Sligo. The National Football League provided some relief however, and when the matches resumed in the spring of 2001 Mayo won their eleventh National Football League title, beating archrivals Galway in the final on a scoreline of 0–13 to 0–12 courtesy of a late point from substitute Marty McNicholas, in what was the only national final played between the two western rivals. This was Mayo's first national title since the NFL victory in 1970. Unfortunately, league success did not transfer to the championship and Mayo lost the Connacht Final to Roscommon following a last minute goal by Gerry Lohan. The introduction of the qualifier system that year meant Mayo got a second chance against Westmeath. This also ended in defeat for Mayo, albeit after extra time, on a scoreline of 1-14 to 0-16.

The 2002 Championship again got off to a bad start for Mayo, with defeat in their first game against Galway. Into the qualifiers once more, Mayo fared better this time with wins over Roscommon, Limerick and Tipperary, facing the latter duo for the first time in the championship. In the All-Ireland Quarter Final (the quarter final staqe having been added to the championship in 2001), Cork again provided the opposition, Mayo again losing out 0-16 to 1-10.

Mayo's failure to win a Connacht title under Holmes and his departure at the end of the 2002 season paved the way for John Maughan's return for a second stint as manager of the team. His first season in charge was not particularly successful however, with Mayo eventually falling to Fermanagh in the last 12 of the championship following a Connacht Final defeat to Galway.

In 2004, Mayo regained the Connacht title with ease following facile wins over New York, Galway and Roscommon, with none of these teams able to finish their matches within five points of Mayo. Mayo followed this success with a surprise victory over reigning All-Ireland Champions Tyrone in the All-Ireland Quarter Final on a scoreline of 0–16 to 1–09. However, Mayo's form rapidly deteriorated following this win, and the team struggled to see off surprise semi-finalists Fermanagh following a replay before losing the All-Ireland Final to Kerry by eight points on a scoreline of 1–20 to 2–9. James Nallen and Ciarán McDonald made the All Stars team that year.

Mayo failed to retain their Connacht title in 2005 losing to Galway in the final. A three-point victory over Cavan in the qualifiers led to a three-point All-Ireland Quarter-Final defeat to Kerry, bringing to an end Maughan's second spell as manager.

In 2006, Mickey Moran became Mayo's first manager from outside the county since Jack O'Shea managed the team in the early 1990s. Moran guided the team to another Connacht title, beating Galway by a point in the final. Following an unconvincing replay victory over Laois in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final, in the Semi-Final against Dublin Mayo produced arguably their greatest performance since the defeat of Kerry ten years previously. Even before the game started tensions were raised by Mayo warming up into the Hill 16 end. They were soon joined by Dublin, and some jostling occurred between players and management teams. The match itself was of high quality and resulted in Mayo coming from seven points behind with 20 minutes remaining to defeat favourites Dublin on a scoreline of 1–16 to 2–12. Ciarán McDonald's winning point from under the Hogan Stand was a particular highlight. Kerry again awaited Mayo in the All Ireland Final and for the third time in 10 years they defeated Mayo, this time on a scoreline of 4–15 to 3–5. Alan Dillon won his first All Star award, as did Conor Mortimer, joining his brother Kenneth as an award winner. Despite the relative success of the 2006 season, rumours persisted of divisions between Moran and the Mayo County Board and Moran was not retained as manager for the 2007 season.

In 2007, John O'Mahony returned as Mayo manager following a 16-year absence during which he had won a Connacht title with Leitrim (1994) as well as two All-Ireland titles with Galway (1998 and 2001) and in his first season led the team to the National League Final, where they were defeated by Donegal. Well beaten by Galway in the Connacht Final, they exited the Championship in the second round of the Qualifiers at the hands of Derry in Celtic Park, Derry, a game in which Ciarán McDonald made his final appearance for Mayo off the bench.

In 2008, after losing the Connacht final by a point once more to Galway, they were narrowly beaten by eventual All Ireland Champions Tyrone in the Qualifiers, 0-13 to 1-9. An injury time point by Peader Gardiner saw Mayo win their first Connacht title since O'Mahony's return, and their 42nd title overall, when they beat Galway in the 2009 Connacht Final on a scoreline of 2–12 to 1–14. However, defeat to Meath followed in the All-Ireland Quarter Final, 2-15 to 1-15.

2010 - present: The Horan years and after[edit]

2010 was a nadir for Mayo; despite reaching the National League Final, they were beaten by Cork, and defeat in the Connacht Championship first round by Sligo was followed up by an All-Ireland Qualifier Round 1 loss to Longford. John O'Mahony immediately stepped down as Mayo manager following the game. The return of 'Johnno' had promised much, but only a single Connacht title was won in that time, and the county suffered a number of poor defeats in the Qualifiers.

O'Mahony was replaced by James Horan for the 2011 campaign. Horan had won a Mayo Senior Football Championship with Ballintubber as manager the previous year. After suffering a scare in London in the first round of the 2011 Connacht Championship, Mayo won that years Championship by beating Roscommon in a rain sodden Dr. Hyde Park. Mayo were underdogs going into the All-Ireland Quarter Final against reigning All-Ireland Champions Cork, but won by four points. The Championship ended at the Semi-Final stage with a nine-point defeat to Kerry, but the improved performances augured well for the future. [7] Andy Moran was subsequently selected at full-forward on the All Stars team.

Mayo reached the final of the National Football League in 2012, but lost out to Cork 2-10 to 0-11. Mayo retained the Connacht title with wins over Leitrim and Sligo before defeating Down in the Quarter Final. Facing reigning champions Dublin in the Semi Final, Mayo survived a Dublin fightback to win 0-19 to 0-16 and reach their first final since 2006. Conceding two goals in the first eleven minutes, Mayo lost the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final to Donegal by 2-11 to 0-13. Four Mayo players earned All Stars, first timers Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins and Lee Keegan being joined by Alan Dillon for his second.

In 2013, Mayo easily won their third consecutive Connacht Championship, defeating Galway by 17 points, Roscommon by 12 points and London by 16 points, in what was a novel final. They gained revenge against Donegal for the previous year in the Quarter Final, running out winners 4-17 to 1-10. A 6-point win over Tyrone saw Mayo return to the final, this time to face Dublin. A close game saw Dublin win by a single point on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-14.[8] Higgins and Keegan won their second All Stars, along with a first for Colm Boyle and Aidan O'Shea.

Entering his fourth year as manager, Horan guided Mayo to another Connacht title after wins over New York, Roscommon and a final victory over Galway, 3-14 to 0-16. A one-point win over Cork led to Semi-Final match up against Kerry. A fantastic second half performance led to Mayo leading by 5 points going into the last five minutes, however a Kieren Donaghy goal saw the game end in a draw, 1-16 apiece. Controversially, the replay was fixed for Limerick's Gaelic Grounds due to the unavailability of Croke Park owing to an American Football game taking place there. Another epic match ensued, with the sides once more all square after 70 minutes. Kerry managed to pull away in extra-time, eventually winning 3-16 to 3-13. James Horan stepped down immediately afterwards, having done much to restore the pride to Mayo football, albeit falling just short of winning the All-Ireland. Keith Higgins won his third All Star in a row, with Colm Boyle taking his second and Cillian O'Connor his first.

Mayo began 2015 with new joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. Defeating Galway in the semi-final, a 6-25 to 2-11 win over Sligo saw Mayo win a record-breaking fifth consecutive Connacht title. Another Quarter Final defeat of Donegal saw Mayo matched once more against Dublin in the semi-final. Seven points down with five minutes to go, a Cillian O'Connor penalty helped Mayo force a draw, 1-15 to 2-12. The replay was played at a high tempo, but after an even first half, Dublin pulled away in the second half to win by 7 points, 3-15 to 1-14. Lee Keegan was selected for his third All Star, and Aidan O'Shea for his second. The winter again saw controversy envelop Mayo, as a player protest against the management led to the resignation of the management team of Holmes and Connelly.

Stephen Rochford was selected as Mayo manager for 2016, and a poor league campaign nonetheless saw the side stay in Division 1 of the league for an 18th consecutive year. Going for a sixth successive Connacht title, hot favourites Mayo were shocked in the semi-final by Galway, who ran out winners 0-12 to 1-12. However, Mayo battled through the Qualifiers with unconvincing wins against Fermanagh, Kildare and Westmeath to reach a Quarter Final against Tyrone. In a tight game, Mayo won by a point 0-13 to 0-12. Surprise packets Tipperary awaited in the Semi-Final, which Mayo won 2-13 to 0-14 to set up an All-Ireland Final meeting with Dublin.

The Curse of '51[edit]

The Curse of '51, one of a number of infamous Sports-related curses, allegedly prevents Mayo from winning the Sam Maguire Cup ever again, or at least until the death has occurred of every member of the last winning team from 1951. It remains unbroken—despite the team reaching the Final on seven occasions since then, they have either completely collapsed on the day or been undone by a series of other unfortunate events.

The legend tells us that while the boisterous Mayo team were passing through Foxford on the victorious journey home, the team failed to respect a funeral ceremony. The residing priest consequently put a curse on Mayo football to never win a future All-Ireland Final.

Player Awards[edit]

All Stars[edit]

The annual GAA All Stars Awards recognise the players considered to be the best in their selected positions in the country in any given year. The awards were instituted in 1971 and Mayo's John Carey was among the inaugural selection in that year. Despite winning only two awards in total during their unsuccessful 1970s period, Mayo have been one of the most successful teams nationally in terms of All Star awards gained, with Mayo players winning 37 awards to date. Willie Joe Padden and Dermot Flanagan became the first Mayo players to win multiple awards, both winning their second awards in 1989. Kenneth Mortimer achieved the same feat in 1997, as did James Horan in 1999 and James Nallen in 2004. Mortimer became the first Mayo player to win back to back awards, winning in both 1996 and 1997, a feat matched by Colm Boyle (2013, 2014) and Lee Keegan (2012, 2013), and exceeded by Keith Higgins, who completed three-in-a-row in 2014. Kenneth and Conor Mortimer became the first Mayo siblings to win awards when Conor won an All Star in 2006.

Year Player Position
1971 Johnny Carey Right-Full Back
1979 Joe McGrath Left-Full Forward
1985 Dermot Flanagan Left-Full Back
Willie Joe Padden Midfield
Kevin McStay Right-Full Forward
1989 Gabriel Irwin Goalkeeper
Jimmy Browne Right-Full Back
Dermot Flanagan Left-Full Back
Wille Joe Padden Midfield
Noel Durkin Left-Half Forward
1992 TJ Kilgallon Midfield
1993 Kevin O'Neill Right-Half Forward
1996 Kenneth Mortimer Right-Full Back
Pat Holmes Right-Half Back
James Nallen Centre-Half Back
Liam McHale Midfield
James Horan Left-Half Forward
1997 Kenneth Mortimer Right-Full Back
Pat Fallon Midfield
1999 James Horan Left-Half Forward
2004 James Nallen Centre-Half Back
Ciarán McDonald Centre-Half Forward
2006 Alan Dillon Left-Half Forward
Conor Mortimer Right-Full Forward
2012 Ger Cafferkey Full Back
Keith Higgins Left-Full Back
Lee Keegan Right-Half Back
Alan Dillon Centre-Half Forward
2013 Keith Higgins Left-Full Back
Lee Keegan Right-Half Back
Colm Boyle Left-Half Back
Aidan O'Shea Midfield
2014 Keith Higgins Left-Full Back
Colm Boyle Left-Half Back
Cillian O'Connor Right-Corner Forward
2015 Lee Keegan Right-Half Back
Aidan O'Shea Full-Forward

Young Footballer of the Year[edit]

The GAA & GPA All Stars Young Footballer of the Year (often called simply Young Footballer of the Year) is an annual award given at the end of the Championship season to a young footballer under the age of 21 who is adjudged to have been the best in Gaelic football. Players from Mayo have won this award more times (4) than players from any other county since the award was instituted in 1997. Cillian O'Connor is the only multiple winner ever of the award, and with his brother Diarmuid winning in 2015, they are also the only set of brothers to win the award.

  • 2006 - Keith Higgins
  • 2011 - Cillian O'Connor
  • 2012 - Cillian O'Connor
  • 2015 - Diarmuid O'Connor

Team of the Century and Team of the Millennium[edit]

The Team of the Century was nominated in 1984 by Sunday Independent readers and selected by a panel of experts including journalists and former players.[9] It was chosen as part of the Gaelic Athletic Association's centenary year celebrations. Two Mayo players were chosen on the team. These were Seán Flanagan at Left-Corner-Back and Tommy Langan at Full-Forward.

Similarly The Team of the Millennium was a team chosen in 1999 by a panel of GAA past presidents and journalists. The goal was to single out the best ever 15 players who had played the game in their respective positions, since the foundation of the GAA in 1884 up to the Millennium year, 2000. Both Flanagan and Langan were also selected on this team, occupying the same positions.

Current football squad[edit]

No. Player Position Club
1 David Clarke Goalkeeper Ballina Stephenites
2 Brendan Harrison Right Corner Back Aghamore
3 Kevin Keane Full Back Westport
4 Keith Higgins Left Corner Back Ballyhaunis
5 Lee Keegan Right Half Back Westport
6 Colm Boyle Centre Back Davitts
7 Patrick Durcan Left Half Back Castlebar Mitchels
8 Séamus O'Shea Midfield Breaffy
9 Donal Vaughan Midfield Ballinrobe
10 Kevin McLoughlin Right Half Forward Knockmore
11 Aidan O'Shea Centre Half Forward Breaffy
12 Diarmuid O'Connor Left Half Forward Ballintubber
13 Evan Regan Right Corner Forward Ballina Stephenites
14 Andy Moran Full Forward Ballaghadereen
15 Cillian O'Connor (c) Left Corner Forward Ballintubber
No. Player Position Club
16 Rob Hennelly Substitute Breaffy
17 Chris Barrett Substitute Belmullett
18 Tom Parsons Substitute Charlestown Sarsfields
19 Stephen Coen Substitute Hollymount-Carramore
20 Barry Moran Substitute Castlebar Mitchels
21 Shane Nally Substitute Garrymore
22 Alan Dillon Substitute Ballintubber
23 Conor O'Shea Substitute Breaffy
24 Jason Doherty Substitute Burrishoole
25 Alan Freeman Substitute Aghamore
26 Conor Loftus Substitute Crossmolina Deel Rovers

Squad as per Mayo v Tyrone, 2016 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Quarter Final, 6 August 2016

Honours[edit]

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final Record[edit]

Year Date Winner Score Loser Score Venue Attendance Winning Margin
1916 17 December Wexford 3-4 Mayo 1-2 Croke Park 3,000 8
1921 17 June 1923 Dublin 1-9 Mayo 0-2 Croke Park 16,000 10
1932 25 September Kerry 2-7 Mayo 2-4 Croke Park 25,816 3
1936 27 September Mayo 4-11 Laois 0-5 Croke Park 50,168 18
1948 25 September Cavan 4-5 Mayo 4-4 Croke Park 74,645 1
1950 24 September Mayo 2-5 Louth 1-6 Croke Park 76,174 2
1951 23 September Mayo 2-8 Meath 0-9 Croke Park 78,201 5
1989 17 September Cork 0-17 Mayo 1-11 Croke Park 65,519 3
1996 15 September Meath 0-12 Mayo 1-9 Croke Park 65,898 n/a (Draw)
1996 29 September Meath 2-9 Mayo 1-11 Croke Park 65,802 1 (Replay)
1997 28 September Kerry 0-13 Mayo 1-7 Croke Park 65,601 3
2004 26 September Kerry 1-20 Mayo 2-9 Croke Park 79,749 8
2006 17 September Kerry 4-15 Mayo 3-5 Croke Park 82,289 13
2012 23 September Donegal 2-11 Mayo 0-13 Croke Park 82,269 4
2013 22 September Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-14 Croke Park 82,274 1
2016 18 September Dublin 2-9 Mayo 0-15 Croke Park 82,257 n/a (Draw)

Hurling[edit]

Although not a traditional hurling county, hurling is strong in certain parts of the county especially in the eastern region around Ballyhaunis and Tooreen. There are 6 Senior hurling clubs in Mayo, who compete for the TJ Tyrell Senior Hurling Championship each year. These 6 clubs are Tooreen, Ballyhaunis, Castlebar Mitchels, Westport, Ballina-James Stephens and Belmullet. Ballyhaunis are the reigning Senior Champions and have 6 senior titles, while Tooreen hold the most titles with 26.

These 6 clubs provide the players to the Mayo Senior hurling panel, who take part in the National Hurling League and in the All-Ireland Christy Ring (Tier 2) Cup. Mayo's best performances in the Christy Ring Cup came in 2008 and 2009, when the Mayo side fell at the semi-final stage to Carlow and Down respectively. The Mayo U-21 hurling team compete in the Connacht U-21B hurling championship each year along with Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim.

Hurling at underage level is also expanding in Mayo, with 10 clubs competing in underage leagues and championships in the county. As well as the 6 adult sides named above, 4 other underage clubs have formed in recent years. These clubs are Ballyvary, Moytura, Caiseal Gaels and Claremorris. These 10 clubs provide the players for the Mayo underage hurling development panels. Mayo have development panels at U14, U15, U16 and Minor age-groups, and compete in the All-Ireland 'B' competitions each year.

Mayo's most famous hurlers are Joe Henry (Tooreen), who won Railway Cup medals with Connacht in the 1980s, and current dual player Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis) who played for the Mayo football team in the All-Ireland football final in 2006.

Hurling in Mayo is administered by the Mayo GAA Hurling Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Mayo GAA County Board.

Current hurling squad[edit]

No. Player Position Club
1 Donal O'Brien Goalkeeper Ballyhaunis
2 Brian Hunt Right Corner Back Ballyhaunis
3 Aiden Connolly Full Back Westport
4 Eoghan Collins Left Corner Back Ballyhaunis
5 Declan Gallagher Right Half Back Westport
6 David Kenny Centre Back Tooreen
7 Ciaran Finn Left Half Back Tooreen
8 Kieran McDermott Midfield Ballyhaunis
9 Padraig O’Flynn Midfield Castlegar (Galway)
10 Austin Lyons Right Half Forward Ballyhaunis
11 Kenny Feeney Centre Forward Tooreen
12 Fergal Boland Left Half Forward Tooreen
13 Stephen Hoban Right Corner Forward Ballyhaunis
14 Sean Regan Full Forward James Stephens
15 Darren McTigue Left Corner Forward Castlebar Mitchels
No. Player Position Club
16 Davog Freyne Substitute Tooreen
17 Adrian Brennan Substitute Ballyhaunis
18 Shane Boland Substitute Tooreen
19 Kieran Kiely Substitute Ballyhaunis
20 Luke Cribben Substitute Ballyhaunis
21 Fergal Lyons Substitute Ballyhaunis
22 Gary Nolan Substitute Tooreen
23 Shane Morley Substitute Tooreen
24 Joe Ganley Substitute Tooreen
25 David Garrison Substitute Tooreen
26 Corey Scahill Substitute Castlebar Mitchels

Squad as per Mayo vs Derry, Christy Ring Cup Round 1, May 2, 2015

Honours[edit]

Ladies' Gaelic football[edit]

Honours[edit]

Camogie[edit]

Mayo contested the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship final of 1959, captained by Josie Ruane from Menulla. Na Brídeoga won the Coiste Chontae an Chláir Shield at Féile na nGael in 2009, Parke (1983) and Ardagh (1988) had previously won divisional honours.

The county hosted the 2007 Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup.[20]

Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010–2015, “Our Game, Our Passion,”[21] Donegal, Kerry, Mayo and Monaghan are to get a total of 14 new clubs by 2015.[22]

Further reading[edit]

  • Clune, M. A. (1954) Mayo's Football Triumphs. Dublin: Pearse Press
  • Reilly, Terry & Neill, Ivan (1985) The Green Above the Red: a compilation of Mayo's All-Ireland triumphs at all levels. Ballina: Western People

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heneghan, Conor. "Preview: Kerry v Mayo". JOE.ie. Often derided as eternal optimists and held up as the laughing stock of the GAA world [...] Nobody can simply write off what happened at the hands of Sunday's opponents in two All-Ireland finals in the last decade [...] we will see a repeat of the massacres of recent years. 
  2. ^ a b c Sweeney, Eamonn (23 September 2012). "Despair cannot last forever". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Lyle (23 September 2012). "Donegal 2-11 0-13 Mayo". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  4. ^ O'Keeffe, John (24 September 2012). "Donegal's bite was early, deep and fatal". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012. ... But it was, yet again, a nightmare start comparable to 2004 and 2006... You also must commiserate with Mayo. Yet another All-Ireland final defeat... My only concern for them [Mayo], going into next season, would be that they have a lot of similar forwards and none of them are in the mould of Murphy or McFadden. 
  5. ^ Davis, Thomas Osborne (1845). "The Green above the Red". The Spirit of the Nation: Ballads and Songs by the Writers of "The Nation". Dublin: James Duffy. pp. 264–5. 
  6. ^ "History Around You: Crests and Coats of Arms". teachnet.ie. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Old habits stand to Tyrone in endgame". The Irish Times (8 August 2008).
  8. ^ "Dublin beat Mayo by a point in All-Ireland football final". BBC Sport. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. p. 238. 
  10. ^ "Mayo find just enough in absence of Mortimer". Irish Independent. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Connacht SFC final: O'Connor dashes London's dreams". Hogan Stand. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Three goal Mayo make it four-in-a-row". Irish Independent. 13 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Connacht SFC final: Mayo maul Sligo to complete five-in-a-row". Hogan Stand. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Connacht MFC final: Mayo hang on". Hogan Stand. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Rossies run champions close before Reape seals final victory". Irish Independent. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mayo's smash and grab win stuns Roscommon U21s". Irish Examiner. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  17. ^ "Mayo cruise to victory". Irish Examiner. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  18. ^ "Andrew Farrell goal sets up Mayo for first junior title since 2012". Irish Examiner. 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  19. ^ "Connacht JFC final: Coen guides Mayo to glory". Hogan Stand. 2016-05-22. Retrieved 2016-05-23. 
  20. ^ 2007 Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup report in Anfearua.com and Western People
  21. ^ "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  22. ^ National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on camogie.ie, pdf download (778k) from Camogie.ie download site

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External links[edit]