The Yew County
The Heather County
|Ground(s):||MacHale Park, Castlebar|
|Dominant sport:||Gaelic football|
|Football Championship:||Sam Maguire Cup|
|Hurling Championship:||Christy Ring Cup|
|Ladies' Gaelic football:||Brendan Martin Cup|
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—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.
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.
Mayo returned to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in 2012 only for the "Kafkaesque black farce" 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. 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 where the drew what was said to be one of the best matches of the Championship 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.
- 1 Crest , colours and supporters
- 2 Gaelic football
- 3 Hurling
- 4 Ladies' Gaelic football
- 5 Camogie
- 6 Further reading
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Crest , colours and supporters
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.
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. The Mayo GAA crest also features the Irish words Críost Linn, which translates to "Christ be with us".
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.
Mayo have had past players named on the Team of the Millennium. Distinguished players in Mayo's past include Willie Joe Padden, Liam McHale, Tom Langan, Sean Flanagan Seamus O'Malley and Ciarán McDonald.
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
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
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.
Modern era – Mayo's return to regional prominence
While the team has not won an All-Ireland title since 1951, the 1980s saw a marked improvement in the team's fortunes, with the side winning four Connacht titles (1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989). The 1989 Connacht title winning team, managed by John O'Mahony, went on to defeat Tyrone in the All-Ireland Semi-Final before going close to winning an All-Ireland title in Mayo's first All-Ireland Final appearance in 38 years, eventually losing the game to Cork on a scoreline of 0–17 (17) to 1–11 (14).
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. Numerous managers including Brian McDonald, Jack O'Shea and Anthony Egan failed to improve the team's fortunes and in late 1995, following another unsuccessful season which included the team's relegation to Division 3 of the National Football League, former player 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. The improvements were swift with Mayo winning Division 3 of the National League in 1996 before going on to win their third Connacht title of the decade. Maughan's side produced their performance of the year in the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Kerry, winning by 2–13 (19) to 1–10 (13), a lobbed goal from 40 metres by James Horan in the last minute of the game sealing the victory.
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 (12) to 0–12 (12). During a bad-tempered replay – which included a brawl in which 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 (15) to 1–11 (14).
Mayo retained the Connacht title in 1997, beating Sligo in the final, and 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 (13) to 1–7 (10) to Kerry. Mayo returned to Division 1 of the National Football League and another Connacht title (Mayo's fifth of the decade) followed in 1999, but Mayo failed to reach another All-Ireland Final and manager John Maughan resigned.
Under new manager, Pat Holmes, Mayo won their eleventh National Football League title in 2001, beating arch rivals Galway in the final on a scoreline of 0–13 to 0–12 courtesy of a late point from substitute Marty McNicholas, in the only ever national final played between the two western rivals. However, Mayo failed 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 (the quarter final staqe having been added to the championship in 2001) on a scoreline of 0–16 (16) to 1–09 (12). 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 (23) to 2–9 (15). Mayo failed to retain their Connacht title in 2005 and, following a three-point All-Ireland Quarter-Final defeat to Kerry the same year, Maughan again resigned 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 and, following an unconvincing replay victory over Laois in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final, Mayo produced arguably their greatest performance of the modern era to come from seven points behind with 20 minutes remaining to defeat favourites Dublin on a scoreline of 1–16 (19) to 2–12 (18) in the All-Ireland Semi-Final in front of an attendance of 82,300 at Croke Park. 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 (27) to 3–5 (14). 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. Mayo have retained their Division 1 status to date under O'Mahony, but failed to win a Connacht title or reach the last eight of the All-Ireland Football Championship during the first two years of his tenure. In 2008, the team reached the last 12 of the All Ireland Championship, but were narrowly beaten by Tyrone, who went on to become All Ireland Champions. 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 (18) to 1–14 (17).
2010 was a disappointing year for Mayo; despite reaching the National League Final, they were beaten by Cork, and defeat 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 to be replaced by James Horan. After suffering a scare in London in the first round of the 2011 Connacht Championship, Mayo won that year’s Championship by beating Roscommon in a rain sodden Dt. Hyde Park on 17 July. Mayo were underdogs going into the All-Ireland Quarter Final against reigning Champions Cork, but won by four points, the Championship ended at the Semi Final stage with a nine-point defeat to Kerry. 
Following Mayo's Connacht Championship win in the 2011 National Football League, the finalised 2011 Mayo Gaelic Football Squad for the All-Ireland Football Championship was announced on 20 April 2011 and is listed below. Due to an injury to David Clarke, Robert Hennelly has been called up to the squad as goalkeeping cover, bring the total number of players to 31. Mayo opened their 2011 All-Ireland Championship campaign with a 0–19 (19) to 2–10 (16) win over London at Ruislip, London on 29 May 2011. They followed this up with a 1–12 (15) to 1–6 (9) win over Galway on 26 June 2011 at McHale Park, Castlebar. Mayo regained the Connacht Championship with a 0–13 (13) to 0–11 (11) victory over Roscommon at Hyde Park, Roscommon on 17 July 2011. Mayo's next game was an All-Ireland Quarter Final match against Cork on 31 July 2011 at Croke Park, Dublin.
Mayo lost the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final to Donegal, conceding two goals in the first eleven minutes, failing to score until the sixteenth minute and never leading in the match. Donegal won by 2:11 to 0:13 Mayo returned to the final the following year, this time it was Dublin that saw them off beating them by a single point on a scoreline of 2:12 to 1:14.
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 overall, with Mayo players winning 24 awards to date. Willie Joe Padden and Dermot Flanagan became the first Mayo players to win multiple awards, both winning their second 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 (and to date only) Mayo player to win back to back awards, winning in both 1996 and 1997. Kenneth and Conor Mortimer became the first Mayo siblings to win awards when Conor won an All Star in 2006.
Current football squad
- 5 All-Ireland Junior Football Championships
- 1933, 1950, 1957, 1995, 1997
- 4 All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championships
- 1967, 1974, 1983, 2006
- 4 All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championships
- 1971, 1975, 1982, 1999
- 11 National Football Leagues
- 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1949, 1954, 1970, 2001
- 46 Connacht Senior Football Championships
- 39 Connacht Minor Football Championships
- 23 Connacht Under-21 Football Championships
- 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
- 29 Connacht Junior Football Championships
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
- Manager: JP Coen
- 3 All-Ireland Junior Hurling Championships
- 1980, 1981, 2003
- 2 All-Ireland Minor 'C' Hurling Championships
- 2013, 2014
- 2 Connacht Intermediate Hurling Championship
- 1969, 2014
- 3 Connacht Junior Hurling Championships
- 1936, 1967, 2004
Ladies' Gaelic football
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
- 4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championships
- 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003
- Twice All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Finalists
- 2001, 2007
- 2 All-Ireland Under-16 Ladies' Football Championships
- 1976, 2010
- 2 All-Ireland Under-14 Ladies' Football Championships
- 1994, 2010
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Sweeney, Eamonn (23 September 2012). "Despair cannot last forever". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- Jackson, Lyle (23 September 2012). "Donegal 2-11 0-13 Mayo". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- 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.
- 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.
- "History Around You: Crests and Coats of Arms". teachnet.ie. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "Old habits stand to Tyrone in endgame". The Irish Times (8 August 2008).
- "Dublin beat Mayo by a point in All-Ireland football final". BBC Sport. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Mayo find just enough in absence of Mortimer". Irish Independent. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- "Connacht SFC final: O'Connor dashes London's dreams". Hogan Stand. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Three goal Mayo make it four-in-a-row". Irish Independent. 13 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
- "Connacht SFC final: Mayo maul Sligo to complete five-in-a-row". Hogan Stand. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Connacht MFC final: Mayo hang on". Hogan Stand. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Rossies run champions close before Reape seals final victory". Irish Independent. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
- "Mayo cruise to victory". Irish Examiner. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
- "Andrew Farrell goal sets up Mayo for first junior title since 2012". Irish Examiner. 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- 2007 Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup report in Anfearua.com and Western People
- "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on camogie.ie, pdf download (778k) from Camogie.ie download site
- Mayo GAA site
- Mayo Club '51
- Mayo on Hoganstand.com
- National and provincial titles won by Mayo teams
- Green and Red, a Mayo GAA blog
- Club Mayo Dublin