While most Mayo eyes are firmly on Dr. Hyde Park for Sunday’s crunch showdown with Roscommon, the Championship is already in sight. This year, Mayo GAA travel to Ruislip, the ground of London GAA to kick off their Connacht Championship campaign on Sunday 29th May 2016.
London GAA ticketing arrangments
This year for the first time, the fixture will be all-ticket, and tickets have now just gone on sale. Only adult tickets are available online, and according to London GAA tickets for adults, OAPs and students will be available at Ruislip on the day. However demand is likely to be huge. If the crowd of Mayo supporters that travelled to New York in 2014 is anything to by, there’s likely to be a massive contingent crossing the Irish sea, and of course the occasion will be a huge draw for many of Irish diaspora across the UK.
So if you’re planning on heading over, we would strongly recommend that you book your tickets now. Tickets booked during the week and have already arrived in the post!
Cillian O’Connor converts against London in the 2013 Connacht Final in Elverys MacHale Park
Tickets can be bought in the UK from London GAA using the following link:http://londongaa.tickets.ie/.
If you have any questions please contact Mark Gottsche on 07872600074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE 29th March:
Tickets are currently unavailable online, however we have been informed by Club London GAA that additional tickets will be going on sale online later this week. Tickets will be available from Ruislip from Monday 4th April.
Roscommon vs. Mayo this Sunday
In the meantime, Mayo have a do-or-die fixture this Sunday against Roscommon in Dr. Hyde Park in Round 6 of the Allianz National Football league. Throw-in is at the later time of 3.30pm. Lose, and it’s almost certain relegation to Division 2 for next year, and Roscommon under Fergal O’Donnell and Mayo’s own Kevin McStay have been blazing a trail through Division 1 this year, racking up scores left right and centre. They would be only too delighted to relegate this Mayo team who have been struggling in the League thus far.
Some practicalities – be aware that the Roscommon Easter Parade is taking place at 12.30 and traffic is likely to be heavy. Seating will also be allocated on a first-come first-served basis and the weather is not promised favourable, so if you want to get into the stand get on the road early.
While the arguments could be made that Mayo’s focus justifiably lies elsewhere, and that we have been playing catch-up after a delayed start and a plague of injuries, no-one one wants to see this team lose their status as the longest serving team in the top flight.
It’s the first time this year that the sixteenth man will be needed – we are going into a dogfight, against a well-supported, highly confident team on their home patch, so we as supporters will need to make ourselves count on Sunday. We can’t kick points, but we can let these lads who have given us so many incredible days out know that we are backing them all the way.
We are therefore appealing to every man, woman and child to make some noise and bring a flag on Sunday and let’s revive the famous “Mayo Roar”.
Bring the colour, bring the noise and let’s together get the job done. Maigh Eo Abú!
There’s nothing quite like the build-up to an All-Ireland final in which your team is taking part, and while the mood around Mayo football isn’t currently at its best after last Sunday’s defeat to Kerry, the feeling around the streets of Castlebar is different. As Castlebar Mitchels approach the final hurdle and All-Ireland Club Final day looms, every shop and business has some form of Mitchels-themed decoration on display – Main Street is absolutely plastered with red and yellow and when the sun shines like it has been in the last couple of days, it’s a fantastic sight. Even the dogs of Castlebar are getting on board!
Pictured: A dog in a Castlebar Mitchels hoodie.
Upsetting the odds
In the past 3 years, this team has toppled some of the biggest names in club football, and have upset the odds while doing so. And when I say they upset the odds, I mean crazy odds like when they were 3/1 to beat Corofin in this year’s Connacht Final. A lot of people capitalised on it that day which made winning a second Connacht Title in 3 years that bit sweeter! In 2013/14, on the way to their All-Ireland Final appearance, the Mitchels defeated Corofin in Tuam, reigning All-Ireland Champions St. Brigids, and Kerry and Munster Champions Dr. Crokes. We came up just short in Croker, but this year they added Crossmaglen to the growing list in an incredible night in Breffni Park to give themselves another shot at the ultimate prize.
This squad is littered with talent, and I should clear something up. When I say they upset the odds, I am talking strictly bookmaker’s odds. I don’t know many Mitchels fans who are surprised at another All-Ireland Final appearance. There was always a feeling that winning the Mayo Senior Championship was a stepping stone to greater things.
On TG4 a few nights ago, former Cork Hurler Donal O’Grady predicted that Ballyboden would go on to win the title. That’s fine, of course it is. It’s an All-Ireland final and anything can happen in 60 minutes of high-intensity football. But his rationale for predicting a Ballyboden win, and I’m paraphrasing here, was because “Mayo teams freeze in Croke Park”. Maybe I’m over-reacting, but that is some seriously lazy, nauseating and frankly terrible analysis. You’d expect to see that in the comments section on a Facebook post, but certainly not on national television. But anyway, that’s beside the point!
On Thursday a couple of thousand will make the long trip east from Castlebar and I’m certain a few more will follow from other parishes, towns and villages all over the county. On my drive home from Claremorris from work every day I pass a sign just outside Breaffy wishing the Mitchels the best of luck in the final. That message comes from their closest neighbours and rivals. It’s great to see everyone rally behind the Mayo and Connacht representatives as indeed we all did when Hollymount-Carramore and Ardnaree Sarsfields took to Croker last month for the Intermediate and Junior finals. It wasn’t to be for them on the day but it was a massive year for Mayo club football with a hat-trick of Connacht titles and All-Ireland Final appearances. Hopefully, the boys from the county town can make it a bit more memorable and claim the Andy Merrigan Cup for the first time in their long and proud history.
Photo: Jarlath Cunningham. For more of Jarlath’s pictures, check out the Mitchels Facebook page. There are any amount of cracking shots from the journey so far this year.
Pride of place is a funny thing. For the last 6 months I have been working in Claremorris – a great town with great people. But it was still a necessity for me to nail my colours to the mast (or tie a small scarf thing on my computer monitor) at the office even though most people don’t really take notice! All in the hope that someone will call in and realise I’m from out of town and maybe talk to me about the match. I love driving home in the evening and I love coming back into the town where you can see red and yellow flags and bunting left, right and centre.
HA! That’ll show ye!
For me, it’s my hometown taking to the field on Thursday. It would be dishonest to claim that I was a clubman because, frankly, I’m not. They are the ones who put in the hard yards during the year on the training pitch, in the board rooms, selling programmes, teas, sandwiches and sweets during matches while everyone else enjoys the action. I go to all the Castlebar Mitchels games alright with my dad whether they are in town or across the country – The two days in Tuam beating Corofin, the day in the Hyde beating Brigids, Portlaoise for Dr. Crokes and the night in Cavan for Crossmaglen are some of my absolute best sporting memories. That is without even mentioning the Mayo Championship wins over Breaffy. But most of my free time is spent across the town at a different club – Castlebar Celtic – populated by yet another fine bunch of volunteers who love their club and their town. Most of the lads taking the field on Thursday have dawned the green and white hoops at some stage in their lives, and we even saw Shane “Hoppy” Hopkins parade the colours around after beating Crossmaglen!
And that’s because they are all of this town and they have represented it in many different forms, be it green and white or red and yellow. But this week it’s all about the red and yellow, it’s about our county town being in the national spotlight on our national day and for all the right reasons. Hopefully, that spotlight will continue into the night on the 17th. My gut tells me that it will.
H’on the Mitchels!
Unlike most holidays, the League mid-term break this year feels like it’s dragged on for a long time. That said, it’s probably no bad thing from a Mayo point of view as we nurse our injury-ravaged panel back to health. Now, it’s off to Ballybofey we go.
It’s been quite the baptism of fire for new manager Stephen Rochford who has not only had to start his reign by playing catch-up, but has had to deal with a significant loss of manpower due to injuries and club commitments. Thankfully, the tide has started to turn a bit in our favour with news that a number of our walking wounded are back in training, and consequently, in contention.
Our thoughts therefore turn to Ballybofey this weekend as we prepare to take on an on-form Donegal. Resurgent so far this year under Rory Gallagher, they will be a big challenge and this would feel like a mouthwatering fixture if we only had a point or two on the board; but this game brings with it the pressure of feeling like a must-win in order to keep us above the drop zone.
Club 51 will be hitting the road for Ballybofey bright and early on Sunday morning. As is customary at most away games, we will be congregating before the game and the venue for this weekend’s meet-up is the Villa Rose Hotel, which has a bar that very conveniently backs on to the entrance of the stand where season tickets are scanned. We couldn’t have planned it better ourselves. They also have a new Sunday bar food menu that we can’t vouch for, but looks pretty damn daycent from where we are. And if you want something fancier there’s an A La Carte Sunday lunch menu too. There’ll be a few gathering there from about 12.30 so if you’re passing do drop in for a cuppa tae or the spuds.
Jackson’s Hotel is another handy spot nearby for a bite to eat and is only a five-minute walk from the ground.
Traffic and Parking in Ballybofey
Mayo GAA have helpfully added traffic info to their website. Be aware that there will be traffic delays coming into Ballybofey on the N15 (i.e. our route) due to road works. There will be temporary traffic lights will be in operation. so LEAVE IN PLENTY OF TIME.
Here’s the list of car parks:
- Navenny car park as you come into town – just past Aldi, take the first right
- Supervalu Car park – sign at junction into Navenny Car Park
- Shopping Centre Car Park beside McElhinneys store.
Barrett’s Coaches will be running their customary bus service from Mayo on the day – call 097 83544 to book your seat. We’ll post further information on buses as we get it.
Pic via The Met Office
We don’t need to remind you at this point to bring the colour and bring the noise. The Mayo travelling support is quite simply, second to none and we know this Sunday will be no exception. Weather wise its predicted to be dry and sunny but bitter cold. We want to see plenty of those Mayo Bobble Hats and beanies on show!
Just a couple of other bits and pieces before we wrap up this post. Firstly a massive congratulations to Castlebar Mitchels on reaching their second All-Ireland Club final in three years. While we’re itching to see the Mitchels boys back in the green and red we are happy to hold out for another few weeks. The build-up will be something special again this year and we can’t wait to get to Croker on March 17th.
Congrats to to JP Coen and the Mayo hurlers on a stonking start to the National League with two wins out of two so far. Their next clash sees them away to Down on March 6th. Round 4 versus Wicklow is scheduled for Sunday 13th March at 12.45pm as a curtain-raiser to the Kerry game in MacHale Park – it would be great to see a big crew there to support them.
Donegal Gardai v Swinford
For anyone travelling up to Donegal and making a weekend of it, or anyone that would like to see a cracking game of Football, this might be of interest. Full details on SwinfordGAA.ie.
On Saturday 27 February Swinford GAA will play a Donegal Gardai selection at O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny at 3pm. This is our return trip after the Donegal Gardai appearance at the official opening of Robert McCallion Memorial Park in Swinford.
After the game there will be a presentation at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny.
Also, we couldn’t not share this video. It might only be February, but it didn’t stop this crew from Lisaniska National School getting together to Hit the Diff for Mayo. What a cracking tune! All together now … “Don’t you dare look back, it’s all history ….We won’t rest til we’re the best”
Finally, for those of you not travelling to Ballybofey, the Mayo Ladies are taking on Armagh on Sunday in Round 4 of the Lidl Ladies NFL. The game throws in at 2pm in Swinford Amenity Park, and the Mayo ladies will be aiming to hang onto their 100% record in the League so far. Follow the action here on the Mayo Ladies GAA twitter account.
Safe travels to you all and arrive alive!
On the road back to Cork
Greetings, fellow Mayo GAA fanatics. Time to fill up the tank, check the oil and pack the ham sandwiches – the first road trip of the year is in sight. Devastatingly cheated out of an away game in the salubrious surroundings of Hyde Park last Sunday week, we have been consoling ourselves since with the prospect of a trip back to Cark, boy, for the second year running. And if it’s anything like last year’s there’s a hell of a weekend in store.
You’ll remember the sickening outcome last year as Mayo conceded a goal with the last play of the game to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Tom Parsons blasted back onto the scene that day and laid down a marker for the year ahead, and if his performances in the FBD League to date have been anything to go by, he is aiming higher for 2016.
The Club ’51 crew will again be making the journey south, some of us that are partial to the
drink culture on Saturday to make a weekend of it, others on Sunday morning. And all of us will no doubt be cursing the N20 and Paschal Donohue for making life difficult for everyone crawling along the windy road from Limerick (don’t mention Limerick) and the Real Capital™.
The game throws in at 2 pm in Pairc Ui Rinn,which leaves plenty of time for Mass on the way, and the man in the middle will be the one and only Maurice Deegan. Pairc Ui Rinn is of course Cork’s acting county ground while they spend a few millions worth of your money building a new stadium. There had better be comfy seats, that’s all we’re saying.
Tickets for this match are €10 if you buy them in advance either online or in Centra or Supervalu, or €15 on the day.
Getting There and Parking
(We’ve just copied this info from last year’s post because we work smart.)
- Getting to Páirc Úi Rínn isn’t too difficult. Anyone that has been to Páirc Úi Caoimh before, it is only about half a mile away. Follow our map below from the City centre.
- Parking however is not as plentiful as it is around Páirc Úi Caoimh (as limited as that is!). It is all mostly on- street parking around Páirc Ú Rínn so if you’re planning on driving get there early or you’ll have a bit of a trek on your hands and a traffic jam getting out.
- For anyone that’s driving down either on Saturday or Sunday, if your’re stopping at Supermac’s in Ballindine show your season ticket and you’ll get a free Tea or Coffee!
- We’re awaiting more info on buses from Mayo and Dublin and will update this it comes in – check back during the week!
- Barrett Coach’s : coach leaves Bangor at 7am, Crossmolina at 7:20am, Ballina at 7:30am, Foxford at 7:40am & Claremorris at 8am. Phone 086-2427347 to book your seat.
- Bus from Shrule : leaving on Sunday contact Tom Sheridan 087 9256326 for information.
- Most people travelling down to Cork the day before will have already booked accommodation (some of the more eager among us have it done since last October), but a quick search on hotels.ie and booking.ie reveals plenty of available accommodation for the discerning Mayo GAA supporter. So get on it!
On the Town, boy
- For any of you planning on travelling to Cork on Saturday, the first Club ’51
pissup meetup of the year will be happening in the inimitable Larry Tompkins’ pub on Lavitt’s Quay from 9pm. No GAA fan needs an introduction to Larry’s.
- Don’t forget to call into The Shelbour Bar on MacCurtain St. owned by Philip Gillivan from Westport. Last year, anyone calling in on match day before or after the match wearing a Mayo colours and with a match ticket got a free pint of Heineken – we’ll let you know if the offer still stands!
- Taxis :Add these numbers to your phone just in case you get marooned/stranded/kidnapped/lost in Cork. It happened to some people last year … but we won’t name names – you know who you are. For the rest of you, don’t say we never look out for you.
- Cork Taxi – 6, Washington Street West, Cork. Phone: (021) 4-27-22-22
- Douglas Street Cabs – 105 Douglas Street Cork. Phone: (021) 484 7600
- Yellow Cabs – 3 Courthouse Street Cork. Phone: (021) 487 7777
- Lee Cabs – 1A Popes Quay Cork. Phone: (021) 439 3977
- Satellite Taxis – Pouladuff Rd Cork. Phone: (021) 434 7777
Bring the Mayo GAA colour, like
The Green & Red of Mayo
Stephen Rochford and his Mayo GAA backroom team are embarking on their first real competitive game after a challenging winter, a very short bedding in period and with an injury-ravaged panel. This is the first big step on another very long journey, so let’s show our support. The more colour we can bring, the better, and the more noise we can make, the better. We’ll be giving our banners and flags another good airing this year, so help us out, bring your own and let’s make that stand a sea of green and red.
There will be no problem outnumbering Cork’s 14 football supporters; in fact, we might need to cheer for them too.
Last but not least – travel safe and enjoy yourselves. These are the days we live for. Up Mayo!!
Stephen Rochford Appointed Mayo Manager
Photo: Mayo GAA
Its has been announced tonight that Stephen Rochford appointed Mayo manager. He has been appointed on a three year term, with a review after each year. Stephen takes over the Mayo management position from Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes, who stepped down last month.
Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Rochford has brought together a fairly impressive backroom team. Donnie Buckley will be staying on in his position as team coach/selector and will be joined by former All Ireland winner with Armagh Tony Mc Entee (coach/selector). Dr Sean Moffitt stays on as head of the medical team. The team physio’s are Liam Moffitt and Martin McIntyre.
Barry Solan who recently signed up with Arsenal football club in London, will also be staying on in his position as head of strength and conditioning of the team. Barry will be joined by former Ireland and Connacht rugby player, Gavin Duffy, who himsef is also a former Mayo GAA minor player.
Maurice Horan who is a former Limerick manager joins the team and will be looking after stats, analysis and video review. Stephen has also recently drafted in a former footballing colleague Sean Carey as a selector. Carey played on the 1995 minor team which was captained by Roachford, and is a former club player with Kiltane GAA and Junior player with Ardagh GAA club.
Caroline Brosnihan Dietician and Stephen’s brother Eoin Rochford (who is an army captain) will be in charge of Logistics are also named as part of the backroom team.
Rochford has said recently;
“There’s a great, great bunch of lads there,” said Rochford a few weeks ago. “There’ll be new faces, I’m sure coming in, whoever is the new manager. But I think there’s good days ahead for Mayo GAA, and if I’m lucky enough to take up the position, we’ll do all in our endeavour to get them across the line in 2016.”
We wish Stephen and his back room team and all the players all the very best for next year. On we go again on another roller-coaster of a journey in 2016!
Stephen Rochford was interviewed earlier this evening on Newstalks Off The Ball programme. Interview can be heard on the podcast below.
Pat Gorham from Belmullet has taken his skills to the other side of the world but when he cruises down the streets of Kuala Lumpur there is no doubt where he is from.
Check out his Aston Martin Rapide adorned in the Mayo colours as we await the throw in versus the Dubs.
It’s parked outside Healy Macs Pub in Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur and could be there for a few days if we win this evening.
Surely good enough for the Malaysian Grand Prix
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