No matter which way you look at it, it’s pretty fair to say that the good old GAA has shafted us a bit this time out by packing ourselves and Kerry off to Limerick for the replay of the All-Ireland semi-final. In a decision that has angered pretty much everyone but Liam “Get On With It” O’Neill (who just couldn’t resist getting personal when Mayo raised objections), both sets of supporters are set for an almighty scramble for both tickets and car parking next Saturday. Plenty has been said about the decision, but we’re now at a point where protest is pointless, and our focus now needs to turn very firmly to getting behind the team at 5pm on Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds.
With that in mind, and also bearing in mind it’s not a ground most Mayo supporters are likely to be familiar with, we have once again pulled together some information for you on how to get there and where to park (if you’re driving). What we can’t help you with is getting out of Limerick after the game, but we’d strongly recommend you have a full tank of petrol and a mixtape at the ready ‘cos those tailbacks are going to be some craic on 8pm on Saturday night.
Anyway, here goes:
Travelling by Car?
If you’re taking the car, we have two magic words for you. Leave early! There’s no two ways about it – traffic will be chaotic, especially on the Mayo side. So leave yourself plenty of time. And consider car pooling as much as possible to cut down both on your costs and the traffic burden!
There will be two major bottlenecks – Claregalway and Clarinbridge. The former is difficult to get through on any day of the week. To avoid it, you can do the following:. Take the left turn just before the Mystical Rose Nursing Home, Knockdoe. Cross over the main Roscommon Road and continue for about 1.5 miles. Take a right at Cregmore school and you’ll exit onto the N18 close to Carnmore Cross. Roads are narrow here, so take care.
As for Clarinbridge, if you head out the old Dublin road, you can take the right turn for Kilcolgan at Craughwell – the roads aren’t great, but it’s an option to avoid that particular bottleneck.
Update: ROAD SAFETY WARNING Thanks to Angela Coll for this information – Will you let your supporters know that are driving to Limerick please note the following:
On the Gort to Limerick motorway (Ennis bypass) the road between Exit 15 (Crusheen) and Exit 14 (Barefield), that when the road is wet (as it possibly will be this weekend) it is very dangerous stretch of motorway with numerous accidents. Clare Co Co have asked the NRA to investigate why there are always accidents on that stretch of road when it’s raining
Please please slow down for that 15 minute stretch of road… Arrive alive!
Update: There’s a fair on in Clarinbridge too, so if you are travelling through, be prepared for delays.
UPdate: Castlegar GAA is organising 100k Steps for Cormac in aid of Pieta House which is starting at 1.30pm and will be passing through Clarinbridge.
- Follow the road down from Ennis (N18), pass Bunratty Castle on your left
- Leave the N18 at junction 4, then at roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the R445 (signposted Limerick City Centre)
- At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445
- And at the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445 (signposted Limerick).
- Continue forward onto Ennis Road – R445
- At Coonagh Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445 (signposted City Centre, Dublin N7)
- At traffic signals continue forward onto Ennis Road – R857
- The Gaelic Grounds will be on your left.
Coming from Dublin isn’t too bad – it’s motorway the whole way – so when you get to Limerick, stay on the motorway and just follow the signs for Galway until you see the sign for Thomond Park/Gaelic Grounds on your left.
Parking is difficult, as there is very little near the ground. We have been advised that parking in housing estates is not wise -there is a danger of clamping so best to stick to the official (or indeed, unofficial) car parks, listed below:
Car Parks In Limerick
- Arthurs Quay car park: Sunday 10am to 8pm.
- Aviary car park: 24hrs. Dock Sd behind Domino’s Pizza.
- Barringtons car park: 7am to 7pm. Sheep St, beside Barringtons hospital.
- City Centre car park: Thomas St.
- Cornmarket Square car park: Upper Denmark St.
- Ellen St car park: Ellen St.
- Euro Car park: Charlotte’s Quay.
- Howley’s multi story car park: Henry St.
- Q-Park car park: Denmark St.
- Q-Park Harvey’s Quay: Henry St.
- Steamboat Quay car park: Steamboat Quay, Dock Rd.
- Summer Street Car Park: Summer St.
- The Potato Market car park: Merchant’s Quay.
- Also consider the Jetland Shopping Centre car park (Dunnes/Woodies) on the Ennis Road (take the exit for Caherdavin),
- Tesco at Coonagh Cross just off the Ennis Road – both are 10-15 minutes walk to the ground.
- Update: Na Piarsaigh GAA club is located close (1km) to the Gaelic Grounds and is opening up their parking (and bar) facilities. There are roughly 50 spaces – first come, first served.
- Update: Limerick Institute of Technology on Cratloe Rd, will be open for parking (at a fee) from approximately 2pm on Saturday. LIT Campus is a 3 – 5 minute walk from the Gaelic Grounds.
- Update: Limerick Camogie are opening a car park at Coonagh – €5 parking
- Update: Shannon RFC will have limited secure parking in Thomand Park which is 10 min walk from the Gaelic Grounds. The bar in the clubhouse will be open for the day.
Here are the car park locations in Limerick in relation to the Gaelic Grounds (click on map to view full screen)
Car parks near the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Other things to note:
- Update: The Limerick Pride Parade takes place at 2pm on Saturday in the city and there will be rolling road closures along the route from 1.30pm. It’ll be a riot of colour and fun so if you’re in the city be sure to try and catch it.
- Update: UL Graduation Ceremonies are also taking place over the weekend, so there is likely to be some extra traffic around the city there too.
- Update: We have it on good authority that Corrib Oil in Gort are offering free tea/coffee for drivers with their Mayo colours on- another reason to festoon yourselves in green and red!
- Update: No need to worry about the road works between Ardrahan and Kilcolgan – Galway County Council have confirmed that the road will be fully open.
- Update: Traffic notice from Limerick City Council: “Limerick City & County Council wish to advise Motorists, Road Users and Match Attendants (sic) that local traffic and parking prohibitions and road closures will operate on the Ennis Road (R857) and adjacent to the Gaelic Grounds on the Ennis Road, Limerick from 2pm on Saturday 30th August 2014. Match attendants are strongly advised to travel early and to park on and off street in and adjacent to the city centre and to allow ample time to walk to the Gaelic Grounds. Special off street match parking tariffs including overnight parking will be available at city centre car parks. Match attendants are advised that obstructive vehicle parking will be subject to tow away operations.
Park & Ride In Limerick
This is a facility run by Limerick Park and Ride (Mike Hynan Coaches) where you can leave your car at a hotel and get a shuttle bus to the Gaelic Grounds – handy if you don’t want the hassle of finding parking near the grounds. Parking is free at all three hotels, and seats on the buses are allocated on a first come, first served basis – so again, get there early, grab a bite to eat and hop on.
- For those of you coming from Mayo direction, the Radisson Hotel service on the Ennis Road will start at 2pm. Cost: €6 return.
- For those coming from Dublin, the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel Dublin Rd. from 2pm, return straight after match. Cost: €6 return
- And for those of you making the trip from the south,Woodlands House Hotel Adare leaves at 3pm, return straight after match. But beware, you’re likely to be outnumbered by the Yerras! Cost: €10 return.
Please Note: Wheelchair accessible transport must be pre-booked – you can call Hynan Coaches on 061 381700 or email them here.
Update: Durty Nelly’s Park and Ride
This sounds like something else altogether, but lest there be any doubt, it’s a pub, offering transport to the game! There will be buses leaving Durty Nelly’s Pub at Bunratty Castle from 2.30 to 3.30pm, dropping off at Ivan’s, close to the Gaelic Grounds, and pick-up at the designated area. Price: €15 return and this includes a main course (Burger & Chips, Fish & Chips or Cajun Chicken). No booking is required, and the meal can be claimed before or after the game. Tickets for the park and ride service on sale in Durty Nelly’s on the day.
Update: Park and Ride from the City Centre:
Bus Eireann are running shuttle buses from the Limerick Bus Station on Parnell St. and from Henry St (near Dunnes Stores). These will run from approx. 2pm.
Travelling by Bus?
Please note: There are lots of private operators departing on Saturday and offering good deals direct to Limerick. Mayo Club ’51 strongly advises that you contact the bus operators directly first to book and confirm times of departure.
- TMG Transport : Leaving The Gateway Swinford Contact 094 9252156 or 087-8505045
- Corduff Travel : travelling from Belmullet & Ballina. Contact 097-88949
- Update: Treacy Coaches : Leaving Ballina at 12pm. Booking essential – Contact 096-22563
- Gillespie Coaches : Leaving Crossmolina 11am & stopping in Ballina. Contact 085-7646523
- Malachy Gaughan Coaches : Leaving Belmullet. Contact 097 81243
- Update: Lavan Coaches Kiltimagh – Buses departing from Post Office, Kiltimagh at 1pm and returning after the game. Booking essential – contact 086 867 6737 or 087 260 8852.
- Update: Moran’s Coaches, Ballyhaunis – leaving the Square in Ballyhaunis at 11.45am, €15 return. Booking advised – call 094 9630346.
- Update: Melletts Bus Swinford – Leaving Melletts pub Swinford at 11am sharp, booking advised, only 8 seats left – call 087 2573752.
- Bus Eireann – best to give them a call about Expressway services, or check out their timetables online.
If you’re aware of any other operators going from Mayo, please get in touch with details and we’ll add them in.
- Dublin Coach – departs hourly from D’Olier St from 06.45 daily, and returns hourly on the half hour from Limerick City Centre (Arthur’s Quay) until for €20 return, but the last bus leaves at 20.45.
- JJ Kavanagh Coaches – depart frequently from Dublin – but again, you won’t get the last bus on Saturday as it leaves at 17.15. Call 0818 333222 for details.
- Bus leaving from Carrick-on-Shannon early on Saturday morning. Call Mary Keenan on 0872073633 for further details.
Travelling By Train?
Train transport down the west coast isn’t exactly the best, but there are options.. Don’t even attempt to go from Mayo by train, but from other places, it might be worth considering. Irish Rail are offering special fares on their website as follows:
- From €5.99* each way from Galway, Oranmore and Athenry
- From €9.99* each way from Banteer
- From €10.99* each way from Milstreet and Rathmore
- From €11.99* each way from Killarney
- From €12.99* each way from Farranfore
- From €13.99* each way from Tralee
- From €14.99* each way from Dublin
Update: Extra Train to the All-Ireland Football Semi-Final Replay in Limerick
- Depart Galway 12.15hrs
- Oranmore: 12.24hrs
- Athenry: 2.35hrs
- Arr. Limerick 14.04hrs
Return train departs Limerick at 20.25hrs (8.25pm)
There is free parking in Oranmore Train Station for those who take the train (140 spaces). If any of you do decide to take the train, and manage to avail of the fares above, let us know!
Book on this page.
Travelling By Air?
Bringing your own plane? Hey, there’s always one! If you are planning on bringing your private jet, give these guys a call!
We hate to break it to you, but you’ve left it a bit late to sort out your accommodation if you want to stay in Limerick on Saturday night. You’ll be doing well to find somewhere to lay your head at this point, especially as half of Croke Park had their beds booked from their smartphones before leaving the ground on Sunday, but other options worth considering are breaking the journey and stopping off in Ennis or Galway and making a night of it.
Gaelic Grounds seating plan (click on map to view full screen)
Gaelic Grounds Seating Plan
If you haven’t got a season ticket, or obtained one through your club, there are still some available online here, for collection at the Gaelic Grounds – but you’ll need to move quickly. If you’re looking to buy, sell, or swap, use our ticket swap forum on our website (you’ll need to register first). Alternatively, contact us on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll do our best to help you out,.
If there’s anything we haven’t included here, get in touch with us and we’ll add it in. If you have time, do try and get to see a bit of Limerick City, and we’d highly recommend the famous Milk Market on Mungret St. for a wander and a bite to eat before the game (it’s open from 8am – 3pm).
MAKE SURE YOU USE THE BATHROOM. We cannot emphasise this enough.
Heading back to Mayo, we’ve been told that the Cratloe road (past LIT) is a good rat run – at Cratloe you can get back onto the N18. Narrow road in parts, so please be careful.
Once again, don’t forget your colours – display them with pride. Warm up the voices to replicate the fierce support you gave the team last Sunday.
And for God’s sake don’t forget the tae and sangwidges.
And as always, Bring the Colour and Bring the Noise!
Alternative transport to Croke Park this Sunday 24th of August.
As you probably know by now, there is threatened industrial action by Iarnród Éireann workers this weekend the 24th & 25th of August. This makes transport to Croke Park this Sunday all the more difficult for travelling supporters, both from Mayo and Kerry. Services affected include Intercity, DART and commuter routes.
If you are intending on driving to Croke Park next Sunday, please remember that there is very limited parking around the stadium. The area is monitored by Dublin City Council Parking Enforcement and illegally parked cars may be clamped or towed away. There are numerous car parks nearby however, including O’Connell School on the North Circular Road, Clonliffe College on Clonliffe Road, the Mater Hospital car park on Eccles street, just off Dorset Street. There are also plenty of city centre car parks, some of which run special offers on match days – just check out the link here:
Full list of car parks near Croke Park.
Via Mayo GAA – Euro Car Parks Special Match Day Offer of €6 (Book in advance)
Euro Car Parks, Ireland’s leading car parking operator, today announced details of its €6 match day parking offer which will allow GAA fans travelling from Mayo and Kerry book their Croke Park car parking spaces in advance on www.eurocarparks.ie.
The new service is available at the Mater Car Park, the closest official car park to the stadium, with all day parking available for only €6. For many Mayo fans the victory over Cork in the quarter- final was marred by discovering their cars clamped when they left the stadium. The online booking service was launched two weeks ago and so far hundreds of GAA fans from all over the country have availed of the offer and booked on www.eurocarparks.ie.
Fans are advised to book early for this weekend to avoid disappointment as there are only 400 guaranteed spaces available.
View AA Roadwatch match day information.
If you are driving to the match this Sunday please also think about car pooling (and please feel free to post on our Facebook page or mention us on twitter using the hashtag #mayogaalifts if looking for or offering seats!). If driving it’s wise to allow plenty of time for travelling as there will be various delays on the road to Croke Park on Sunday (as if it wasn’t hard enough!)
- The Ballaghderren by-pass is nearing completion and has traffic lights on both ends.
- The annual Longford mini marathon will be taking place on Sunday morning and expect lengthy delays both sides of Longford town. Marathon will start at 8.30am with the wheelchair participants starting at 9.45am. The Marathon is due to finish at approx 4pm Sunday afternoon.
- There will be road closures on the Chapelizod road in Dublin from 7am to 1pm on Sunday morning. (Thanks to @dochreidte for info)
Bus operators providing transport to Croke Park this Sunday 24th
Please note: There are lots of private operators departing on Sunday and offering good deals direct to Drumcondra. Mayo Club ’51 strongly advises that you contact the bus operators directly first to book and confirm times of departure.
- TMG Transport : Leaving The Gateway Swinford @8 AM. Contact 094 9252156 or 087-8505045
- Corduff Travel : travelling from Belmullet & Ballina. Contact 097-88949
- Treacy Coaches : Leaving Ballina @7.30 AM. Contact 096-22563
- Gillespie Coaches : Leaving Crossmolina & Ballina. Contact 085-7646523
- Malachy Gaughan Coaches : Leaving Belmullet. Contact 097 81243
If there’s anything we haven’t included here, get in touch with us and we’ll add it in.
Regardless of whether you’re driving, bus-ing, cycling, hitching or just good old-fashioned jet-packing it, be sure to have your colours on display en route and your voices in warm-up mode. And don’t forget the tae and sangwidges.
Safe travels to all of you making the journey and arrive alive!
Kenneth Conway is our latest contributor to our “Nostalgia Week”. I’ve just this second made that up, but it works. So it’s Nostalgia Week from now on. Take it away Kenny!
I’m a 19 year old and for someone of such a young age I have seen and been at an amount of Mayo games you would need a few sets of hands to count and even then you might need an extra hand or two. I have been going to Mayo matches for the last 10 years or more. In 2004 I went to my first All Ireland Final and that was an experience in itself and I am going to tell you a little bit about the experience in the lead up to it and after the match itself.
At that time it was a week or so off my 10th birthday and I remember I kept asking my dad to bring me to Croke Park for the final but he kept saying no that it was too expensive. So me like most children when they didn’t get their way went to their bedroom and sulked. Little did I know he had actually got tickets for us both.
It was the night before the final and I went to my room and there it was right in front of the telly was a ticket and I felt as if I was after getting the golden ticket like Charlie from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My parents were in the sitting room which was directly below my bedroom and I’d safely say they thought I would come through the ceiling with the way I was jumping for joy.
I remember running down the stairs and going straight over to my dad giving him the biggest hug. I was absolutely ecstatic at the fact that I had got a ticket after asking him over and over again to get me one and him repeatedly telling me no.
My dad soon told me to go and get my jersey and flag ready for the morning and head straight to bed as it was going to be an early start in the morning. I ran straight back up to my room got my jersey and flag ready and jumped into bed. Tried as I might I just couldn’t get to sleep that night with the excitement of going to my 1st All Ireland Final. I know I was already in Croke Park previous to the final but this time was different as it was going to be my 1st final.
The big day came and we headed up to Dublin. So eventually we got there found a parking spot and made our way to Croke Park. Walking up Jones’ Road is another experience in itself being among tens of thousands of people who are all there for the same thing you are.
We finally got inside and made our way to our seat. The teams came out done their warm ups , had their photo’s taken , had the team talk and stand and face the flags for Amhrán na bhFiann. With all of these out of the way it was game time.
As we all know it didn’t end up being our day like it has every year we have been in a final since then and we suffer heart ache each year. For me as a 9 year old yes I was obviously disappointed that Mayo didn’t win but at the same time I was so happy that I was able to see an All Ireland Final for the 1st time.
Since then I have been to every final Mayo have been in and many a match since and hopefully I will be at another final this year and many more finals and matches in years to come.
Maigh Eo Abú !
In the next of our series of guest posts, we’d like to welcome Shamrocks (yes, of course that’s his real name) to the hot seat to take us on a journey from past to present. For those of you who remember ’89, this will bring back some magic memories.
An unorthodox Mayo man of sorts, born in England and brought up in a rural north Wicklow village ’til I was 11 years of age, before moving to the homeland of Mayo. My father was a native of Achill Island, it was there we spent most of our holidays as kids. It was always Mayo from day one, it was part of who we were and the county team was where I identified my connection to the place that will always be home.
My first memory was the old Salthill in 1984, travelling down with my comrade and chauffeur, my father. This is where it all began , the adventure of the journey down west, the anticipation of seeing the flags out of the car windows and then to the climax of seeing the footballers of Mayo run onto the pitch. Unfortunately we lost out to Galway on that day. My memories of the game itself are not too clear, I was only 6/7 years of age I suppose, but it’s amazing how silly things remain in the head, like only knowing the name of Willie Joe 😀
The years went on and the same journey was taken. ’85 I got to see them lift the Nestor Cup in Hyde Park; that was special but again too young to really take it in . ’87 seems a lot clearer, a really low-scoring game against Galway in Castlebar, but another defeat.
1989 is where it really comes alive for me.
We as a family had moved down home at last, to a rural village in east Mayo, Kilmovee, where my grandmother came from on my mother’s side. The first game against Galway in Tuam. We never won there (at the time) so a draw was a mighty return and we easily did the business in Castlebar in the replay, McHale and Larry with the goals. Next it was the Rossies and another draw, the replay was epic and no Mayo supporter of my age or older will ever forget Jimmy Burke’s goal in extra time. Hyde park erupted into an explosion of green and red; it was just priceless. The semi v Tyrone was of course the first time a lot of Mayo supporters ever seen Mayo win in Croke park in senior championship including father/mother and daughter/son generation. I suppose it was a bit like what winning the All-Ireland would be like now. The weeks leading up to the final were indescribable in terms of excitement – all the towns were decked out, the songs were released. As a child, the memories are of sheer happiness, the crowds at Knock airport to see our heroes off, running after the team coach with my new school mates from Tavrane NS through the thousands of fans singing ‘Willie Joe, Willie Joe’’ – it is just something that will stay with me forever.
What a journey we have had since. The losing of finals down the years is what everyone likes to throw at us and of course it has been disappointing but is there any Mayo supporter out there who would swap all those journeys we have had in 89/96/97/04/06/12/13 for some form of mediocrity like the vast majority of counties experience ?
We are now in a phase where we have reached the last two finals and are about to contest our fourth semi-final on the trot. People are getting uptight about where we are at – have we still a chance or are we burnt out as a unit? There is a sense of supporters being divided on aspects of what should have happened in finals and other issues. The truth is nobody really knows, we can all guess but let’s be real, everyone has one thing in common – we all want the same thing.
So let’s get behind our bucks the next day in Croke park against Kerry, and roar them on. We are favourites with the bookies to beat Kerry in an all Ireland semi-final. Don’t be frightened by it, embrace it. Horan, Buckley, Prendergast and the panel have earned the fucking right to be a top team, now let us act the same, and fill her up with green and red!
Welcoming long-time Mayo GAA fan and one of the most dedicated supporters we’ve ever met, Clíona O’Gara from Charlestown to the Club ’51 hot seat. Cliona sums up below how most of us feel when it comes to following the team, through thick and thin, from winter to summer.
There are days when being a Mayo GAA fan seems like the ultimate punishment for something you thought you didn’t deserve. Those moments after an All-Ireland final defeat when you feel like you’ve done something horrendous in another life to feel such gut-wrenching pain and heartache. That horrible pain you get when looking around Croke Park at the opposition’s fans celebrating, and thinking “this can’t be happening again”. Facing that dreadful journey down the motorway, seeing car flags on the road ahead, meeting other MO reg cars at the toll and everyone giving a sympathetic smile to everyone else. Stopping in Supermac’s in Longford, meeting more grieving fans and dissecting every ounce of the game with a complete stranger. Getting home, torturing yourself by watching the Sunday Game and going to bed thinking of what could have been.
But even though being a Mayo fan has carried heartache on the third Sunday in September, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. We have a lot more good days than bad. I love the feeling when waking up on a cold, January Sunday morning and heading for an FBD game in Ballyhaunis or Ballinlough dressed from head to toe in your winter woollies. You look around and spot the usual 20 people that you know you’re gonna see at the rest of the games in every part of the country. You soon forget about the previous year and what might have been, and focus on what might be, and the blood starts pumping for a new season. The league flies by and before we know it, were wearing short sleeves and anticipating the championship. There’s no feeling like going to a championship game. Hearing the roars of the fans, feeling the shivers run down your spine when the National Anthem is playing, seeing those fans that have come late and cursing them for standing in front of you, but most importantly being there. Being there to watch your team, your county, your lads that you feel like you know personally from following them on twitter to Croker.
Yes, not every day is a good one being a Mayo GAA fan but the good ones are nothing short of great. No, we haven’t landed that ultimate prize,; no, we haven’t seen our boys walk the Hogan stand and lift that cup we desire so much, but we will. In the meantime, we continue to get behind the team that has given us so many hours of enjoyment and entertainment. Mayo are very close to landing that prize and there will be a time when that final whistle will go in Croke Park and we will be All Ireland Senior Champions. We will experience that feeling that I’m pretty sure compares with nothing else for a GAA fan. We will cheer down the motorway, we will forget about our chips in Longford so we can get to Castlebar as quickly as possible and most of all, the journey of heartache over the years will all be forgotten.We won’t hold any grudges.
2014 may just be that year. Maybe.