Ciaran McDonald appears on Second Captains Live

Ciaran McDonald appears on Second Captains Live

A quick one for you all of you who might not be on social media.

The word “legend” is bandied around all too frequently, but when it comes to Ciaran McDonald, it’s a label that has been well and truly earned.

The great man himself will be appearing live tomorrow night (Wednesday 8th April) on popular sports TV show Second Captains, which airs at 10pm on RTE 2. The Second Captains lads are renowned for their great interviews so this will undoubtedly be unmissable TV.

Ciaran McDonald on Second Captains Live

Make sure to clear your diaries and get yourself in front of the TV screens for 10pm, and in the meantime, here’s a small reminder of the brilliance of Ciaran Mac.


Cork Here We Come

Cork Here We Come

We’re off on the road again, Cork here we come!

Cork GAA crest

Mayo GAA crestWe’re off on our travels again, this time to Páirc Úi Rínn in the “People’s Republic of Cork”!  The last time Mayo played Cork (it was in Páirc Úi Caoimh) was back in 2013 in round 7 of the league (where we won by a point, 0-10 to 0-11). Who remembers Cillian’s 2 cracking frees from each of the sidelines? Mayo Club ’51 will of course be making the long journey south, some of us will be travelling down on Saturday and others on Sunday morning.

Please note that the game throws in at the earlier time of 2 pm (which, by the way will be summertime as the clocks go forward an hour on Saturday! So don’t be late for the match or Mass either!). The referee for this match will be Eddie Kinsella, who will hopefully have a good day at the office! Tickets for this match will also be slightly dearer at €20 (because of the hurling). Make sure to avail of the €5 discount by purchasing before the day.

green and red Mayo car

Some of the Mayo faithful getting ready to hit the road. They do this for every game, you know

Getting There and Parking

  • 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.

Bus Travel 

  • There’s a bus leaving from Shrule/Glencorrib on Sunday  –  contact Tom Sheridan on 087 925 6326 for details.
  • Our friends in the The Sea Rod Inn Doohoma are organising their customary bus on the day, leaving at 7.30 am – Call Barrett Coaches on 097 83544 for details.
  • We’ve no knowledge of anyone organising a bus from Dublin though we’ve been contacted by a few people enquiring about same. If you’re interested in organising a bus or travelling on one, or indeed doing some car pooling, please leave a comment below.


  • Most people traveling down to Cork the day before will have already booked accommodation. However if you haven’t booked yet, you might still be in luck!  A Mayo supporter has informed us that they have an apartment available for this Saturday night in Cork. It sleeps 6 and is €250 for the night. If you are interested, or if you know anyone who may be, drop us a line and hopefully you’ll be sorted out!

On the Town

  • If there are any of you planning on travelling to Cork on Saturday, we will be having the now customary Club ’51 meetup in the Mutton Inn on Mutton Lane, beside the English Market. Visit their page here;
  • Anyone that likes some “Blues” music, you won’t be disappointed in Cork! We’ve been told there’s a great band called “The Watermelons” playing in Charlies Bar, 2 Union Quay on Saturday night that are well worth a listen!
  • Philip Gillivan from Westport has a pub in MacCurtain St Cork called the Shelbourne Bar. Anyone on match day before or after the match who is wearing a Mayo Jersey/t shirt and producing a match ticket will get a free pint of Heineken. Up Mayo!
  • Taxis : 
    • 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


  • As it’s an away game, 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 noisy sea of green and red.
Marvellous Minors

Marvellous Minors

Stephen Coen on the train to Mayo with the Tom Markham Cup

2013 Minor Captain Stephen Coen brings the Tom Markham Cup home. Pic: Mayo GAA

While down the years, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the drought that has befallen the Mayo senior footballers when it comes to All-Ireland titles, there’s a bunch of young guns on the way up the ranks who are no stranger to the winning mindset.

The Mayo minors throw in their season this Saturday 14th March with an away game against Roscommon, and manager Enda Gilvarry and his backroom team will be no doubt eager to build on the success of his last couple of years at the helm, which has seen more than one trip to Croke Park and a very memorable trip back west with the Tom Markham Cup in 2013.

Some of the faces from that magic year are appearing in the senior panel, including captain Stephen Coen who has already made his mark on the squad. The future looks bright, but what’s it like from the point of view of those who are shaping that future?

As our marvellous minors prepare to challenge again in 2015, Club 51’s intrepid reporter Mayo Mark caught up with Enda recently to get his take on the year ahead.

 Mark: Can you give us a bit of background on your GAA playing and managerial career?

 Enda: I started off with Ballina Stephenites, I came up through the underage ranks there although I’m from Killala, but that’s a longer story! I won most of the county titles at the time that were available and played with some fantastic footballers who went on to play for the county. In ’85 and ’87 I was involved with the teams that won the senior championships.  I played football in Boston one summer and won a Boston Championship there which I’m very proud of as it was the only time I played with one of my brothers. We come from a huge footballing family with a large involvement with Mayo football – something that I’m very proud of.

I started managing Ballina minors in 1999 and won a County “A” title. In 2003 I managed the senior team in Ballina and won the county senior title. I moved to Killala and started to manage them in 2008 where we won the county and Connacht junior titles. I stayed with Killala for a few years and became the Mayo minor selector in 2012, took over as manager at the start of 2013 and I’m still here.

That’s a pretty comprehensive CV and with plenty more in the tank?

Well please God! I don’t play golf or have any other hobby. It’s the one thing that gets me out of the house and keeps me young.

Mayo Minor Football Manager Enda Gilvarry

Mayo Minor Football Manager Enda Gilvarry on All-Ireland Final Day, 2013. Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Can you talk us through the highs and lows of the 2013 season?

Look, it was a fantastic experience – something I really enjoyed and looking back I think that was part and parcel of the success. As a management team we enjoyed it and I think the players enjoyed it as well and that allowed them to express themselves. It’s a special time when a group of players, managers and any support group from the county board and so on to gel.

Towards the end of the year all we had to do was hand out the jersies, the players deserve a huge amount of credit because they took a huge mantle of leadership.

Some really special characters and some really special memories.

Last year saw another Connacht Championship and a couple of great victories. Can you expand on 2014?

Yeah, Last year was another rollercoaster of a year. We tried an awful lot of players and didn’t get a steady team together until the championship. That resulted in our league position not being as good as it could have been, yet in all of those games we lost by only one or two points, and in each one felt we could have won the game. So, I always knew that there was potential within the championship group. It took us a long time to deliver on that potential but once we beat Galway in Tuam we blossomed from there.

Ultimately in the All-Ireland semi-final, Cian Hanley’s injury and a little bit of disruption through sickness in the camp maybe cost us a little bit. But we also have to remember that we came up against an extremely good Kerry team who showed in the final how strong and competitive they were.

In terms of management and coaching approach, do you have any outside inspiration or favourite coach from any code?

You’ll always get bits and pieces from everywhere. Hugely impressed with Brian Cody’s record, people like Alex Ferguson, and even the way Brendan Rodgers approached last year (with Liverpool) with their style of football and positivity and getting the best out of a limited enough squad was impressive in itself. Closer to home, our own Strength and Conditioning coach James Mitchell in is second to none.

Could you give us an insight as to what’s involved in the background to running a team like the Mayo minors?

The preparation for the Mayo minor time would start… I think I was at trials less than 3 weeks after the All-Ireland final in 2013 preparing for 2014. The U17 academy will train through most of the winter doing strength and conditioning indoors and some of those young men will progress onto the Mayo minors which starts officially on the 1st February, but a lot of background work will have gone on to prepare for that.

Once that kicks off, between our own training sessions and club underage games, travelling to senior games where minors could be playing – that’s a 5 day a week job. Then  analysing videos of ourselves, videos of opposition, it really becomes a 7 day a week job and that goes on right until the end. It is a very demanding job for all of the management but not only for us –  it’s also demanding on our families. Thankfully they are very accommodating on that!

 In terms of the players, 16, 17, 18 years old is an important time in a young man’s life with school and so on. What kind of effort do those lads put in?

The Mayo minors celebrate after beating Roscommon in the Connacht MFC in MacHale Park, July 2014. Pic: Sportsfile

The Mayo minors celebrate after beating Roscommon in the Connacht MFC in MacHale Park, July 2014. Pic: Sportsfile

Oh, huge. Huge. We outline what’s expected of them almost on a daily basis for them to be competitive in inter-county minor football. But we are also mindful that they have their school demands, their school football demands, club demands, and most importantly a lot of them will be doing their Leaving Cert.

We find the most important thing is the structure and in many ways the Mayo minors actually helps them in that regard. With the size of the county you have some lads who leave school, come to training, go home and it’s time for bed.

That’s a huge commitment, not only from themselves but also from their family who have to buy into that.

Right, as a supporters group, we’re looking for brutal honesty here. What kind of effect can supporters have, both positive and negative, on the outcome of any game?

 Those of us who were on the field in 2013 when the final whistle went and Mayo Minors were victorious, nobody can underestimate what that meant to the Mayo public and the Mayo support and the feeling that it gave us all. That group of young men know what it means to win an All-Ireland in front of 40,000 supporters. Hopefully when they get that chance again they’ll remember what it was like because they have done it in front of a packed crowd. If and when they win the seniors there will not be a better reaction. That in itself will serve as a huge memory for those young men, and some older men as well!

There’s no doubt that the tighter games we’ve had, especially against Galway, and the days in Croke Park when the seniors are there behind us, it’s a fantastic place to be and a fantastic county to represent and a fantastic support to have. One memory of 2014 was of a spontaneous pitch invasion after the Connacht Final. I don’t remember that happening before and I like to think that was a mark of the football we played in the last 10 minutes and the excitement it generated.

I don’t find any pressure from the supporters and I hope the lads don’t find any pressure. I think it’s a hugely positive thing.

 There’s a huge challenge for a player to bridge the gap between minor and U21 to senior. What are the main challenges, do you think, in that regard?

 If you look at the calibre of player and the condition of the Mayo Senior team at the moment, to expect a minor, or a 19 or 20 year old to step up to that level easily or quickly is unrealistic. We can only play our part to developing them to a certain extent to indoctrinate them into how important intercounty football is and the work levels that are required at that standard. Then the U21 and the senior academies take over.

You know, the expectation is there that, just because a minor All-Ireland was won, that it’s going to be easy and the players are just going to be there going forward. Without the structures being put in place – the strength and conditioning, the fitness programmes – realistic development opportunities within the senior structure and the U21 structure , those chances, like many before, are going to filter away. I like what I have heard about a group of young men being brought into a senior strength and conditioning programme as a development.  I like the structures that have been put in place to monitor injuries, to recover and rehabilitate properly and the procedures in strength and conditioning to prevent injuries. I think that is hugely important and something we have tried to buy into in the minor team.

 As a supporter, do you have any fond memories yourself of following the Mayo senior team?

I remember back to the late 70’s and early 80’s when winning Connacht or  an All-Ireland Semi-final was beyond us.  I’d go all the way back to 1989 and winning the All-Ireland semi-final. Obviously that was my first time seeing Mayo in an All-Ireland final. No more than anyone else there’s a real frustration when losing when there seems to be no apparent reason. All this stuff about curses drives me absolutely mad.

I spoke about my family history in football. That came from the ’48-’51 era and those young men who won those All-Irelands were in no way special. They were no different to ourselves, only that they had a mentality that nobody else was better than them. I have the mentality that nobody is better than Mayo and that on any given day, Mayo men can take on anyone and when circumstances are right and things go right for us we will win it.

 How do you fancy our chances this year in the senior championship, and what do you think of the appointment of Noel and Pat?

 I’d be very excited and delighted for Noel and Pat and I think that they will bring an awful lot of experience and stability to the Mayo team again. James Horan did a fantastic job after 4 years but it’s no harm that a new voice has come in and it might give a fresh impetus. The senior team have worked extremely hard.  Pat and Noel will have to balance things with bringing in new players and balancing that with maintaining the standards that the team has set over the past number of years. There’s no doubt it’s a hard job. Success for the next year will be winning an All Ireland. Anything else… It’s a tough job that they’ve accepted.

 Do you follow any other sports besides GAA?

 If there was a round or oval ball and people chasing it I’d watch it. I love all sports from football to badminton. I’d even watch cricket! But I very seldom get the opportunity between work and the Mayo minors there isn’t that much time.

Enda, thanks a million for giving us your time. Before we let you go, can you give us your own sporting predictions for the year ahead?


All Ireland Hurling? Kilkenny

FA Cup? Hmmm … Man City

FAI Cup? Shamrock Rovers .. A Dublin club will win it

Rugby WC? Australia

Superbowl: Wouldn’t have a clue! Apart from the New England Patriots

Wimbledon: Murray will come back …

Thanks to Enda from all at Club ’51 and wishing the management team and of course the marvellous minors another great year ahead. We’ve had nothing but pleasure following these lads since 2013 with an All-Ireland and 2 Connacht Titles to celebrate. The Mayo minors travel to take on Roscommon in Kiltoom this Saturday at 2pm.

EDIT (REPOST): Best of luck to the lads in their first Championship outing this year as they look to join the seniors in Hyde Park on the 19th June. They play Galway at MacHale Park this Saturday evening.


A tight-knit group. The 2013 minors gather before beating Monaghan in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Pic: MayoGAABlog

Derry, Here We Come

Derry, Here We Come

And we’re off again….. Derry, here we come!

We’re off on our travels again, this time to Celtic Park in Derry at the other end of the Island. The last time we played Derry in Celtic Park was back in 2010 in round 4 of the league (where we won by a goal, 2-12 to 1-12)Mayo Club ’51 will of course be making the journey north, some of us will be travelling up on Saturday and others on Sunday morning. The game throws in at 2.30pm and the referee is Ulsterman Ciaran Branagan, who will hopefully have a good day at the office!

Mayo car green and red ford fiesta

This isn’t actually our car, despite its regular appearance on this website. If this is your car, get in touch!

Getting There and Parking

celtic park derry

Celtic Park, Derry. Green and red, a grand-looking spot

  • We’ll leave you to find the ground using our map below, but by all accounts it’s easy to get to. Parking is not too bad at all around Celtic Park – there is plenty of on-street parking within walking distance. No concerns there whatsoever! This is all sounding very easy.
  • Anyone travelling in from the Letterkenny side will come in by the Brandywell, home of Derry City Football Club which is located beside Celtic Park. There is parking along this area. People travelling through Strabane will come in towards the city centre but turn left at the first bridge across the Foyle. You will come down by the Bogside.
  • If coming via Dublin you will arrive on the other side of the river. Cross the Craigavon bridge then at the end take a left, you can then travel to the lights, a left turn or straight on will give you a space near the ground.

Bus Travel

  • Our friends in the The Sea Rod Inn Doohoma are organising their customary bus on the day – contact Barrett Coaches 09783544 or Sean MC on 0851698851 for details.
  • Corduff Travel will be leaving from Westport and have package deals – contact them on 097 88949.
  • TMG Transport will be leaving Swinford, (details to follow) – contact them on 094 9044534.
  • There’s a bus leaving from Shrule/Glencorrib on Sunday too –  contact Tom Sheridan on 087 925 6326 for details.
  • We’ve no knowledge of anyone organising a bus from Dublin though we’ve been contacted by a few people enquiring about same. If you’re interested in organising a bus or travelling on one, or indeed doing some car pooling, please leave a comment below. Otherwise the 6am from Busáras is your best bet (there’s a 10am too that arrives in Derry at 2pm but you may be cutting it fine …). Timetable here.


  • Most people traveling up to Derry the night before will have already booked accommodation. However if you haven’t booked yet, you might still be in luck! We have found this site here offering discounts to travelling supporters, Derry GAA Hotel Offers – quote “Visit Derry GAA 2015″ at time of booking.
  • Our spies have informed us that The Drummond Hotel in Ballykelly which is about 13 miles from Derry are doing a special rate for Mayo supporters too.
  • And the Waterfoot Hotel is a nice spot with a few Mayo heads already booked in.

On the town

  • If there is anyone staying in Limavady on the Saturday night make sure to call into Frank Owens’ Bar on Main Street, where they will have music and a FREE BBQ!! for all Mayo fans! Club 51 will be heading out from Derry in that direction along with what we hear half of Ballintubber and Claremorris, and it promises to be a great night. Visit their facebook page here:
  • For those of you heading for town, Granny Annie’s Bar is a good spot.
  • Taxis: 
    • City Cabs are a reliable taxi firm can be contacted on 028 7126 4466 or e-mail
    • Limavady Taxi 02877768822,
    • Bells Taxi 02877763929,
    • Valley Cabs 02877722888,
    • Alpha Taxi 02877769880.
    • And if anyone is ringing from the Republic in advance to book then dial 048 instead of 028!

Sunday Meet-up 

(This is the part you’ve  been waiting for, right?)

  • We usually have our regular meet-up on the morning of a match. There are not many hostelries around Celtic Park, the Bogside Inn a ten-minute walk way is the closest and that’s where we’re heading. Doors are open from 11.30am (unlike in Newbridge last year, we actually checked!) and there will be red and green (and black and lime) jerseys congregating there from 12pm – be sure and join us. Map below:


  • As it’s an away game, 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 their first proper airing this year, so help us out, bring your own and let’s make that stand a noisy sea of green and red.

Safe travelling and see you there! 

  • PS: A sincere thank you to the very sound Niamh Morley, Joe Passmore, Jarlath Eoin and Mayo GAA for the helpful information. We’ll be updating as we hear more so check back often!
Mayo v Derry April 2014

Tom Parsons reaches for the ball as Mayo defeat a second-string Derry team in Castlebar in 2014. Andy Moran meanwhile has spotted a UFO over MacHale Park. Pic:

New Season Ticket Self Scanning

New Season Ticket Self Scanning

New season ticket self scanning for all Cairde Mhaigheo and Croke Park season tickets.

Season ticket self scanning information for Mayo and Dublin supporters. On Sunday, All Cairde Mhaigh Eo card holders and Croke Park Season Ticket holders will enter through stiles 1 -8 as normal. However from this Sunday, self-scanning is being introduced, meaning that you – yes YOU – will be responsible for scanning your own season ticket. Which means no blaming anyone else if your attendance record fails to update …

So here’s how it will work:  Once patrons enter the stile they will swipe their card through a card reader which will allow access while also automatically uploading their attendance. Stewards will be stationed at each of the new season ticket self scanning turnstiles to assist patrons.

mayo gaa season ticket self scanning


Why is this happening? Croke Park announced earlier this year that they would be rolling out new systems to all GAA grounds around the country. This would obviously be on a phased basis and it seems that MacHale Park in Castlebar is the first GAA ground in line for the technological upgrade! We for one welcome our new technological overlords and when supporters scan their season tickets in the new scanners, as well as granting access through the stile, your attendance will also be recorded and automatically uploaded to Croke Park. This should mean that your attendance will be updated as soon as your season ticket is scanned, the same as what happens in Croke Park upon entry. Hopefully this should put an end to the numerous problems supporters encountered last year with their tickets not being scanned correctly and their attendance not being updated.

Mayo Club 51 strongly recommends that all supporters get to MacHale Park in plenty of time on Saturday. As with any new system, it will be new to everyone and while hopefully there will be minimal traffic jams, with the amount of season ticket holders in Mayo and Dublin, the scanning process may take a little getting used to on the first day.

Those attending with children should note that Stiles 6-8 have now been designated family turnstiles.

The turnstiles will be open a half hour earlier on Saturday at 5.00. All ticketing and match day info here.

As always, don’t forget to bring along some colour to the game – there has been a serious increase in the amount of flags appearing at games recently and it looks great. Keep up the good work!

Update: Season ticket scanners in operation for the first time last year in Mac Hale Park.

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