Here we all are again: for the 4th year in a row preparing ourselves for the trip east to cheer on our boys in an All-Ireland Semi-Final. It’s all very positive. But I’m very cynical as ye know.
It’s great to see us travel in such numbers and we comfortably outnumbered every other county there last week. But some of us tend to forget that we have two outstanding football teams still in action this year. Our minors… What a team. And it’s great to see the support in early for them last week. But if one more person asks me “how did the minors get on?” in the jacks of Croke Park after the minor game… If you cared, you would have been in on time. The pubs will still be there after the game, I promise!
Anyways, with that off my chest, it’s time to get to planning for Sunday week. The hotel is booked, the tickets are sorted, train tickets booked and…
There’s only a bloody train strike!
Well there you go! We’ll have to take the hit and stay the night in the Villa Bella. The rumbles about a possible strike are sure to interrupt the plans of a lot of folk reading this although I do hope it doesn’t affect the numbers travelling. We hate to see anyone stuck so be sure to get stuck into our car pooling section! If you need a lift, post it up on our Facebook page and someone might be kind enough to bring you along (for a fair contribution to fuel and sambos, obviously!). In terms of parking, we’ll follow up with details closer to throw-in but the general rule of thumb is to get in early!
It’s a great time to be a Mayo fan. This excitement never gets old. I’ve spent all day reading articles, message boards, arguing with fellow fans, and watching classic games on YouTube. And there’s still 11 ruddy days to wait! So the overriding message for us has to be this: enjoy it. We are the envy of most other counties in Ireland. Only 4 teams get here every year, 8 including minor, and we have 2 teams representing us.
To stay in touch with the latest updates I would recommend the MayoGAABlog. The content is excellent, some great updates and links to articles in local and national media and some incredibly dubious conversation to boot!
I’d like to wrap this up by wishing the U21 hurlers the very best in their Connacht Under 21 B final in Athleague tomorrow. It would be a very welcome success with our seniors doing the business against Roscommon earlier in the year to win the Connacht title, not to mention the minors’ second appearance in as many years in the All-Ireland minor C final where they look to retain their title. Also, well done to the Mayo Ladies team who qualified for the last 8 last Saturday after defeating Westmeath, and best of luck to them too as they take on All-Ireland Champions Cork in the next stage on Saturday in Tullamore.
Enjoy the build up!
It’s the second weekend in July and we are preparing to make history. Honestly, at this time of year, as Mayo football fans, what more can we ask? We have two teams representing us on Sunday in the provincial deciders. Our seniors attempt to win their 4th title on the trot against the auld enemy while our minors defend their crown against Roscommon. We are also aiming to see our first back to back senior/minor Connacht Double since 1996/1997. History beckons! How sweet that would be indeed, but as we always say, that’s in the lads’ hands now. And best of luck to them.
As for us, the plan remains the same. We’ll have a couple of new recruits in the form of flags with us at the match, after announcing our first and second-placed designs in our schools flag design competition. We’ve got a couple of cracking designs that we can’t wait to unveil. But we also need people to wave said flags, so please come and join us beside the media tower at the McHale Road side of the ground. Absolutely everyone is welcome and the craic is always good so come along and introduce yourselves. And bring your own flags – there’s going to be a huge crowd there so let’s make it a colourful one (a green and red one!).
We’ll be there from 11am or so setting up for our minors and we would urge absolutely everybody to come cheer on YOUR All-Ireland Champions as they take on the Rossies! They put in a hell of a shift in Tuam and the least they deserve is a good, loud support from the Mayo faithful on Sunday.
Here’s to history!
On Thursday 10th July, just 3 days before our lads attempt to make history with a 4th Connacht title on the trot against the auld enemy, we’ll be hosting a charity quiz night in aid of a couple of very worthy causes. Our very first quiz night will be taking place in Coady’s Bar, Linenhall Street, Castlebar at 8pm.
On the night, we’ll be contributing to two great charities: Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Ireland and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. We will be posting up more info on both of these charities over the next couple of days but in the meantime you can find out all you need to know on the two links above.
We’ll be hoping to have some fun on the night too. Coady’s, being the great hosts they are, will be providing finger food, and will also be linking their TVs to our YouTube account so we can all reminisce over good times gone by by watching our classic videos, courtesy of the very patient Ronan McHale (or MacHale as he prefers).
The price of entry is €40 per table (team of 4) and we’ll be giving out a variety of great quiz and raffle prizes on the night.
So get your best Quiz Underpants ready and mark the date your diary. We’ll see you all in Coady’s!
If anyone would like to contribute to the night by donating a spot prize, doing some corrections or being our chief iPhone watchdog, give us a bell!
Game 2. The next step. How are we going to dismantle our neighbours to the east? What is the best XV we can put out? Well, that’s for James and the lads to figure out. The real question is: what can I do?
It’s simple – bring a flag and bring your voice! I know we keep going on about it, but it makes all the difference.
See? I would have buried this if there were a few people with flags behind this goal.
The options are endless. We’ll be bringing our big flags anyways, why not join us and bring yours? Don’t have one? Bring a medium sized one! Don’t have one of those? Then a car flag will do the job! No car flag? Bring a green or red rag or towel and wave that!
Seriously, towels work!
Bring hats, bring scarves, bring balloons, bring the jumper that your aunt Milda knitted for you and you wore it for years, most notably at the Connacht Final in Tuam in 1999 where you got a close up on telly!
Trust the lads to do their bit. We need to do ours and turn this:
On a different note, I’m sure a lot of us sat down and watched another cracking game last Sunday where Limerick overturned Tipp in the Munster Hurling semi-final. It’s worth noting though that we have hurlers of our own, and they are a credit to their county after the season they have put in. Anyone who witnessed the second 35 against Kerry last Saturday in the Christy Ring semi-final will testify to that. They are a talented team who will no doubt be grateful of your support this Sunday when they take on Roscommon in the Connacht Intermediate Final. Roscommon won the same fixture last year and anyone who saw that game will remember the hilarious speech made by the winning Roscommon captain after the game in which a couple of expletives were uttered, followed by loud “sshhhhh!!” noises from his teammates below. That game throws in at 12pm.
So get in early, the stand will be filled on a first-come first-serve basis. Get in, get your seat, support both our teams and of course bring your colours!
With the Championship back in action and Game 2 just around the corner, we’ve decided to run a competition for our younger ’51ers. One of our main aims is bring as much colour as we can to matchday. Our collection of flags is constantly growing and we’re always on the look out for new ideas! This is where we need your help! With the help of our new friends at the Castlebar Cycle Store and our old friends at T-Rex Clothing, we’re launching a flag design competition for national school kids around the county. We’ve already got the ball rolling around Castlebar and surrounding areas, but we’d like to spread it further around the county.
The rules are fairly straight forward: design us a Mayo flag!
Our winner will receive the terrific first prize of a BMX Bike, kindly sponsored by Castlebar Cycle Store (it’s even green and red!!) and we will also be printing the winning design, exactly as we receive it, onto our next new flag. So you’re design could be proudly flying in Croker this summer! We will also be giving away our limited edition t-shirt to 10 winners in our raffle, sponsored by T-Rex clothing. A huge thanks from Club ’51 to both our sponsors!
If there are any teachers or principals out there, get in touch with us ASAP and we will forward on the details and application forms. Please note that this competition will be run through Primary Schools only.