Roscommon v Mayo FBD League Rd 3
It’s been a while since we posted here, but we are back in action and what better way to start than with a clash with our biggest local rivals? This Sunday sees the first of a possible three (or more) clashes between Roscommon v Mayo in Round 3 of the 2016 FBD league. In our first game under the management of Stephen Rochford, we saw off NUIG in the first round of the FBD in MacHale park in front of a home crowd of 2,390 (though we estimated there must have been over 3,000!). Last Sunday we put in a good performance against the students of IT Sligo in Ballina Stephenites, again in front of a large Mayo support of well over 2,000.
This Sunday Roscommon v Mayo in
Hyde Park (announced on Thursday that Hyde Park is unplayable by Connacht Council and the match is now moved to MacHale Park at 2pm), will be the first meeting between the two sides in 2016. We are calling on all Mayo supporters to “Bring The Colour, Bring The Noise”, as there will be no doubt a large travelling Roscommon support, especially on home turf.
The match was originally scheduled for Ballinlough, (we were looking forward to standing beside the tree growing through the stand there!), but due to the expected large crowd it probably would not have been a big enough venue to hold the thousands expected to attend. And now at least we don’t have to put the lawnmower in the boot for the trip to Hyde Park!
The match throws in at 2pm, so get to MacHale Park early and bring the flags! (Remember the delays at the NUIG match due to large crowds of supporters).
Statement From Roscommon GAA Regarding Change of Venue (22.30 14th January)
It was with great regret that Roscommon GAA had to inform The Connacht Council of the GAA that the County Ground “Dr. Hyde Park” was going to be unplayable for the FBD game against Mayo.
This game had previously been moved from Ballinlough where it had traditionally been held every second year alternating with Ballyhaunis.
Roscommon GAA offered the secondary county ground St Brigid’s Kiltoom as the venue and Connacht Council GAA decided that this venue would not be in a position to accommodate the expected large crowd.
As the FBD league is a Connacht Council GAA event they decided to refix the game for Mc Hale Park Castlebar. Roscommon GAA regrets that we are unable to play Mayo in Roscommon on this occasion.
It is planned to install a new pitch in Hyde Park.
What has happened this week reinforces the need for this and will ensure it happens much sooner. Hopefully the Gaels of Roscommon will fully support Roscommon GAA in this venture and Club Rossie in the fund raising for it.
In other news, the National Football League may not even have started yet, but our thoughts are already turning to London and the first round of the Connacht Championship in Ruislip at the end of May. Keep an eye on our page for updates – we’ll be putting together a post with some information shortly.
Looking forward to seeing many of you in Castlebar on Sunday and here’s to a great year ahead. Up Mayo!
Exactly one year ago today. A cold, wet, windy day in east Mayo. Mild excitement and high hopes for the year ahead.
That morning was just like any normal match day: up early, a decent breakfast and on the road in good time. You’d never know what might happen. Breakfast came in roll form. Feck it, it was match day so we said we’d treat ourselves. 2 sausies, 2 rashers and bit of black and white. Plenty of butter. I don’t care what the song says. Egg in a breakfast roll is an abomination. I’m a big egg fan generally. In fact, I like eggs so much I think that one day I might even turn into a big giant egg, but it has no place in a roll. I’m pretty sure it says that somewhere in the Bible too.
Like many others from around the county, for a 2pm throw-in we were on the road to Charlestown around midday to get a good spot, especially after the bumper crowd that showed up to the NUIG game the Friday night. I sat in the passenger seat in my dad’s 05 Scenic, the wind and rain pelting the windshield. We discussed what players might be tried out and if the new lads that featured in the first game would get another crack at the whip. About 10 miles outside of Charlestown the rain was absolutely teeming down and we started to question whether this game would – or indeed could – be played at all. We turned up the radio in case we missed any important announcements. BREAKING NEWS! Our hearts sank. We feared the worst – the game was off. But we were bang wrong. The game had been moved down the road to Bekan as the pitch in Charlestown was apparently unplayable. “Not too bad”, I thought. How naive I was.
We turned the car around and headed back for Bohola. Luckily, I had an idea where the pitch was as I’d ventured there a few days earlier to see the U21s in action. We pulled up to the gate to see a couple o’ happy chappies in high-viz jackets standing there to welcome us with a big, warm smile. And outstretched palms. “A TENNER?!” Yep, €10. Ten of the finest €s to get into a game that was changed, on a whim, from a ground with decent spectator facilities to a ground with
some very few limited ABSOLUTELY NO SPECTATOR FACILITIES. I guess it was logical to move the game 20 minutes down the road to Bekan. In fairness, if there’s a 40,000 seater stadium within 20 minutes of Charlestown where everyone could have sat in the stand with room to put their feet up with a flask of tea on the seat beside them and a sandwich on the other seat beside them, I’d like to know about it! But I still have nightmares about that €10. The amount of headbands and Dime bars it could have bought. I could have saved it for Christmas 2014.
Anyway, after we parked, our attention soon turned to the action. We assumed, like everyone else, that the game was on the all-weather facility. Seeing as we were in Bekan in the first place. A perfect platform for Mayo’s fast, athletic footballers against the students from Sligo IT. A fairly large crowd gathered along the fence to watch the Mayo lads warm up, but after about 15 minutes (there’s a bit of a bite in it at this point) it transpired that the game was on the grass pitch. Which grass pitch was anybody’s guess, so we just followed one of the crowds. We went to the nearest pitch. “Ah, here we are”, I thought. Ah, poor young Mark’s naivety strikes again! Of course it wasn’t on the closest pitch to the car park where people could stand on the surrounding footpath. It was on the OTHER pitch, on the far side of this pitch. So off we go walking across muddy goodness. I was upset that my new waterproof shoes were getting a bit dirty, but all in all glad that they were getting a decent run-out. Next thing on the agenda: where to stand? Option A: The mud behind the goal. Option B: The mud on the sidelines. C The mud under the trees in the far corner (potential shelter). Option D: The grassy hill behind the goal but a bit to the left that would soon be muddy. Option D it is, obviously, to get a decent vantage point. And, you know, it started to clear up a bit. Things were looking up.
And then it got worse. And worse again. And then a bit worse than that. And we got wetter than anyone has ever gotten ever before. In fact, I’m still a bit damp. The football slowly became more and more irrelevant. Now, it was about survival.
About 15 minutes into the game, Bear bailed. It was just too much.
The grassy hill was no longer safe. It was high so the rain hit us first, which obviously meant it was wetter rain than the rain on lower ground. Our thoughts turned to the lovely stand in Charlestown. Cold, but dry. Dry. I tried to remember what that felt like, but the memory was slipping, fading away. We moved down a bit lower. It seemed like the best idea, but I couldn’t help thinking “But Mark, heat rises!” We were delirious. We didn’t know what we were doing. Every step was torture. Standing still was torture. For the first time in my life, I considered going home at half-time. But we knuckled down, shook ourselves off and prepared for the second half.
And then Mayo failed to score for 29 of the 30 minutes. Still, a last minute Alan Freeman penalty earned the emptiest draw of all time. And all for the low, low price of €10! Still, it could always be worse.
The long walk back to the car was torture. After we dried off, emptied our shoes and checked that our feet were still there, we started off on the long journey home… Which was torture. The day reminded me of that film “Alive”. Except we had it way worse. Our waterproofs were no longer waterproof. In fact, studies have shown that Bekan has some of the wettest rain on earth (that study was carried out by me that day).
“Never, ever, ever again” is what I assume everyone was thinking after the game. But we never will – nay, CAN never forget. We did it.
We Survived Bekan.
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.
In the aftermath of a rollercoaster of a game last night against Dublin that will no doubt have us all talking for some time to come, here’s a feature on Club ’51 from yesterday’s Irish Examiner written by Ballina’s own Terry Reilly, after a chat with Anne-Marie during the week. Hopefully for those of you who’ve just recently signed up, it’ll give you some more background on what we’re about and what we want to achieve.
It’s not easy to keep the heads up when things aren’t going well, and as supporters, we are fairly put through the wringer, but the Mayo support in Croke Park last night was fantastic and we want to keep that momentum going.
We’re cooking up a plan of action for what will now be a crucial game vs. Derry next week and will be in touch during the week with an update.
Have a good week folks and keep the faith – Maigh Eo abú!
The Club ’51 Team
New rule changes have come into effect from the 1st January 2014 which includes a black card for cynical fouls. A black card will be issued for the following 5 offences, which will result with the player being sent off and replaced with a substitute player.
If a player is on a yellow card and then issued with a black card, this will be the equivalent of a red card and the player is sent off and not replaced.
Mayo GAA fans won’t get to see the new rules in action until our first fbd match against NUIG, which has been put back until next Friday 10th at 7.30pm in Mc Hale Park. You can view the full list of rules which we published in a previous post last November.
Wishing all our followers a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New year. Hopefully Santa will bring all the presents you asked for, I will have to wait until next September for my present and I promise to be very good next year!! The Journey starts all over again in 2 1/2 weeks time in Mc Hale park on Friday 10th January at 7pm against NUIG in the FBD League. See you all there!