This Saturday, our hurlers bid to make history by reaching the Christy Ring Cup final for the first time in the county’s history.
In 2009, Mayo came agonisingly close to beating defending champions, Carlow, to reach the decider. Leading for the entire game, a heart-breaking goal at the absolute death clinched victory for Carlow, who went on to retain the title. But Mayo won’t be thinking about that on Saturday as their focus is fixed firmly on Kerry, who last won the title in 2011.
In the lead-up to the championship, Christy Phillip’s side enjoyed mixed fortunes in the league, winning 2 from 5 outings, but prior to that they succeeded in capturing the Kehoe Shield. Since the serious business has started, however, their performances have been far more consistent, losing once out of 3 in a tight contest in MacHale Park against Meath. The latest victory came in the quarter final – a terrific win over Wicklow in Arklow by 1-15 to 0-14 – a game in which only 4 Mayo supporters made the journey! We say fair dues to you 4, whoever you are, but boy do we need to make a bigger effort on Saturday!
Mayo hurler Corey Scahill gave us an insight to how much it means to get a big support on Saturday. “A big support on Saturday would be huge for us. We’ll need it to help keep us driven. It will have to be a solid 70 minute performance against Kerry and we are hoping to continue where we left off last time out!”
“Within the camp there’s a great belief that we can beat Kerry, but it will be our biggest test all year.”
Corey lines out for Mayo at MacHale Park against Wicklow in the league earlier this year
Corey and his team mates will be hoping to build on this year’s success so far and also on last year’s historic victory at minor level for the county in the All-Ireland Minor C Hurling Championship. They defeated Monaghan in the final, a game in which Corey scored 1-3. It was also the first half of an historic and unique achievement for David Kenny who won 2 All-Ireland minor medals in the space of a few weeks with the hurlers and the footballers.
Speaking about that success, Scahill remembers his time with that side fondly. “It was a great feeling to be a part of that team and winning the All Ireland C title was special. The county actually heard of hurling for a change! Our work was highlighted. It was a great way to finish our last year underage with an All-Ireland title, especially after losing the county final to Toreen (with Castlebar Mitchels).
So here’s wishing Christy Phillip’s, coaches Austin Kenny and Leo O’Connor and our boys the very best of luck on Saturday. And to anyone reading this, get out and support the lads! They’ve put in a serious shift this year and I’m sure they will appreciate the support. And please, post it, share it, retweet it, blog it, send pigeons and spread the word – 1pm, MacHale Park, this Saturday!
Whether you were there or not, we think it’s safe to say that the New York game was a big event. While those of us who were lucky enough to make the trip across are still in recovery mode, talk in the county is now turning to “Step Two” in this year’s campaign on 8th June. But in the meantime, here’s how our latest guest poster Fear an Chomórtais fared over in NYC last weekend. Welcome aboard, sir!
There’s very few guarantees in this life, but but one thing you can guarantee, is that when this fair county of ours takes the football show on the road, we will most definitely enjoy ourselves! The planning for this New York trip for me started 5 years ago, having been out to Gaelic Park in ’04 and ’09, so to say I was looking forward to this trip was a massive understatement.
Getting the pleasantries out of the way and meeting a few fellow Club ’51ers at the airport, after the flight we did the minibus ride into Manhattan, after which a few of our English neighbors were much wiser on the state of Mayo football as we dismounted.
The customary Mayo flags flew out from the Irish hostelries to entice the noticeable gathering inside. You’d get an odd “go Mayo” in a strong New York accent,to which the reply came “good man yourself”. Eugene Rooney’s Irish Pub became the focal point of the weekend for us, meeting a load from home and some not far from there. Friday night we did our own thing, even gatecrashing some local collegiate alumni event in Suite 36 on W36 St between 5th and 6th avenue, indeed getting some alumni souvenirs for our efforts.
New York gets ready for the Mayo influx …
The intention was to get up early on Saturday to watch the All-Ireland U21 final, between Roscommon and Dublin, which we more than managed to do in the Old Castle Bar. A large crowd was there and I’d even hazard a guess saying 40% were shouting for the Yellowbellies. I for one wasn’t, but the conundrum was I didn’t want the Dubs to win either! The atmosphere was very relaxed all day. We did the customary sightseeing after, of course in the colours, but at this stage you could see the green and red on every street. I love the way that when away at a match like this you always get acknowledged with a nod or a “Howaya lads” while every other New Yorker has the earphones in and the blinkers on, oblivious to the craic building up all around them! Mayo brought the party to town!
The function in Connolly’s that night resembled Quinn’s or Coppers on match day, wedged and very humid. Hard to get to thebar and getting to the bathroom none better. I did think the band were a bit American to be playing Irish tunes but god bless them they played their hearts out each of the 4 times they played The Green And Red of Mayo! But the craic was good and after a while we ended up chatting to John Casey – sure all the stars were out – wasn’t Mike Finnerty holding court behind us and Willie Joe up at the bar! I was getting plenty chat over my shirt, I wore it knowing well that everyone would get a laugh out of it, who would have known that we Mayo people could warrant a laugh at a t-shirt saying “bollox of a ref”! We’ve met more than a few! Legged it back to the Irish pub about 1am, and had the pleasure of sharing a few drinks with the O’Toole brothers from Inisturk, stars of the documentary “Pride of the Parish”. We won an all Ireland there and then, pity it had to finish!
Mayo GAA fans take over the New York Subway
On to Sunday, started well and ended well! What happened in between is the stuff of legend. We met a few legends at the Irish bar; Bernie Waldron who was involved with the mayo minors in the 90’s and a crew from Ballyhaunis. The beers were flying and the craic was mighty, (already arranged the return leg at the Hyde!). The story of the weekend was the lads got into a taxi, Johnny Devaney from Ballyhaunis hopped in the front, asked the cab driver “Where are you from” he answered “Egypt” without a missed breath Johnny replied “and do you walk like an Egyptian?” well when we heard that I split my sides laughing!
We got the subway out to the match – not before stopping off at the Playwright to see if Nicky Joyce was tending bar – he wasn’t – so we moved on. We had a singsong all the way out, cameras were taking pictures and videos, the Yanks didn’t have a clue what was going on but surprise surprise they wanted pictures of us all, and we duly obliged. The Punch Bowl just before Gaelic park provided a comforting pit stop but the one toilet proved torture!
Mayo supporters party in Gaelic Park
The carnival atmosphere at the pitch I’ve experienced before, but you don’t get tired of it. Seriously though, you will not understand it until you’ve experienced it. Met friends who came down from Philadelphia and from Boston – was hard to meet everyone. As for the game, it was hard to see, we couldn’t get a seat so soldiered out a place at the fence. If this was a Premier League match, a “very professional performance” phrase would be used. It’s not the Premier League, but it was a very workmanlike outing. Truth be told it’s a routine fixture, the exiles never expected to get close and they didn’t. The party after was worth coming for! Having read the Sunday Independent and Colm O’ Rourke’s article, it’s plain to be seen that the New York trip was enjoyed by more than just the Mayo diaspora! It felt like a celebration.
I had a chat with Kildare legend Johnny Doyle, what an absolute gent. He was supremely jealous that Kildare and the likes couldn’t be involved in something like this. His opinion on the championship is that it’s the Dubs to lose, but Mayo the only team to challenge them! On Sunday night, it was back to the Oldcastle after Gaelic park, the $30 donation at the door a tad steep but knowing that it was for the players fund it was worth paying. The party atmosphere followed into Manhattan from the Bronx, but already the focus had switched to the Rossies in June.
While I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this trip Stateside, it’s the start of hopefully a long summer, one which rights a few wrongs over the last few years,and come June 8th be it the Yellowbellies or Lovely Leitrim, we will show up in force like we did in New York and push this team forward.
Photo: Bryan Sweeney (via Joe.ie)
As Mayo travel to New York for the first round of the Connacht Championship on Sunday 4th May in Gaelic Park, with a huge number of people travelling to New York from Ireland and indeed many other parts of the world, there are numerous events taking place around Manhattan and the outer suburbs.
Given that there are already so many events already organised for the weekend, Club ’51 won’t be holding a standalone meetup as is now customary before away games, but you can be assured that we will have numerous representatives in place at most, if not all of the events below. We do like a good party, we do.
Here’s what’s happening:
Friday 2nd May
- Mayo GAA (NY) invite supporters to join them at Dunwoodie Golf Course, 1 Wasylenko Ln, Yonkers, NY 10701 from 7 to 10pm for a BAR-B-Q and beverages where they are hoping to defray some of the team’s expenses for the weekend. The Mayo team will be training in Gaelic Park that evening and will be stopping by for a meal following the session. Tickets are $50 per person, and can be bought from any member of the club, or on the night (it’s recommended that you get there early).
- Alternatively, if you fancy something a bit more central, some of the Club ’51 crew will be meeting up for a few quiet (!) beverages in The Old Castle Pub & Restaurant, 160 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 from 7pm.
Saturday 3rd May
- Given that we’re in the Big Apple for a good time, not a long time, we will be rising bright and early to embark on a bit of sightseeing, (it’s not all about the partying, you know) so if you’d like to join us for a bit of craic and culture, we’ll be starting around 9am and getting one of the bus tours. We’ll circulate a meeting point closer to the weekend but it’s likely to be somewhere around Times SQ. Sunscreen (and sunglasses and maybe some Panadol) essential.
- On Saturday night, in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the weekend, Mayo GAA are holding their official Cáirde Mhaigheo Function in Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant, located in Manhattan 121 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036. This is being billed as a very informal meet and greet event, where supporters can congregate and meet with some of the past players and chat about the match. (You’re allowed to talk about other things too, but why would you want to do that?!) There will be musical entertainment on the night and Midwest Radio will be in attendance. They will be a raffle on the night with a top prize of tickets to the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.
Sunday 4th May (Match Day!)
Try to get to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night, because there’s a big day of football and festivities in store on Sunday! Your destination is Gaelic Park, W 240th St, The Bronx (1 train uptown to 238th St) and the itinerary for the day is as follows:
- 10.30am: NY Ladies Féile Team vs. St Brigid’s
- 12pm: NY Boys Féile Team vs. Philly Boys Féile Team
- 2.30pm: New York vs. Mayo
- 4pm: NYPD vs. Buffalo Fenians (Buffalo’s first ever appearance at Gaelic Park!)
Ticketing information for the games is available here, on the New York GAA website. Due to the large numbers expected to travel, do try and get there early. Contrary to what Croke Park told us previously, there is a cost for GAA season ticket holders, but there’s a substantial discount all the same, so don’t forget your card!
- This will be followed by the customary post-match get-together back in The Old Castle Pub & Restaurant, 160 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 from 8pm till late where the Mayo team will join supporters for a night of live music and craic.
So there you have it – you have a week to stock up on the multivitamins and get some sleep! See you in the Big Apple for what is sure to be an unforgettable weekend.
In preparation for our big trip to the Big Apple, New York City connoisseur and general oddball, Jarlath Coady, provides us with some guidelines for how to survive and make to most of our trip abroad.
So you’re going to New York? First bit of advice: Don’t eat the gum on subway handrails. Or anywhere else for that matter. Buy your own (said in New York accent).
New York is often described as the perfect city. Its public transportation is so efficient, it makes you think that maybe the Red Setter from Bus Eireann should be put down. If you want to shop, it’s got that. Concerts? Even a deaf person would have a great choice. Food? Only everywhere. Coffee? Starbucks on every corner. ‘Coz you might need a caffeine top-up in the 30-yard trek from one street-corner to the next.
It’s got everything that any city could have AND even has beaches. Who knew? I did. And now you do. Which may be an option since heading into May is the beginning of ‘fan oven’ season in New York. For those daunted by being NYC first-timers, it has some comparable characteristics in common with Mayo. If you like Main Street Castlebar, then you’ll love Times Square. It’s Hudson River is the absolute spit of Carrowbeg river in Westport. Its beaches just like Clew Bay.
However, one thing is very different in New York. Things do not stand still. No train or bus is ever a minute late, and don’t expect one to even stop for you if you are on Irish time of being a minute late. So with that, may I introduce you to the New York public transport. Before going over, make sure you have downloaded one of the many subway apps and try getting yourself familiar with it. The subway can be a daunting experience if you’re unfamiliar with it but is so easy to navigate once you do get used to it. Rule of thumb: you’re either going Uptown(North), Downtown(South), Manhattan-bound(West) or Queens/Brooklyn-bound(East). It might sound obvious, but know where you are and where you’re going. If you find yourself on the right train but going in the wrong direction, don’t panic. Just get off at the next stop. If the wrong direction is southbound, then just get the northbound which is often in the same underground station, or at worst across the street. Make sure that any app you do have for the subway can be used offline as any app that relies on data connection either won’t work or you will encounter your first mugging experience in the city. Data roaming charges are ridiculous in America. Before heading over, make sure you notify your network operator that you are going to America and research if there is any add-on you can buy which will allow you to use some data over there. 1MB of data can cost nearly €5. Google Maps simply tracking your location is a shocking €10 gone. If you’re disciplined enough to not obsess about needing constant Facebook access, then Starbucks will be your new best friend with its free (if somewhat slow) Wi-Fi. Also, you should notify your bank that you are going over as any debit/credit transactions may be seen as suspicious activity and your card could be frozen until you contact them anyways.
So you have your app downloaded, your Genfitt Mayo jersey on. What the hell is the next step from JFK? Again, do your research before you arrive, but if you are staying in Manhattan then it’s very easy. Get the Airtain from JFK to Howard Beach. Buy the €5 Airtrain ticket at Howard Beach and get the Manhattan-bound A or E trains which will bring you straight into Manhattan. It takes about an hour and a half so don’t be worried thinking that you’re on your way to LA. If you plan on using the subway regularly (which you will), then it would be wise to buy a 7-day unlimited metrocard for $31, even if you’re only in NYC for a few days. You’ll be using it daily a number of times. The metrocard can be bought from any of the kiosks available in all underground stations.
To distract yourself from the potential Sam decider with New York, you may have an interest in other sports. New York doesn’t do small or understated. In Ireland, the difficulty of wondering if a pub is “showing the match” is about as alien to New York as Sting. The two best sports bars in NYC are The Irish Pub between 53rd and 54th street on 7th avenue approximately a five minute walk from Times Square and Legends on W 33rd Street. These places have more TV’s than you could shake a hurley stick at and regularly show Premier League/Champions League games amongst others. It would be pointless mentioning other pubs in NYC as there are too many to mention. Looking for an Irish Pub? Here’s a tip. Open your bloody eyes. They’re everywhere. And for those new to the pub culture there, it’s customary to tip a dollar for every drink. Prices for drinks are roughly similar or slightly cheaper than cities in Ireland, depending a bit on the strength of the euro to the dollar. At the moment, the euro has strengthened over the last year from a low in 2012 and so surprisingly New York prices aren’t astronomical (clearly not talking about accommodation here). After every third drink, the bar man will give a free round. That’s the norm. For those wanting to try out some trendy bars in New York, google Overtime NYC. They often have a number of events on every week, usually with Open Vodka bars on open rooftop bars overlooking the city. Maybe the best option if you have no intentions of leaving the pub during your holiday but wouldn’t mind getting a bit of sun.
For those who aren’t going to set up camp in a bar/pub in NYC then why not do what all the tourists do. No, not get mugged. Unless you wear a bum bag, or socks in sandals. Then yes. You’re getting mugged. And it might even be me that does it. There are plenty of tourist traps in New York. There are two options for seeing really what NYC looks like. The Empire State Building and just ‘down the road’ (in Manhattan terms) ‘The Rock’ at Rockefeller Square has awesome views of the entire city including Central Park. The new World Trade Centre is looking mighty impressive and is an obvious stop for sightseeing. Plus, could people stop feeding the pigeons around WTC? THEY ARE MASSIVE.
And some are downright dangerous.
It’s near the very southern tip of Manhattan island and not too far from Wall Street. One recommendation: Statue of Liberty isn’t as impressive up-close as it is in the movies. Although, only in recent months have they opened up the oul’ hat on herself so people can look out from it. Something that’s been closed off since 9/11. 5th avenue is not too bad for the gawk but you’d be better off saving your shopping for other places. Head to Union Square for some good stores at decent prices. If you want super bargains, then Woodbury Common is the place to go. This is upstate and so is a bit of a bus journey. Tickets for the buses can be bought from Port Authority on 42nd Street and 8th avenue. The buses leave from here regularly and it’s worth the trek. Some interesting film spots might include the Ghostbusters firehouse at 14 N Moore Street or Monica’s apartment from Friends which is above The Little Owl Restaurant (just the outside obviously, don’t go harassing some elderly couple because you want to see the inside of Monica’s apartment) on the corner of Grove and Bedford Street in Greenwich Village, 90 Bedford Street to be exact. There are too many other great spots to visit in NYC but this is a blog, not a new Lord of the Rings book.
There are two types of people to be weary of when in Times Square. Those selling their homemade music CD’s and those selling tickets for stand-up comedy shows. Fine if you want to listen to a struggling hip-hop artist or want to go to a comedy show. But if you don’t, these guys will hound you if you look anywhere in their direction. So just look straight ahead and keep on walking. Do not talk to them.
If you feel like being a bit fancy, Broadway is a good experience with plenty of shows to cater for whatever taste. There are plenty of sharp, edgy plays, it isn’t just musicals that Broadway does. You can go directly to box offices of theatres. Most of the Broadway theatres are located just off Times Square in the streets from 41st to 49st Street roughly. If you’re not sure what to go see, then cut out the walking and just show up at the tkts booth situated directly below the steps on Times Square. This is open in the morning and afternoon and tickets can be discounted from 20-50%. This can be a little deceptive though as a ticket might be 50% off but could be an expensive seat as you find out the discount at the area but not the price until you get to a kiosk. Generally speaking, no matter where you sit in any of the theatres you will see the stage so don’t go buying premium seats if you don’t need to.
Finally, make sure that in getting lost in the energy of New York you don’t forget to get the plane back. Horan will be looking for you come September!
As we turn our faces towards the summer and the promise of the Championship, we welcome another guest contributor to the site. Sarah McKirdy hails from the south of the county, dangerously close to Galway, but her allegiance is unquestionable! Here Sarah writes about being a Mayo supporter and what it means to her.
“The best thing to come out of Galway is the road to Mayo.”
When you come from a part of the County of Mayo where you are surrounded by the Black River as it winds its way from Shrule into the great Loch Corrib, and more especially when you are surrounded by County Galway and Galway People, it lends itself to people on both sides being very “one eyed”. Such is the case with this poor Writer. From my earliest memories, the battle for glory was mainly played out between the two counties. It was the sixties and Galway were in full flight. Beating Galway was our All-Ireland, no thoughts of Croke Park, no county jersey, no flags and no bunting, we would paint the goal posts red and green (usually two young ash trees ) and we were made up. Mayo God help us and Galway glad to get us.
The glamorous games …
Much has changed since those days – and yet maybe not. The passion is still there, enough so to make pride in our County burn in our hearts, to make the stuff running in our veins vivid red but with a smattering of green, to raise our voices in song with our adopted anthem The Green and Red of Mayo, to be there when we are winning and when we are losing, triumph and disaster, we have met those two impostors and treated them the same. The love of our County, our native place, and to recognise that herein are our roots, our heritage, our alma mater may go some way to explaining the Mayo mindset. People are very often amazed by the continued loyal following of the Mayo GAA Senior Team by such a vast number of people. Anyone who witnessed the game in Cork in 2013 in the NFL can attest to this, but us Mayo Natives are not surprised at all. Sure where else would we be?
I have travelled the length and breadth of the Country in support of my team, I probably could have paid off the mortgage by now had I stayed at home, but that was never an option. My travelling companion through most of this campaign has now been to thirty (yes ,30) Connacht Finals, and our quest continues. We have the most marvellous memories of places we’ve been, people we’ve met and games we’ve watched. I wouldn’t change or swap one minute of any of it.
.. and the not-so glamorous games.
On one occasion we headed to Ennis, where our Under 21s were playing the All-Ireland Final against Cork. We landed in good time and parked the car in a housing estate, ready for the speedy exit, or so we thought. When we returned to the car, the All-Ireland secured and the singing at several decibels above the reasonable, a lady from a nearby house had a pot of tea and of course the few custard creams waiting for us. Now we had never met this lady before in our lives, but her generosity of spirit is something that will stay with us forever and is often spoken of. “Ah sure ye have a long trip back to Mayo’’, she said.
In the last couple of years we have experienced the very best of times and maybe the worst of times but the passion is still there. I saw it again in a new guise last week in MacHale Park with the emergence of Club ’51, passionate supporters banding together and bonding together in support of Mayo Football. I’ve seen it over many years in all shapes and forms, parents taking their young children to matches, the old and the young, the great and the good coming together with a common cause.
It’s heartwarming, it’s uplifting, it makes us what we are.
We are MAYO.
(Photos: Michael Maye)
We made it. It’s semi final time. And both semis should serve up two tasty treats.
Cork having beaten Dublin already this season in Croke Park will be hoping to emulate the same result. But I’m sure the current league Champions will have something to say about that.Our big focus will throw in at 2, and after last weekend’s encounter I cannot wait. Derry come to the party with an impressive league campaign under their belt. They have evolved this season, and some will say they have become more united since the departure of Eoin Bradley. The younger brother of Paddy has opted to play soccer with Colerine FC for the spring.
I watched Derry’s first league game against Tyrone on TV and they were very impressive; they drew, but were unfortunate in the end not to win having come from eight points down to draw level. It was, of course their first Div 1 game in four years. Monday mornings I usually chat to two male work colleagues and we review the weekend’s sporting events, casually of course! After the opening round of the league we discussed the games and I mentioned that I thought Derry were a team to watch this season (I still do), and one of the lads, dismissed me with a laugh. I haven’t spoken to him about the games since and no, not because I took the huff!
We’ve come to the business end of the season now. Derry proved a poor opposition for Mayo last weekend, but it was clever from Brian McIver. He knew they were through and figured Mayo were going to meet them again this weekend. So his starting 15 got a week off to prepare and got an up close look at Mayo for free. They play passionately and very much as a unit. They have a number of standout players on the team this year, Mark Lynch at centre forward continues to flourish, he scored 1-6 from play last weekend against Kildare, he’s hard marked and attacks right through the middle so it’ll be interesting to see how Donal Vaughan, who also likes to attack, will cope with that. This season they look to operate with a two man full forward line consisting of 6 foot 4 Keelan O’Boyle, a UUJ student, and Emmet McGuckin, who scored a cracking goal in Castlebar, is small but good in the air and very powerful. How the Mayo defenders will cope with these two will be something to keep an eye on.
Last weekend James Horan gave Aidan O Shea and Jason Gibbons a rest day so a big performance will be needed from them to take on the might of Fergal Doherty and Patsy Bradley. Mayo are the highest scorers in the league so far followed closely by Derry who are playing quite a similar type of football to James Horan’s men. Their centre back adapts the same attacking role as Vaughan, so this may allow Keith Higgins and the Mayo half forward line some space to get scores. They have relied on outscoring their opponents throughout the league so this one should keep the scoreboard operator busy. Mayo will have to improve on their scoring as they are racking up quite a lot of wides this season, an area they will have to sharpen up in as they proceed towards the Connacht Championship and beyond. Cillian O’Connor has slotted back into his role as chief free-taker after his break through injury, and top scorer of the league for the county, Kevin McLoughlin (1-24) will hope to continue on from where he left off against Dublin.
This one will be hard to call. It’ll be a cracker, full of scores and open honest football from both sides. Because of their experience at this stage, I think Mayo will edge this one.