It’s starting to feel like the summer is truly upon us, what with all these trips to Croke Park so early in the year. The weekend is just around the corner too and with it comes the anticipation of another cracking day of football in the capital as Mayo take on Derry in the first of the Allianz National Football League semi-finals.
Mayo v Derry throws in at 2pm and it’s set to be a very different game from the lacklustre occasion we witnessed in MacHale Park last Sunday, given that Derry will most likely bring their first team this time. For those of you who are truly insatiable, Dublin take on Cork in the second semi which throws in at 4pm – a fixture that will hold all the more interest for us should the first game go our way.
In what is fast becoming a familiar pre-match tradition, Club ’51 will be convening across the road in the Jury’s Croke Park Hotel from 12pm. Come join us, say hello and have a cupán tae or a pint before the game. If the day is fine, look for us out the back where you’ll see the flags!
This is the first knockout game of the year, so we’re expecting a high turnout and a good atmosphere, and Club ’51 will be continuing our quest to turn Croke Park into a Sea of Green and Red – but we need your help! If you’re making the trip, be sure and bring a flag and let’s get some colour into those stands.
And most important of all, let’s stand tall and get behind our team on Sunday. It’s up to us, in the crowd to create the atmosphere, so let’s play our part and make ourselves heard – especially if things aren’t going our way. So stock up on the honey and lemon, raise your voices and let’s bring back the Mayo Roar.
See you all on Sunday -Maigh Eo Abú!
In her first post for Club ’51, our very own Knockmore correspondent Laurita Blewitt previews Sunday’s game, and casts her eye forward to what might lie ahead …..
I’ll be honest, when I saw the Derry team on Twitter last night, I checked it twice. 14 changes from last weekends win over Kildare. I know they are through to the semi finals, but I was looking forward to seeing these two sides meet. They both have been the scoring kingpins of the Division 1.
Mayo’s Mikey Sweeney in action against Derry, James Stephen’s Park Ballina, NFL February 2009. (pic: Sportsfile)
I tweeted that either Derry have a squad as big as Dublin, or this one will be a cakewalk for Horan’s men. But Brian McIver has proved his shrewdness this season so far. He’s been building this squad up since he took over in 2012 and having secured their first trip to Croke Park this year, he’s now just looking for options. The only player to get the nod from last weekend is Emmet McGuckin, who moves from full forward to midfield to partner Niall Holly.
It’s fair to say Mayo should win this handy enough – sure 99% of this Derry team have had little or no run out this season yet. And if they do, they will probably face the Northerners again next weekend. But this is where the challenge arrives. It will suit Derry to just fulfill the fixture, while Mayo show their full hand and only meet the opposing side’s reserves.
In four weeks time, the Mayo squad, along with a cargo of Mayo supporters will hit for the Bronx. So James Horan and Co. will want to get into the semi finals to increase game time for the likes of Cillian O’Connor, Donal Vaughan and Jason Gibbons. Not so much in preparation for New York, but more so beyond that.
It’s show time now and shaky league openers and FBD games are a distant memory. It’s all about one thing, and from Sunday on it starts. A Division 1 league semi, a possibility of reaching the final and a trip to New York is the perfect precursor to what, we all hope, will be a long, and dare I say it, a sparkling silver summer season.
Remember to bring plenty of colour and flags on Sunday!
Another beautiful day, another milestone for Club ’51. First, we unveiled our giant flag, then we made our first appearance in national media. Then, just yesterday, our Facebook page reached the 500 mark!
But that’s in the past, and we like to live in the now (Disregard the name of our club, just briefly). Today, we were featured on local radio’s hottest slot – the 10:30am on the Tommy Marren Show! A big well done to our own Anne Marie Flynn for her performance this morning. But that’s not all! Almost simultaneously, our website saw it’s 15,000th hit! Quite a way to go to reach our good colleagues over at the MayoGAABlog, who reached a staggering 1,000,000 hits last year, but it’s a hell of a start!
We have plenty in the pipeline between now and June, but first thing’s first: Derry on Sunday. I’d like to echo the post from earlier in the week about our relocation to the MacHale Road sideline. Lets make the last home league game of the year (and potentially our last home game in 2014 full stop, depending on how results go elsewhere in Connacht) one to remember. We’ll be unveiling our new flags, too, so make sure you join us! Remember, everyone is welcome, all of the time.
After the shameless theft of the famous “Black Rectangle”, you can now locate us by following the floating, crudely drawn red arrow in MacHale Park.
We’ll also be announcing the winner of our Super Duper Flag Design Competition tomorrow and presenting the lucky winner with their very own Club ’51 t-shirt! We have been swamped with entries, so we will be working late into the night, again, tonight to pick our winner!
See you all Sunday, lets hope the sun keeps shining and we find ourselves planning for Croker Sunday evening!
It’s Wednesday, and we’re heading towards the better half of the week, meaning it’s time once again to lift the heads and start looking forward to the weekend’s GAA action. This Sunday sees Mayo welcome Derry to Elverys MacHale Park in the final round of the Allianz National Football League, at the later throw-in time of 3pm.
Mayo are in a promising position, with a win against second-placed Derry guaranteeing us a spot in the semi-finals on April 13th. Two intriguing deciders lie ahead, with Dublin travelling away (for a change) to Tyrone, but it’s Castlebar on which we’ll be focusing and in a practice run for the championship days ahead, Club ’51 will be ramping the campaign up a notch and starting to make ourselves seen and heard.
Sunday will see us moving out of the stand and onto the terraces for the first time, and will be basing ourselves beside the media tower (on the bacon factory side). This will allow us to congregate in one area, regardless of what time we arrive at – something that has, up to this point been difficult in the stand.
We’re combining forces with the formidable Sea of Green and Red campaign, a phenomenon which started a great conversation over on MayoGAABlog in the run-up to the Tyrone game last year and resulted in a visibly increased level of colour in Croke Park. The Sea of Green and Red campaign just appealed to anyone attending the game to bring a flag. It was that simple, and it worked! We want to start bringing that level of colour to all Mayo games this year, starting next Sunday – but we need your help.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of some of the readers and contributors to this sitev (thank you!), Club ’51 have started to build a collection of iconic flags and banners, which we hope will become a feature at Mayo games, not just this year, but for many years to come. On Sunday, we’ll be debuting another bunch of these, which we hope you’ll spot in the ground, as well as a couple of larger flags that have kindly been donated to the cause. We really appreciate your contributions and hope you’ll like how we’ve used them.
What can you do?
- You could bring your own flag – yes, it’s that simple. Big or small, plain or patterned, as long as it’s green and red and someone’s waving it. If you’re bringing little ones, get them to help – they love it! It might be “only the league”, but why not?
- Wear your colours – hats, scarves, headbands, they all add up.
- Help us to cheer! You don’t need to do a banshee on it, but it’s amazing the difference a chant or a cheer can make to the atmosphere. If things aren’t going the way we’d like – that’s when the 16th man is needed the most. So join the rallying cry and let’s get behind our team and cheer them on to a place in the sem-final.
- We like noise, but please, if you’re bringing something noisy be considerate of those around you – no-one wants to be deafened. And if it’s a vuvuzela, leave it at home.)
- JOIN US on the terraces! This is group effort and everyone is welcome – the more the merrier. We’ll be easy to spot, we don’t bite (much), you’ll have a great view of the game and we can guarantee you’ll have a bit of craic while you’re there (though you might need waterproofs!) We’re not aiming to become another Hill ’16 – far from it – but if you’ve ever felt self-conscious shouting at a game while getting daggers from the refined people surrounding you, this is the place for you.
We’re delighted to see the level of support behind the Mayo team this year, and Club ’51 is really taking off. We have a lot of exciting plans in the pipeline for the year ahead, but we need help to get them off the ground. So if you’d like to become involved in any way, be that writing or taking photos for the website, contributing ideas, sponsoring us some prizes or flags (we’ve some more competitions coming up, including one for the smaller folks), helping to organise events and meet-ups or simply standing with us to cheer on the team on match days (the most important thing of all), then get in touch via the contact form.
See you on Sunday- Maigh Eo Abú!
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
By this stage, most of you will probably have heard about the issues experienced by many Mayo supporters (and indeed, those further afield) with their GAA Croke Park season ticket attendance records over the past few weeks. If not, here’s some background.
It is important from the outset to point out that the GAA season ticket system has been a very welcome development by the organisation, and is one that typically works very effectively and seamlessly. It is the wish of both the GAA and supporters that it continues to fulfil the function for which it was established – to reward loyal supporters.
It has come to our attention that a significant number of supporters who attended games in MacHale Park using their GAA season tickets have not had their attendance records updated online. Upon contacting the season ticket office, some of those supporters have been met with an outright refusal to have their records updated. (Note: Cairde Mhaigheo season ticket holders have not been affected by this issue.)
For those of us who were in attendance at MacHale Park for the Cork game, but subsequently discovered that their attendance was not registered online, it has been a frustrating and angering few days trying to obtain a satisfactory response from the GAA season ticket department via email and telephone, and indeed the poor communication from HQ about their reasoning has been a source of much of the frustration.
Club ’51 believes that anyone who can prove they were in attendance at a fixture has the right to have their attendance record updated, so that they are not potentially affected later in the season. Under the Croke Park Season Ticket T&Cs, you must have attended 60% of your county’s games to qualify for purchase of an All-Ireland ticket if your county makes it to the final. If your county does not make it to the final, and you have attended 100% of your county’s games, you are entitled to entry to a draw for All-Ireland tickets regardless. So it is of paramount importance to loyal season ticket holders that their attendance record is accurately maintained; however until yesterday, we had been met by serious resistance and a lack of flexibility from the GAA in this regard.
Yesterday (Wednesday 26th March) however, in a significant development, the GAA emailed an as-yet unconfirmed number of people to inform them that “We will update your attendance for the fixture in question here as a goodwill gesture to you personally”, while in the same sentence, insisting that “there will be no change to attendance made based upon a post-facto email for any fixture or from any Season Ticket holder where there were no issues reported by the County Board.” It is unclear how many of those affected have received this email or have had their records corrected.
Basically, what this appears to boil down to is that the GAA are telling supporters that unless the county board at the venue in question informs HQ that there is a problem with the scanning equipment or information, if you check your account and find that your attendance record is not correct, it will not be updated, even if you were at the game. We are not satisfied with this response, and at this point have sought the advice of a number of people more qualified than ourselves to check the legality of the GAA’s stance.
We are, however also (finally!) engaged in communication with Ronan Murphy, head of the GAA Ticketing Department, who very helpfully took the time to explain the reasoning behind their response, and in doing so, made some valid points. We will push to continue this conversation in order to try and find a reasonable, workable solution for everyone with a genuine complaint. The GAA have also assured us in writing that they will deal with each request individually and we can only assume that this will involve trying to determine the facts behind a problem, rather than an upfront refusal.
In the meantime, Club ’51 would like to give you some information that may prevent an issue occurring with your attendance record in future.
- The GAA in their communications with us stated that they have taken this stance in an attempt to clamp down on widespread growing misuse of the system. This includes people turning up to match venues and trying to get additional tickets scanned, and people who did not attend fixtures emailing the season ticket office to try and get their attendance updated regardless.
- This behaviour places the GAA’s resources under considerable strain, and it compromises the integrity and fairness of the system for everyone. At this point (and this is somewhat understandable) the GAA have stated that they can no longer simply accept an email in the days following a fixture as proof of attendance at that fixture.
- Therefore, if you have not attended a game, then play fair. Please do not contact the season ticket office to try and get your attendance updated – this is essentially fraudulent behaviour, and makes life difficult for genuine supporters. Your ticket is transferable, however.
- However, we believe that a way needs to be found to accommodate those season ticket holders who have experienced genuine problems with their attendance records, and we will push where necessary to find a workable, transparent solution.
In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your attendance is recorded:
- Arrive early to the ground. In particular, we recommend that you arrive to MacHale Park well in advance of throw-in time on Sunday 6th April as there are now likely to be delays at the season ticket stiles while people ensure that their tickets have scanned correctly.
- In order to get your attendance scanned, you MUST enter the ground using the designated season ticket entrance. They are clearly marked on match days, and if you don’t do this and you fail to get your ticket scanned, in fairness you really only have yourself to blame if you can’t get your attendance updated.
- You must only present ONE season ticket per person to the person scanning the tickets. By giving them your mate’s ticket or your children’s tickets as well as your own and asking them to scan them, you’re going against the entire spirit of the season ticket and you’re also asking the volunteers to break the rules. It’s unfair to the volunteers and it’s unfair to those who do actually attend the games – we have seen proof of that this week. So please, one person, one ticket. The Season Stile attendant is entitled to confiscate the Season Ticket cards of anyone involved in the event of attempted abuse of the one card per person rule.
- Only those who are under 16 may use a Juvenile Season Ticket.
- When your ticket has been scanned, it’s useful to check that it has actually been scanned successfully. According to tickets.ie (the company who administer the GAA tickets) hearing a ‘beep’ does not in itself necessarily mean that the card has scanned correctly. If you are concerned that your Season Ticket has not been scanned properly please advise the person scanning on the day and he or she can try again; enter your barcode manually or alternatively make a note if required.
- If you do want to get proof that your ticket has scanned, then we suggest taking a photo of the scanner using your phone. Should your ticket not scan, the GAA has advised us that they provide every venue with a list of season ticket holders for that venue, so attendance can be manually updated later if the county board reports an issue. Ask them to check you off on that list if you suspect that your ticket has not scanned correctly.
- It can take a few days to get the lists or devices back from the volunteers involved on match days, so please be patient after each fixture. The GAA will not update any attendance before scanners are uploaded and / or the completed roll lists have been received.
- However there are new Terms and Conditions in place for 2014, and under these, you MUST report any issue with your season ticket attendance records within 10 days of the fixture taking place, otherwise your request will not be considered. It is your responsibility to check within that period that your attendance has been logged! If you do notice a problem with your account, email firstname.lastname@example.org immediately to make them aware of the problem.
- Note that it is worth re-reading the Terms and Conditions of your season ticket from time to time if you have concerns, as these can change without notice (as per No.70).
The above are all measures we can take to ensure that this system works as well and possible and and serves the purpose for which it was set up – to reward loyal supporters.
As we’ve already stated, while we now have a better understanding of the reasoning behind it, we are not completely satisfied with the GAA’s response this week to the problems Mayo supporters have been experiencing, nor with the manner and inconsistency with which their complaints have been handled. We believe that in future, where mistakes have been made and supporters have genuinely attended a game, that there needs to be a system in place to address these issues in a fair, transparent manner and correct them where relevant. We will be continuing this conversation with them.
However, given the abuse of the system at present, the GAA understandably are taking a firmer line with requests for attendance updates in order to ensure that the system continues to reward genuine, dedicated supporters. A workable compromise must therefore be found so that these supporters can be reassured that they receive the service they are paying for, and the conversation will continue.
We’ll keep you posted!