Killarney, Here We Come

Killarney, Here We Come

And We’re Off …

Finally – finally! – the countdown is almost over. It’s time to check the tyres and top up the oil in anticipation of the long trip to Killarney. It’s been a long winter – long than we’ve become accustomed to in recent years – but the competitive inter-county season is about to throw in at last. Sunday 2pm in Fitzgerald Park is the one we’ve been waiting for as Mayo travel to take on All-Ireland champions (it still sticks in the craw a bit, doesn’t it?) Kerry in their back yard. But a new year is a new year and forward we must look.

As competitive fare goes, this game is unlikely to reveal much in terms of prospects for the year ahead, due to the fact that both teams are missing a number of key players, but what’s really important is the points that are at stake. To take two points from the Kingdom from under their own roof would make for a satisfying start to the year, so Killarney here we come, and here’s hoping our old reliables and our new young guns get a good run at it and make the road home a short one.

Club ’51 will also be making the trip south to this stunning part of the country (don’t tell them we said that) and will be aiming to claim a significant proportion of Fitzgerald Stadium for the green and red. Anecdotally, it appears that the Mayo faithful are hitting the road in huge numbers this weekend, so if you’re looking for a place to lay your head, get on it ASAP otherwise you’ll be kipping in the back of the car. If you’re doing a day trip, amid warnings of unsettled weather over the next few days, be sure to plan ahead and leave in plenty of time -and  arrive alive and unfrazzled. And for those of you doing the Ring of Kerry cycle on Saturday, may the wind be at your backs all the way, you mad yokes.

Mayo car green and red ford fiesta

If this is your car, leave early. Like, tonight. (Pic:

On The Day

In what is now becoming a time-honoured, revered and legendary tradition (a whole year old this weekend, in fact) Club ’51 will be assembling before the game in a local hostelry to mingle, give out about the weather and unanimously agree that Mayo is just as nice a spot as Kerry, we just don’t need to go on about it all the time. On the morning of the game, get yourselves to the Killarney Royal Hotel on College Street  from 11.30am. Located only a ten-minute walk from Fitzgerald Stadium, we have it on good account that their hospitality is second to none. There is a traditional Irish lunch menu in the restaurant, or check out the bar/bistro menu where you can get  bar food like soup, salads, burgers and sambos.

It'd look grand with a lick of green and red paint  (Photo: Tripadvisor)

It’d look grand with a lick of green and red paint
(Photo: Tripadvisor)

 Parking Near The Ground

Parking is relatively easy, as Killarney has plenty of car parts in the town centre,none of which are a lengthy walk (15-20 mins max) to the stadium. The car parks on Lewis Road or beside Killarney Public Library  (on the N71) are the closest, so if you want the handier option (or if it’s raining), get in there early before the locals take all the good spots.

The Night Before

For those of you travelling down the night before, you’re in for a treat as Killarney is always a great spot for a few sociable beverages. On the Saturday evening from 9pm, some of the Mayo faithful will be convening in Tatler Jack on Plunkett St. (right in the heart of town) so do drop in if you’re feeling the bit of thirst. Tatler Jack is of course notable for featuring as it does some jerseys of the hallowed green and red, namely those of Gabriel Irwin and the mighty Willie Joe Padden. So therefore it’s practically a Mayo pub and you should feel right at home. Get practicing your “yerras” well in advance and if you meet any Kerry people on your travels be sure to assure them that we’ll barely manage to keep it kicked out to them. Nothing like getting in some mind game practice well in advance of the championship.

Last But Not Least …

That should be all you need to get you set for the weekend. Only one thing remains and that is a reminder to get behind our lads. None of us have forgotten Limerick, and if ever there was a time a team deserved a strong show of support, this is it. When our lads appear on the pitch, don’t be shy, don’t hold back but cheer for them like you’ve never cheered before. It might only be the first game in the League, but it marks the start of an another long road for this team, so let’s row in behind them and just like in Croke Park last August, be the 16th man again. Bring a flag, claim the stand and make them wonder in Kerry if they took a wrong turn and ended up on McHale Road.

And most of all stand tall and be proud of the green and red – our  colours – and all they stand for as  we look to the year ahead.




PS: A sincere thank you to our Kerry informants Caroline and Jerry for the helpful information – we won’t tell a soul! 

PPS: Don’t forget your toothbrush.

Looking ahead to 2015 – Club ’51 is back on the road

Looking ahead to 2015 – Club ’51 is back on the road

Time to plan

As the dust settles on our first FBD campaign under Noel and Pat, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2015 and to the first real competitive action of the season. With that, we turn our faces towards Killarney and the first Allianz National League game against the Kerrymen who broke our hearts below in Limerick last August. The less said about that the better, and as a new era begins, we will be getting behind our lads more than ever. On that note, it’s time for a quick update on the Club ’51 front on our plans for that game and for the subsequent games in the League.

Seating Groups

Seating groups are a good way of getting groups of supporters together in grounds with allocated seating. They were a great success last year and more and more people are either setting up or joining groups as the club grows. This year, you can use either your Croke Park or your Cairde Maigh Eo season ticket to join a seating group, and we have all the latest information and have started the list of 2015 groups in our post over hereWe’ve had loads of enquiries already from people interested in joining a seating group this year, so if  you already have one with vacant spaces or would like to set one up, let us know and we’ll put you in touch.

Getting To Away Games

We’ll be doing our usual car pooling posts (keep an eye on our forum here or contact us on Facebook, Twitter or email). Anyone with space in a car or a bus that needs filling over the coming weeks let us know! We’ll have information on parking etc. on the site too in due course. Don’t forget the ‘fiver for the driver’!

green and red Mayo car

Your car doesn’t have to look like this, but it helps

If anyone is organising buses to Killarney for 1st February, let us know and we’ll post them here. We have one so far:

  • The Sea Rod Inn, Doohoma are hoping to organise a bus – for queries contact Sean on 0851698851.

Pre-Match Meetups

From the first meeting in the Liffey Arms, Newbridge on 2nd Feb last year to various days out in Jury’s across from Croker these were a great success last year, so looking ahead to 2015 we’ll be continuing the new tradition of picking a pre-match meeting point close to the grounds for Mayo fans to congregate before games and  grab a cuppa/lunch/tipple/whatever tickles your fancy. We’ll be announcing these here the week before games and are looking for suggestions for Killarney, Cork and Derry.

Similarly, there will be a good crew making their way to away game venues the night before so what better excuse to go for a couple of scoops and psyche out the opposition fans?  We’ll also be making a weekend of the Dublin game so expect some Castlebar festivities to be announced close to St. Patrick’s weekend.

Sea of Green And Red

Mayo GAA looking ahead to 2015 - a sea of green and red

Image: Sean Óg Cafferkey

Part of the inspiration for Club ’51 came from these guys on Facebook who joined forces with us and were instrumental in making the Mayo support as loud and colourful as it was in 2014. We’re aiming for more of the same in 2015 and starting as we mean to go on. Last year Mayo revived an old tradition and we saw a huge increase in the number of flags at matches. Nowhere was it more evident than in the video below from the first Kerry game (scroll to 1.51). We want recreate the incredible atmosphere of that game many times again this year and you can play your part. If every household brings a flag, think of the spectacle we’ll create! So up you get into that attic and dig out the flags.

We have a number of Club ’51 flags, and if you’ve seen them in the grounds and want to get your hands on one of your own all the information you need is here.

Other Stuff

We’ll also be attempting to do the following over the coming months:

  • Organising more charity events after the success of our inaugural table quiz last year
  • More competitions – watch this space
  • Some more displays. This could be in the form of stick flags, banners or any other sort of visual display. We are eager to get people’s ideas on this so please don’t be shy, and if you’re feeling creative don’t hesitate to make your own flags or banners.
Everything's Coming Up Mayo banner in MacHale Park, Castlebar

‘Everything’s Coming Up Mayo’ by Lorraine Kelly and Mike Kelly

How You Can Get Involved

Making Club ’51 a success takes time and effort, but it’s also great fun and the more people involved, the better. So if there’s anything you’d like to get involved with, or if you feel you can lend some expertise, we’d love to hear from you. Be that writing some guest posts, helping us on our social media sites, volunteering at our table quizzes or sponsoring some competition or quiz prizes, we’d be delighted to welcome you on board.

Bring your own flags, but we are also  looking for 4-5 people to become flag custodians and wave our flags on match days. We have a good few people on this front but still have some that need a good, caring home with regular matchgoers –  and an energetic arm!

That’s it for now …

  .. but keep an eye out for updates, and spread the word ( you can share our posts on Facebook, retweet us, get our logo tattooed on your face, or just tell people you meet).

And most importantly, get out those flags, warm up the vocal cords and play your part in becoming the 16th man this year.

Maigh Eo Abú!

Club ’51 Remembers

Club ’51 Remembers

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.

No egg


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.

Mayo v Sligo IT in Bekan FBD League 2014We 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.

Mayo v Sligo IT in Bekan FBD League 2014Anyway, 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.


2015 – A Club ’51 Odyssey

2015 – A Club ’51 Odyssey

Club ’51 takes a tongue-in-cheek look into the future and boldly predicts what no-one has before …. and probably never will again

Crystal Ball - Mayo Club 51 looks into the future.

January 2015 – Mayo exit the FBD league at the group stage. Leitrim are champions again.

February 2015 – Mayo lose both league games. In an exclusive interview with the Mayo News Aidan O’Shea promises that they will get better and are getting used to the new management team.

March 2015 – Monaghan are the surprise package of the National Football League division 1 and add to their points with a win against Mayo. Speaking exclusively to the Irish Times, Conor O’Shea insists the Mayo players are enjoying the change of emphasis brought about by the new management team.

April 2015 – Mayo escape relegation as Cork only beat Derry and Derry have failed to pick up a single point. Monaghan beat Tyrone in the National league final.

May 2015 – On a windy Tuesday night the stand in MacHale Park collapses.

June 2015 – Andy Moran and Alan Dillon both score two goals in Mayos Connacht semi final rout of Galway. Eugene McGee in the Sunday independent writes “the new management team kept faith with the old guard and this sets them up with a shot at their fifth Connacht title in a row”

Crystal Ball - Mayo Club 51 looks into the future.July 2015 – Tommy “Goals” Conroy and Evan Reagan combine for 3-10 as Mayo beat Roscommon in the Connacht final.  Eugene McGee writes “the introduction of this new blood is exactly the boost Mayo needed to seal their fifth Connacht title in a row and sets them up for a great tilt at the All-Ireland title”. Dublin are crowned kings of Leinster after a 4-15 to 0-2 humbling of Meath. Mayo draw the losing Munster finalists Kerry in the All Ireland series draw. Joe Brolly nearly wets himself on air at the thought of the mouthwatering Dublin vs Kerry final in the offing. James Horan speaking exclusively to the Western People insists that only now have the players finally gotten used to the new management team. Donegal are champions of Ulster once more and draw Connacht runners up Roscommon.

August 2015 – On the same day in Croke park Armagh and Mayo progress to the all Ireland semi final. Joe Brolly hails Armagh as the team to beat this year after their 2-1 to 1-3 victory over Dublin. Mayo edge Kerry by a single point 1-8 to 1-7 in a game blighted by cards in which both Keith Higgins and Killian Young get sent off. Pat Spillane is furious in the RTE studio calling the Mayo players masters of the dark arts and that they are a shower of hatchet men guided by a ruthless management team.

Late August 2015 – Mayo and Roscommon play out an epic semi-final in a packed Croke Park. A late Andy Moran point saves Mayo. The replay is set for Hyde park in Roscommon due to the 26 Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park, the renovation of Páirc Uí Caoímh, the hurling semi finals in Limerick and Thurles, the other semi being a draw as well, an under 12’s blitz in Salthill and the collapsed stand in MacHale Park. Nobody is surprised when it is later revealed that the Mayo County Board had agreed to this arrangement in the case of a draw. John Maughan is quoted in Horse & Hound magazine as not being sure if the Mayo panel have gotten used to this new management team. Armagh beat Donegal in the first ever All Ireland semi final replay held in Clones.

September 2015 – The Mayo team are struck down by an outbreak of food poisoning in their hotel in Westport in advance of the All Ireland replay in Roscommon. GAA President Aogan Farrell denies the Mayo request for a deferral of the replay by a week, insisting “Mayo should just get on with it if they know what’s good for them”. Mayo and Roscommon deliver another classic settled in the end by a point in extra time from the boot of Senan Kilbride . Writing in the Sunday Independent Eugene McGee insists “it has been obvious for the last 50 years that Mayo will never win another All-Ireland, I don’t know why they bother”. Speaking exclusively to the Connacht Telegraph John O’Mahony is quoted as saying “I don’t think the Mayo players ever got used to this new management team”.

Armagh are crowned all Ireland champions after a 2-11 to 0-4 thrashing of Roscommon. Joe Brolly declares Kieran Mc Geeney the greatest footballer, manager, Ulster man and Gael that ever lived. No Roscommon man makes RTE’s team of the year.

October 2015 – Roscommon do not get one All-Star.

November 2015 – No Roscommon man is picked for the Compromise Rules team.

December 2015 – Dublin are voted football team of the year by RTE.

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year

happy new year from all at Mayo Club 51

Wishing all Mayo GAA supporters, fans and everyone a very happy New Year 2015 from everyone here at Mayo Club ’51 HQ.

The 2015 Mayo GAA season gets underway this Saturday with our U-21s who are in action against Westmeath in St Loman’s, Mullingar, throw-in at 2 pm. (Double check venue in case of change before travelling). On Sunday, our senior team are out in their first competitive match of 2015 under new management team Noel & Pat. This first round of the FBD against NUIG throws in at 2 pm in MacHale Park Castlebar. Mayo Club 51 will of course be in attendance! We hope to see you all there and make sure to bring the noise and bring the colour!

2014 Mayo GAA Convention

2014 Mayo GAA Convention

The 2014 Mayo GAA Convention was held on Sunday 7th December in the Park Hotel, Kiltimagh.

2014 Mayo GAA convention

2014 Mayo GAA convention. Photo : Colm Gannon via Twitter @ColmGannon

The 2014 Mayo GAA Convention got underway at 12 noon on Sunday last the 7th December 2014 in the Park Hotel in Kiltimagh. Here’s a quick summary of the day’s proceedings.

The following officers were elected as follows:

  • Jim Fleming has re-elected as Mayo GAA President for 2014.
  • Mike Connolly has been elected as the new Mayo GAA chairman.
  • Seamus Tuohy has been elected as the new Mayo GAA vice-chairman.
  • JP Lambe has been re-elected as the Mayo GAA treasurer.
  • Ger McHugh has been elected as assistant treasurer. (According to Mayo GAA, an “issue arose” as PJ Monaghan “has not accepted the nomination for the Assistant Treasurer position and was not present at the convention”).
  • Aiden McLoughlin has been re-elected unopposed as the Mayo GAA PRO.
  • Sean MacEil has been elected as the Mayo GAA delegate to Central Council.
  • Paddy McNicholas and Gerry Burke have been elected as Connacht Council Delegates.

32 motions in total were put forward to convention by the various clubs in Mayo. Just two of the motions deal with intercounty issues.

34. That all All-Ireland Semi-Finals be played in Croke Park, without exception (Ballintubber). 
35. That the All-Ireland Senior football and hurling championship semi-finals and semi-final replays all be played in Croke Park and this is bearing in mind that the American football is scheduled to return to Croke Parke again in August 2016. (Castlebar Mitchels) (Kiltimagh). 

2014 Mayo GAA Accounts Summary


Source of Income 2014 2013
 Gate Receipts €341,763 €279,811
 Commercial Income €226,910 €258,373
 Fund Raising Activities €846,244 €827,834
 Other Income €235,968 €234,738
 Transfer Income €473,433 €517,738
 Total Income  €2,124,319  €2,118,858


Expenditure 2014 2013
 Match expenses €116,214 €131,763
 Teams Admin expenses €887,751 €906,789
 Grounds upkeep €78,163 €103,871
 Financial expenses €436,841 €478,240
 Admin expenses €81,460 €64,283
 Grants & subscriptions €6,500 €0
 Coaching & games development €337,956 €277,498
 Transfer payments €100,392  €87,259
 Total Expenditure  €2,045,277   €2,049,703
 Surplus for year € 79,042 €69,155 

Among other areas of interest at the Convention were the comments of incoming Chair Mike Connolly, who in his address suggested that there was a need for the Board to conduct its business in a more professional manner, admitting that in the past some communications have been ‘poor’. While acknowledging Mayo clubs as the best in the country, and the county’s supporters as “the best in the world”, he said he was disappointed at comments aimed towards the connection between his candicacy and his brother’s role as joint Mayo Senior Football manager. “All I can say to those people is they don’t know me and they don’t know my family”, he said. “The green and red of Mayo is in our veins. It’s that simple.”

According to the print edition of today’s Western People, there was much mirth when Jim Fleming pulled his own raffle ticket in the house draw to win dinner for two. “I’m just showing ye how it’s done”, he quipped through his blushes. Ger McHugh, for his part, gave a somewhat understated account of new manager Noel Connelly’s progress within the past year. “We appointed Noel as Hollymount Carramore’s Under 8 manager last February”, he said. “He’s made a fair bit of progress since then.”

The full convention report and the Mayo GAA financial report for 2014 can be viewed or downloaded here:

We at Club ’51 wish the new and the re-elected officers and all those who volunteer their time to further the cause of Mayo GAA all the very best for the 2015 season. Here’s to a new era, and we look forward to getting behind them and the Mayo teams in the new year in our renewed quest for All-Ireland glory. Maigh Eo Abú.

Mike Connolly and Ger McHugh, Mayo GAA

Mike Connolly and Ger McHugh pictured after their elections as Mayo GAA chairman and vice-treasurer. (Photo: Hollymount-Carramore on twitter @holly_carraGAA

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