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.
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!
So it’s back to Croker again for us and the planning is well underway. “To stay the night or do a day trip?” – that is the question.
It follows what has been a fairly good league campaign, it has to be said. A shaky enough start with some very good individual displays and of course, we all met some new and friendly faces. Yesterday was a hectic one as we broke out our new flags for the first time. A few of you were asking us where they came from – www.flagmanireland.ie has been our supplier thus far and, in fairness, he has produced some quality gear in some very tight time frames!
Mayo Fans @ Mayo v Derry. Mayo Club 51 new flags.
And also, Michael Lyster and Eamonn O’Hara were fortunate enough to get their photos taken with some of Club ’51. We were in a rush, but being the good people that we are, we decided it wouldn’t be fair to say no after they asked. You’re welcome lads!
And then some of the players wanted in.
“Fair enough *sigh*. But make it quick”.
And we also presented our brand new and exclusive Club ’51 t-shirt to our first ever competition winner, Lorraine Kelly! She got this for designing a banner that we hope to get made up soon, which can be seen here. Well done Lorraine!
Anne Marie Flynn is pictured above trying to take the shirt off Lorraine. While we agree it’s a very nice shirt, we don’t condone such behaviour.
So it’s onto Croker again for the green and red. A big thanks to everyone who helped hang flags, fly flags, bake cupcakes, take pictures and simply contribute to the good feeling yesterday, and also to the players who were great sports. Here’s hoping we’ll be planning again this time next week.
Courtesy of AnnMarie Kenny. And they were class!
See ye Sunday!
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!