Well here we are again, and not before time! The Championship is of course what we all live for, but jaysus, the breaks between games can feel like decades rather than weeks. But anyway it’s Connacht Final weekend again, and as usual the crew at Club ’51 have pulled together (nearly) everything you need to know (and loads of stuff you probably don’t) before you pack the sandwiches and rain gear and head for the Drive for Five in the Hyde.
Throw-in is at 4pm. We are playing Sligo. We are going for our fifth Connacht title in a row, for the second time in our history, a feat we have not managed for over 100 years. But you knew all that already. The minor game between Sligo and Galway throws in at 2pm. If the thrashing Galway doled out to our boys is anything to go by, Sligo will want to be on top form, cos the men in maroon are gooood. This will be worth getting in early for.
We were going to write a small ode to Dr. Hyde Park here, but we didn’t, because none of us could think of a single good thing to say about the place. Apart from the fact that the graveyard in the next field is our favourite part. Anyway, we’re going to the Hyde, which despite being only the third-best ground available, it is by far the best choice to promote harmony among all three sets of supporters, who will unite in shared misery while standing in the lengthy queues for the portaloos.
(Of course this is tongue in cheek, because logistically the venue probably does make more sense than Galway (we won’t mention our own all-seater stadium with excellent access lying idle), but on that note, it’s worth mentioning that on foot of a number of queries we got here from Mayo supporters, we emailed Connacht GAA last week with what we thought were some fairly reasonable questions about how exactly the venue for the game was decided, why season ticket holders could not be accommodated this year, what work had been done in Hyde Park to rendering it safe for the game and why no stand tickets were available for public purchase. Needless to say, we’re still waiting for a reply. Sorry about that folks. But the main thing now is that there is a big game to be won, so on we trot.)
Just to note that if you’re a season ticket holder, you will not have a seat in the stand this time, so bring waterproof clothing and sunblock (it is 372 times more likely to rain over Hyde Park than it is over the rest of Roscommon, but you’ll still get sunburnt) and if you have a delicate backside, bring a cushion for the concrete slab you’ll be sitting on. If you’re lucky enough to have a stand ticket, try not to be too smug. If you’re on the terraces, bring a brolly and a canoe. Oh, and no matter where you are sitting, it’d be no harm to stick a bog roll in your bag, just in case. But the craic will be mighty, which is the main thing.
Gates open at 1pm on Sunday.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ALERT! Holders of tickets for the stand and the seated area will ONLY be permitted to enter Dr Hyde Park from the entrance on the Golf Links Road. PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN ADVANCE.
Tickets are in short supply, but we are giving away two tickets to the Connacht final with thanks to Elverys – head on over to our Facebook page to enter. Be quick – entry closes at lunchtime tomorrow!
Use public transport if you can. Roscommon Town, in fairness to it is well serviced by bus and train. Be sure and wave as you pass to all the Rossies sadly looking out their windows at the happy Mayo, Sligo and Galway fans making their way to Dr. Hyde Park. But the thought of that All-Ireland they are going to win soon will no doubt be some consolation. (We know, we’re going to hell. See you there.)
Irish Rail are putting on an additional service from Westport to accommodate supporters travelling to the match. If you’re from near Ballina or Foxford, you’ll have to get the regular train and spend an hour waiting for the connection in Manulla junction. The train will serve all Mayo stops before arriving in Ros.
Patrons are advised to book online as priority will be given to online bookings.
From Mayo: To book a seat from Keel, Achill Sound, Mulranny or Newport phone Michael on 0857689844. The bus departs from lovely Keel at 10am.
NOTE: If anyone knows of any other bus services departing from elsewhere in the county, please let us know and we’ll add them in.
UPDATE: From Dublin: We’ve been told that The Premier Coaches service due to leave from Central Bank at 10.30am) and Liffey Valley at 10.45am) has been cancelled due to a lack of demand.
If you’re driving, leave early to avail of parking facilities and to avoid unnecessary swearing while stuck in traffic.
Those of you travelling from the Sligo direction are advised to travel to Dr Hyde Park via the N4 to Carrick on Shannon, R368 to Strokestown via Elphin, N5 eastbound to Scramogue Cross turning right on the R371 for Ballyleague /Lanesboro, turning right on to the N63 to Roscommon Town.
Patrons travelling from Mayo are advised to travel to Dr Hyde Park via the N5 to Tulsk , turning right at Tulsk on the N61 to Roscommon Town. Mayo Patrons may also utilise the N60 to Roscommon Town via Castlerea. All supporters are advised to allow time for traffic delays.
As always, we like to promote car pooling where possible, so if you’re stuck for a lift or if you can offer a lift please get in touch and we’ll do our best to sort you out (it’s also in the unwritten contract to contribute some petrol money!).
Two traffic diversions will be implemented as required, the first diversion will operate via the L1808/0 on the N60 to N61 with traffic turning left on to the N61 travelling to Colteige Cross turning right on to the L1805/0 crossing the N63 travelling via Kilteevan on the L1806 to the N61 at Carrageen’s for traffic travelling east. This diversion will operate in reverse for travelling west.
The second diversion will operate from the Donamon junction L1629/0 with the N60 to the junction of the L1818/0 turning left into the village of Castlecoote and into Roscommon Town via the R366. This diversion will operate in reverse for travelling west. All diversion routes will be clearly signposted.
(If you’re like us, none of this actually will mean anything to you until you get there, so we’ll just refer you to our earlier advice – leave early).Parking
According to the Garda Traffic Management Plan there are 18 unsupervised car parks available in the vicinity of Dr Hyde Park. (Approx 2000 spaces). No traffic will be permitted to leave the car park at Hyde Park for a period after the games, in order to allow foot patrons leave the area safely, and no Traffic will be permitted to enter Roscommon Town for one hour post match. Parking restrictions will operate on the N61 on the west & east bound sides of the carriageway and also on both sides of the Circular Road in its entirety. Illegally parked vehicles will be impounded, towed to a Garda compound in Roscommon town or clamped and will be liable to a fine of €130.00. Or you’ll just be mortified by the PA in Hyde Park calling out your car reg.
There are special needs parking facilities on the public streets within the environs of Dr Hyde Park. Special needs parking is also available at Dr Hyde Park Entrance via vehicle entrance 2 on the Athlone Road (N61).
End of Game Crowd Movement:
Due to a crowd management plan on the Athlone Road/County Home Road in the vicinity of the Dr. Hyde Park, patrons leaving the Covered Stand and seated Stand areas of the stadium are requested by the Gardaí to use routes other than Athlone Road as they depart Dr Hyde Park. This is for Health & Safety and ease of movement reasons.
If we manage the Five In A Row, leaving the venue in a conga line is optional but desirable.
The Supporters – that’s YOU
Sunday is a special day. We know it’s fair to say that Mayo supporters’ attentions might be focused on the All-Ireland series, but it’s an absolutely massive day for Sligo fans having two teams in the final and for ourselves, going for the five in a row is something to be proud of – never mind that ould “sure Connacht isn’t competitive” ráiméis; there have been games along the way that have been damn hard won – and it’s a testament to our team and management that we have managed this level of consistency. Five would be sweet!
As always, we are asking every person or at least every family to bring the colour, bring the noise and make a Sea of Green and Red. Every single person can contribute to the atmosphere by joining in a chant or bringing a flag to the game. Your effort counts!
Season ticket supporters: Club 51 will be gathering in the back row of the sideline seats right in front of the stand – if you are sitting in this area, please bring a flag to fly during the parade and join us for a bit of craic, to make some noise and to get behind the lads.
Here’s to the Five in a Row, and to more of these golden days ahead.
MAIGH EO ABÚ!
PS: Don’t forget about the pre-Connacht final hike starting from Newport tomorrow – all are welcome, and all details are here.
We welcome all feedback and participation, so if you have any ideas or suggestions and would like to contribute to the group, drop us a line - we’d love to hear from you. Follow us on Twitter.