We welcome Dublin fan Neil Franklin into our guest spot as we build up to the big match on Sunday.
I don’t know what my real attitude towards Mayo football is. I’ve never been excited by it in the way that I was excited by Down’s early 90s flair and swagger, or Galway’s late 90s version of the same qualities. I’ve never admired it in the way I admired Tyrone or Armagh’s defiance, I’ve never feared it in the way I feared Meath and Kerry. For a long time it barely registered on my radar. When it did, it came with baggage weighing it down, and it generally made for an uncomfortable watch.
On the day that Mayo demolished Donegal in the 2013 All-Ireland quarter-final, I began reading Keith Duggan’s book “House Of Pain”, finishing it three weeks later, the day before Mayo beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final. The aim of that book may not be to fill people from other counties with pity for Mayo, but unfortunately that is the inevitable outcome of reading it. Everybody wants Mayo to win an All-Ireland. The truth is, we want you to get it over with so we can stop feeling guilty about cheering against you.
But I’m also jealous of Mayo in some ways. That may sound strange coming from somebody from a county with 24 All-Ireland titles against Mayo’s mere three but to me, it’s rational. Kind of.
I’m jealous of what it must feel like to have a whole county unite and go into the Lion’s den and face Hill 16 and 50,000 Dubs in their own backyard. Jealous of being from a county where GAA is part of the fabric of everyday life in a way that it will never be in Dublin. Jealous of being part of a people and a cause in a way that we will never know. Jealous of being an underdog. Jealous of the chase.
Mayo people want to end the chase, and go back to being a normal county unencumbered by the nation’s pity and “God help us” tags. The chase can only be worthwhile if the prize is won.
Hill 16 – Dublin only?
The only insight I can gather into what it must feel like to be a Mayo person as Sam Maguire comes into view in the distance and then disappears yet again is from being a Liverpool fan in April 2014 as 24 years without a League championship promised to end in a glorious climax, and then blew up in a manner that left me feeling despairing, bitter, yet empty. It’s not the same though. Liverpool FC is a basically a television-inspired, one way love affair for me, not much more real than Taylor Swift or Jessica Alba. Mayo football to Mayo people is not that and never will be.
Dublin’s chase, the longest in the county’s history, lasted 16 years, exactly one quarter of the current length of Mayo’s.
Winning in 2011 was great. The manner of it was better, coming from behind as underdogs to overhaul your greatest rivals and beat them in the championship for the first time in 34 years.
I knew then and I know now that that was as good as it could ever get following the Dublin football team. The 2013 semi-final came damn close, but again, that was Kerry. Kerry are the one county who will always be able to waken even the most sated Dub from his well-fed sloth and turn them into a ravenous, bloodthirsty animal again.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the final. September 22nd of two years ago almost felt too perfect and ultimately, it could only disappoint. Closer to the shortest day than the longest, in most years it would have been the hottest day of the year, although perhaps not in that glorious summer of 2013.
I stood beside Donegal, Derry, Armagh and Tyrone people in previous years as they experienced the agonising final minutes before their first All-Irelands, so I’ve seen and even felt what it brings out in people. Being in opposition to that is a strange, conflicted feeling. There was a different kind of tension in the air in 2013 to 2011. I felt our tension and I felt Mayo’s tension as a group of Mayo supporters stood near me on Hill 16.
As Cillian O’Connor lined up that last free, it was difficult to know what to think. I didn’t know what I wanted to happen. Probably for one more play to be allowed and for Mayo to get a draw. That was not to be.
When Joe McQuillan blew the whistle from Stephen Cluxton’s kickout, there were celebrations, flares, flags and blue smoke, but it wasn’t like 2011. There was real disappointment and real emotion in close vicinity and it was hard not to feel some of it.
It’s hard not to laugh at Kerry and Kilkenny people who tell me they know disappointment too. Sure. They don’t even know what it felt like to be a Dublin supporter during our barren spell. Never mind Mayo, never mind counties who have never won the All-Ireland such as Monaghan.
Dublin people perhaps know more disappointment than Kerry or Kilkenny, but it’s still different for us. Winning does strange things to you. Winning when you have an almost obscene population and money advantage, and now talent advantage over virtually every county, as Dublin have, does even stranger things. Dublin should be winning and are winning. You find yourself becoming apathetic, bored almost, as the latest hapless victim lines up to be squashed like a bug. Every match in the cavernous new Croke Park, metaphorical tumbleweed blowing around the place, Dublin people fattened on success, some too bored by the sheer inevitability of it all to even bother clapping never mind cheering, the match day experience usually as stale as a loaf that left Oul’ Mr. Brennan’s factory a fortnight ago.
As a kid growing up, for me Dublin’s year generally revolved around one day – often the last Sunday in July, Leinster final day, sometimes earlier, in which case it would be the unofficial but real Leinster final day, when we would inevitably meet Meath. That day would determine whether the year was a success or a failure.
All this time we in Dublin would have considered Mayo not much more than a joke, a team that might have an outside chance of sneaking through to make up the numbers in the All-Ireland final in those triennial years when Connacht teams got the “soft” draw of the Ulster champions in the semi-final.
The things began to change. The GAA decided to give teams a second chance and rivalries and certainties blurred. Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Armagh and London came onto Dublin’s horizon. Kerry returned to it. And then, later, came Mayo. Respect wasn’t something that came naturally to Dublin people when they thought of Mayo. Mayo have had to earn Dublin’s respect.
The 2013 final was the apex of what is mainly a modern rivalry, but it is pockmarked by the far apart yet symmetrical semi-final meetings of 1955 and 1985 to which this year’s edition is the latest descendant. Both took place in the midst of decades in which Ireland was blighted by emigration and both ended in draws. The circle turns again.
1955 was a key year in Dublin GAA history. It was the first year of what we now know as “The Dubs”, the first time a Dublin football team made up entirely of Dubliners, most of them St. Vincent’s men, won a Leinster title. With Kevin Heffernan starring, a 20 point humiliation of Meath led to an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with an ageing Mayo team trying one more time to get back to the summit they had reached in 1950 and 1951. Although famous names such as Tom Langan, Paddy Prendergast and Sean Flanagan were still there, they were shorn of their star forward Padraic Carney, who had left for the USA the previous year to pursue his medical career. In rain and thunder and lightning that made conditions almost unplayable, the teams drew 1-4 to 0-7, Dublin eventually drawing level late on through Nicky Maher.
The replay went ahead in much better weather as the second part of a double-bill with Kerry and Cavan, who were also replaying their semi-final. This time Dublin took the initiative early and would never really lose it after Ollie Freaney’s first half goal cancelled out Jimmy Curran’s effort. Despite Curran’s efforts in hitting every score of Mayo’s 1-7 tally, Dublin’s 1-8 was enough to win by a single point. They would lose the final to Kerry, the first chapter in a storied rivalry which has rarely relented ever since.
The 1955 Clash
1985 is remembered mainly for two things – Padraig Brogan’s screamer of a goal in front of Hill 16 and John Finn having his jaw broken. A whole other article could probably be written about that, but we won’t go there …
The drawn game of 1985 was significant in that it marked the first, tentative step towards Mayo being a genuine national force in the game since the corresponding semi-final 30 years earlier. An eight point replay defeat turned out to be their lot, but the genesis of the 1989 final team was there in those matches. Again, Dublin lost the final to you-know-who. In fact all four Dublin-Mayo semi-finals since 1955 have seen the winner go on to lose the final.
The semi-final of 2006 was the day the modern day rivalry of Dublin and Mayo really began. Before the match had even started, farcical scenes almost reminiscent of a Benny Hill Show sketch had the crowd laughing and shouting angrily in equal measure.
Mayo weren’t the first team to warm up in front of Hill 16 in an All-Ireland semi-final. Tyrone did likewise in 1984, and subsequently were made to pay in a comprehensive beating.
But that was a Dublin team who were reigning All-Ireland champions and were never going to be undermined by such nonsense. In 2006 Mayo knew that while they weren’t a champion team, neither was it a champion team they were facing, but one with a soft underbelly which could be exposed. While it would be fatuous to claim it genuinely affected the result, Dublin having their territory claimed undoubtedly rattled them. It was the ridiculous prelude to the sublime as the game of the year and possibly the decade ensued.
It was Mayo’s day of blond ambition. Conor Mortimer led the way, but Ciaran McDonald’s contribution is undoubtedly the more enduring.
Like Mayo football as a whole, McDonald had to earn people’s respect. Now considered an almost mythical, mystical figure of Mayo football, a diffident, avant-garde, mysterious leftfield genius, it’s hard to believe that for a long time he was treated as a bit of joke figure. A flash harry, a “Swedish Maid”, as Joe Brolly once called him. That changed in 2004, shortly after Brolly made those comments during a Connacht championship clash with Galway. Mayo made the All-Ireland final where, despite McDonald’s not inconsiderable efforts, they were no match for Kerry, but skewered All-Ireland champions Tyrone along the way. That day McDonald made sure nobody would ever fail to take him seriously again.
Elverys beats Arnotts once again.
His performance in that semi-final against Dublin in 2006 seemed as extraordinary at the time as that Mayo team was ordinary, and a look back at the video confirms first impressions didn’t lie. McDonald controlled that game like a matador. In the midst of a Dublin whirlwind, he was like a Gaelic football equivalent of Maradona at the 1986 World Cup, controlling everything, dictating the tempo almost nonchalantly. And at the end, delivering the exquisite coup de grace.
But in truth, that 2006 semi-final was a battle to be runners-up to one of the best Kerry teams ever.
Things had moved on significantly by the time the 2012 semi-final came around, with a sprinkling of survivors on both sides peppering two largely new, and better teams, even if the match didn’t quite attain the all-time classic status of six years before. The flair of McDonald may not have iced Mayo’s cake this time, but it was clear that their power and pace were the framework of a more formidable overall unit.
In saying that, the Dublin of 2012 were not the Dublin of 2011, or 2013, feeling the hangover of All-Ireland success, Pat Gilroy unable to rouse them like he had been a year earlier. It was only the prospect of a humiliation that did so, but the roar when it came threatened to engulf Mayo. That last 20 minutes was one of the most devastating bursts of football that this Dublin team have produced, and had Bernard Brogan slotted a gilt-edged chance past David Clarke with five minutes left, the result would likely have gone the other way. He didn’t, Mayo advanced to another losing final and Brogan stored his disappointment up for 2013 when he would face a different Mayo goalkeeper.
The record shows that Mayo have always troubled Dublin. In those five times the counties have crossed paths since 1955, on the initial day there have been two draws, two Mayo wins, and a solitary Dublin win by one point, Dublin’s 1955 and 1985 replay wins coming by one and eight points respectively.
Which leads us to Sunday.
Dublin at times have looked unstoppable this year, and the league rout in Castlebar in March was one of those occasions. But lately, they’ve been looking vulnerable. Stephen Cluxton has been doing a fair impression of Iker Casillas at last year’s World Cup. Paul Flynn appears hampered by injury. Michael Darragh McAuley’s engine appears to be running on ordinary rather than premium at the moment.
Mayo people would be foolish to take any of that at face value. This is a champion Dublin team with the ability to explode.
Mayo’s early season form is now forgotten, their performance against Donegal as complete as any they’ve put in since 2011. James Horan did a superb job in his four years, but perhaps the fresh voices of Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes, who have won an All-Ireland under-21 title with many of this team, and a fresh role for Aidan O’Shea, can make the difference.
“Miles on the clock”, say the detractors, given that those under-21 players of 2006 are all around the 30 mark now. But if this was a Kerry team, it would be classed as vast experience, and that’s what it deserves to be classed as. Both teams have that experience and a superb, free flowing style at their best, and it’s as tantalising a clash as has been played in the football championship since the great Kerry and Tyrone teams of the last decade met in their two All-Ireland finals.
It’s rare to have a great atmosphere at Croke Park these days. League and Leinster championship matches there are usually a depressing prospect.
Sunday will be different. It’ll be full on and then some. Semi-finals generally provide the best atmosphere of any match in a given year, as Croke Park is filled with supporters from the competing counties rather than the large proportion of neutrals that attend the final. And for Dubs it yet again it provides the prospect of a moment which is exclusive to the patrons on Hill 16 (we’re like the good folk at Augusta, just noiser and with a more colourful vocabulary). Five times in the new Croke Park Dublin have lost semi-finals. On each of those occasions, at the final whistle, the roar that went up from the other three sides of the stadium has been incredible and genuinely spine tingling. Eerily quiet around you, the rest of Croke Park becomes deafening, a wall of noise that Phil Spector couldn’t reproduce. Horrible yet beautiful at the same time.
Few counties have a Dublin diaspora like Mayo. The pubs will fill with them from Saturday evening, and as I wait at my Dublin bus stop on the main road in from the West on Sunday morning, cars and buses zooming past with their green and red flags will signal the main invasion.
Not this photo again lads!?
Whereas in previous decades, Dublin supporters used to wait for the last Sunday in July, it’s now the last Sunday in August we wait for as the day when the real business begins. This is the type of day you wait all year for. But for both teams it’s only a bridge to September. For Mayo, the chase will continue past Sunday, either way.
The big dog versus the underdog.
Every underdog surely has his day eventually.
Neil Franklin loves hurling (especially the golden 90s era), soccer (especially Liverpool), darts, poetry, wine and song. If he had a paper cut he would bleed blue. Follow him on twitter at @hill16bhoy
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.
Programme cover for the Big Game via (@ConnachtGAA)
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.
Map via @MayoGAA
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).
The customary car shot. We’ve a special prize for anyone with a set of wheels to rival this mean machine
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 know the Mayo seniors will be fighting fit for the Connacht Final on July 19th, but what about you?
If you fancy stretching the legs, getting some fresh air and doing some hiking in one of Mayo’s most scenic areas, we have just the thing for you.
A group of Mayo people are planning a climb of Bengorm in the Nephin Beg range with an experienced local guide the day before this year’s Connacht Final. In what is now becoming a time-honoured tradition on mountains around the county (and beyond) before big games, they will plant a Mayo flag at the summit to support the ‘Drive for Five’.
That’s one hell of a flag … (Pic: @ChelsSince1970)
The climb is part of a plan to develop a new Mayo Walking Group, and over the coming months the new group will seek to attract people from all over Ireland to walk and climb in the beautiful surroundings of Mayo.
Anyone interested in joining the hike is welcome to turn up on the day.
Arrangements as follows:
- The group will meet in Kelly’s Kitchen in Newport at 11am on Saturday 18th July, leaving for Bengorm at approximately 11.20am. There will be short drive to the start point, but if you don’t have a car, there will be transport provided to and from Newport.
- There will be an experienced local guide present
- There is no need to register and anyone interested can just show up on the morning.
- There is no cost involved.
- Bring everything you would need – good boots, waterproofs, suncream, lunch, water etcc – for a long hike. There will be no walking equipment provided on the day.
Participants are advised that the hike is a four-hour round trip, and will be challenging, but if you are reasonably fit, you will be well able for it. If the weather isn’t great, there is a back-up walk arranged – called the Letterkeen loop, which is enjoyable in any kind of weather.
Any queries, please give us a shout here on the page or on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll put you in touch with the organisers.
Hope to see a few of you there!
It’s nearly time, it’s nearly time! Has 10 weeks ever felt so long? But finally the Mayo team has been named and we are just 48 hours from throw-in in the 2015 Connacht Senior Football Championship.
Before you start decorating the car, making the sandwiches and ironing the jersey for Galway v Mayo 2015, here is your customary list of Things Worth Knowing Before You Leave The House, courtesy of Club ’51.
First things first – Our Hurlers Need You!
The football is what we’re all talking about, but our senior hurlers are also playing on Sunday, in an absolutely crucial game as they take on Roscommon in the Nicky Rackard/Christy Ring promotion/relegation play-off before the football. If we win, we stay in the Christy Ring, if Roscommon win, we go down. This is a huge game for our hurlers, who are lining out without one of their best players, Keith Higgins who is of course captaining the footballers.
UPDATE: Throw-in is at 1.30pm (not 1.45pm as previously thought) in Pearse Stadium – let’s try and get a decent crowd in there to get behind our lads who put in a serious amount of effort every year with limited resources and support to wear the Green and Red. (And there is the added bonus of a prospective win over the Rossies – never a bad thing, right?)
Pearse Stadium isn’t the biggest in the world, so if you haven’t got your hands on tickets yet, it might not be a bad plan to do so in advance. The stand is sold out, but terrace tickets are still available on Tickets.ie, and in selected Centra and Supervalu outlets around the county. All ticketing details are on the Connacht GAA website here. There will also be tickets available at the gate, but get there early.
The Night Before
For those of you making a weekend of it (or indeed those of you exiled in the City of the Tribes) the Mayo Association Galway are holding a social event on Saturday evening in Ward’s Hotel, Lwr. Salthill, Galway, throwing in at 8.30pm.
According to P.J. King, Chairperson, Muintir Mhaigh Eo Gaillimh:
“It will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and a chance to meet up with some former Mayo GAA greats who, will be recalling past battles and giving their opinion on next week’s contest.”
Host for the night will be proprietor of Ward’s Hotel and legendary Moygownagh man, Anthony Finnerty, who will be busy on the barbeque for the evening. Come prepared or a late night and an early morning!
Getting There And Parking
Make no mistake about it, driving and parking on matchday in Salthill is a bit of a dose. Here are some ways you can avoid the headaches of parking and tailbacks.
- Arrive early and go to the hurling. (See above.)
- Use the Park and Ride services. Galway County GAA are operating this service once again from Carnmore Airport Carpark, starting at 12 noon and will run every half hour. The return costs are €4 per Adult and €3 per Child, with a Family Bus Ticket for two parents and two children (under 16) at €10. Those buses will travel on the City Bus Lanes. Patrons will be dropped off at the Western Distributor Roundabout, within walking distance of Pearse Stadium and collected back at the Roundabout after the Football Game, from 5.30 p.m.
- Car Parks: Coláiste Éinde on Threadneedle Road, St. Mary’s College on St. Mary’s Road, the Galway Technical Institute on Fr. Griffin Road, are all within walking distance of Pearse Stadium. Various other public and private carparks are also available, throughout the city and are adjacent to the public bus services to Salthill.
- Bus Eireann are running their regular City Sunday service, from outside the AIB Bank, Eyre Square, commencing at 10am. Passengers wishing to travel from the east side of the city can use the Bus Eireann regular 409 Parkmore service, which operates every 30 minutes on Sundays, from Parkmore via Dublin Road. It can be boarded at all bus stops along the Dublin Road, from the Castlegar Community Centre into Eyre Square, for connection to the Salthill buses.
- Walk the Prom with Mindspace Mayo. As part of the Mayo GAA collaboration with the HSE’s #LittleThings campaign, why not join the 2.5km walk along the Prom, leaving from the Claddagh Hall at 1pm to Pearse Stadium? Leave your car in town, get some fresh air and exercise and guess what? You’ll be there just in time for the hurling!
- The Radisson Blu Hotel are offering free parking for the day to anyone who has lunch in the hotel beforehand. You can contact them on 091538300.
- There will be some road closures in place, including Dr. Mannix Road in Salthill near the ground (we’ll update this post with more info when we have it).
Club ’51 Meet-Up
We know this is the part you’ve all been waiting for, don’t deny it. In fairness, it’s the best part of the day really.
Club ’51 will be doing what most other Mayo supporters in Salthill will be doing and congregating at Ward’s Hotel on Sunday morning before the games. We’ll be there from about 12pm so if you’re about, be sure and call in for the chats and the craic. More than likely, we’ll be found there afterwards too, hopefully celebrating an emphatic victory, as opposed to drowning our sorrows.
Ward’s Hotel is approximately 15 minutes’ walk from Pearse Stadium:
Discounts on the Day
We have it on good authority that a number of restaurants, shops, cafés and bars will be offering discounts on Sunday from 12pm, so keep your eyes peeled. We’ll add any details here as we get them.
Do not do what we did in Salthill in 2009. Just do not. The weather is promised good, so lash on the Factor 30 for the love of god. You don’t want to end up looking like this lad, do you?
Bring Your Flags
We can’t say this enough! There is nothing to beat the colour and atmosphere you’ll get with flags and banners and the Mayo Roar on championship day.
The Galway supporter’s club is giving out free Galway flags outside Pearse Stadium on Sunday.We’d love to do that, but we don’t have the resources so please bring your own flags on Sunday and let’s TURN PEARSE GREEN AND RED.
Keep an eye out for these guys on your travels. Galway 2020 is the group behind the campaign to get Galway to be the designated European Capital of Culture in 2020. As you’d expect, with such a strong Mayo contingent in the city, there’s a strong Mayo presence in the team involved in putting together the bid. In an effort to get the West of Ireland involved, they will be out on the streets on Sunday promoting their #IBackGalway campaign. Be sure and say hello. Mind you, this could get confusing … remember, on Sunday, until 5.30pm you are really only backing MAYO.
Enjoy The Day!
We don’t need to tell you this, twice, we’re sure. Maigh Eo Abú!