Damien Kelly, Boffeenaun, Ballina & the flag in Tiananmen Square with General Mao & the Forbidden City in the background.
Route 51 just got a little bit longer. We sent Damien Kelly from Bofeenaun to China to get us these iconic photos at Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall*. Mayo people overseas who wish to have a photo with our flag in some exotic place preserved for all time on this site please get in touch with us.
Many Thanks to Damien and to Tanya Culleton.
*Damien may have had other reasons for making this trip.
Damien Kelly, Boffeenaun, Ballina & the flag on the Great Wall of China.
Another inter-county season comes to a close, and Kerry are champions again. I’m not sure what to think of that to be honest, but it is what it is. It was a season of mixed emotions. Nerves, pride, anger, sadness – we had it all. But it’s behind us now. January just can’t come quick enough.
As we all know by now, Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes have been installed as the next management team to take our lads forward. There are also reports suggesting that Donie Buckley and Ed Coughlan are staying on in their positions. This would be a terrific boost and would add to some much-needed continuity for this side. We know the new managers Noel and Pat will represent us brilliantly like they did with many of the current group back in 2006 and we wish them all the luck in the world.
Yesterday’s game in Croke Park drew the curtain down on the 2014 season and while we didn’t land the main prize, our own Cillian “Not a Marquee Forward” O’Connor finished the season as top scorer for the second year in a row. That’s a terrific achievement for someone who was still playing U21 football last year! Well done Cillian. The second of many, I’m sure.
In Club ’51 news, we’re extremely proud to announce that we have made the finals of The Blog Awards Ireland 2014 in TWO separate categories: Best Sports Blog and Best Newcomer Blog. We are thrilled to bits and we want to thank absolutely everybody who has contributed to the site in any way since we kicked off in late December. We’d like to invite everybody and anybody to join us on the 4th October at the Westgrove Hotel, Clane, Co. Kildare for the main event. You can get tickets here. There is an 80s theme for the night too, so bring your best 80s Mayo clobber and we’ll have ourselves a right party!
There’s plenty of GAA action to keep us going this weekend, too. On Saturday at MacHale Park, Noel Connelly’s Hollymount/Carramore side take on Belmullet in the county intermediate semi-final replay (note, this game is NOT in Limerick) with Ballyhaunis awaiting the winners in the final. On Sunday, Mayo and Connacht Champions Castlebar Mitchels continue to defend their crown when they come up against Garrymore in the senior semi-final at 2pm and that’s followed by the second semi-final: a mouthwatering clash between Knockmore and Ballintubber.
That should bridge the gap nicely for another week at least, so get up to MacHale Park and enjoy the show!
In the meantime, we’re off to compile a list for our potential acceptance speech.
Well… Well, well, well… We see some familiar faces here today. Some welcome… Some not so welcome.
Enjoy the weekend!
We’re delighted to welcome Gerry in Laois to the hot seat this week, where he’s giving the last rallying call to the troops before tomorrow. Read and obey!! Take it away Gerry …
I think by now we have made our feelings pretty clear on the semi-final replay débâcle. Willie Joe summed it up quite succinctly on Tuesday when he observed that in the eyes of the top brass at Croke Park:
“We truly are Children of a Lesser God.”
But that’s the hand we have been dealt. it’s a crappy one, but one we now have to play. I think we must now grab this opportunity to turn adversity into advantage.
The Gaelic Grounds has a capacity of about 50,000 or so, and this game will probably be a sell-out. We easily outnumbered the Kerry fans the last day, about 4-1 by my reckoning. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the crowd photo taken for eircom.ie/gaa and compare the number of Mayo and Kerry jerseys on show. We won’t have this advantage on Saturday, given Limerick’s proximity to Kerry. (You all have your tickets by now, I hope?!) But that doesn’t mean that we can’t own the joint for the evening and turn this into a de facto home game.
We know all our players give everything to the cause. There is no place for passengers on any top-class team, and on Saturday, there will be no place for passengers in the stands either. If you want to come to the match and just sit and observe in silence, may I respectfully suggest that you use your Sky+ or UPC box for that purpose. We are going to Limerick to do a job, and that is to let our lads know that they have the best supporters in the country backing them all the way.
Last Sunday when the chips were down we did ourselves proud, both on the field and in the stands. The colour and raucous noise were a joy to behold and you could see that it gave the lads a lift, and helped them to go that little bit further and get those vital scores. We need to do that again on Saturday evening from before the match even starts, right to the very end.
Bring as much colour as possible. Flags, jerseys, hats, whatever you can find. If you don’t have anything to hand, look in the hot press and see if you can find two pieces of red and green material and stitch them together. We have immense pride in our county colours, so let’s make the Gaelic Grouds a #seaofgreenandred.
(Photo: James Crombie/INPHO)
The smaller ground means we will be closer to the action, so if we can replicate the noise levels from Croke Park last Sunday, we will have this place rocking. Make sure to be in place well before throw-in. When the stadium announcer reads out the Mayo team names, let us roar out our approval in unison, for every single name. As loud as we can, so that they hear it in the dressing rooms. Then before the teams emerge, we start a chant. Bring anything along that will make a bit of noise – horns, bodhrans, whatever. Stamp your feet as you chant. Can you imagine the effect that would have on our lads as they’re coming out of the dressing room? Hearing tens of thousands of feet stamping in unison and the chant “MAYYYY-OH! MAYYYY-OH! MAYYYY-OH!”
And then when they emerge, we raise the roof.
All through the game, we keep going. We cheer not just every score, but every time a Mayo hand touches the ball. Every pass completed, every kick-out secured, every turnover won, every broken ball won, every free won, every Kerry shot blocked, we shake the rafters. (OK, I know there are rafters and a roof on one side of the pitch only, but you know what I mean!) If it’s not going our way, we keep urging our lads on even more. If it looks like the ref is giving a few too many soft frees to Kerry, we get on his case. If you find yourself behind the Kerry bench, roar even louder so that their players can’t hear their instructions.
If you still have any anger or frustration in you from Sunday, this will help you vent it. Don’t worry if you lose your composure and end up looking like Steve Ballmer, because the result will be worth it. We played Kerry up a stick with fourteen men on the field last Sunday and the equivalent of at least two or three more in the stands. Imagine what we could do with our full fifteen and the same again or more from the stands?
And when it’s all over, and everyone is celebrating our third consecutive All-Ireland Final appearance in one of Limerick’s fine hostelries, we sing with one voice:
“You can stick your American Football up your arse, up your arse!”
MAIGH EÓ ABÚ
No matter which way you look at it, it’s pretty fair to say that the good old GAA has shafted us a bit this time out by packing ourselves and Kerry off to Limerick for the replay of the All-Ireland semi-final. In a decision that has angered pretty much everyone but Liam “Get On With It” O’Neill (who just couldn’t resist getting personal when Mayo raised objections), both sets of supporters are set for an almighty scramble for both tickets and car parking next Saturday. Plenty has been said about the decision, but we’re now at a point where protest is pointless, and our focus now needs to turn very firmly to getting behind the team at 5pm on Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds.
With that in mind, and also bearing in mind it’s not a ground most Mayo supporters are likely to be familiar with, we have once again pulled together some information for you on how to get there and where to park (if you’re driving). What we can’t help you with is getting out of Limerick after the game, but we’d strongly recommend you have a full tank of petrol and a mixtape at the ready ‘cos those tailbacks are going to be some craic on 8pm on Saturday night.
Anyway, here goes:
Travelling by Car?
If you’re taking the car, we have two magic words for you. Leave early! There’s no two ways about it – traffic will be chaotic, especially on the Mayo side. So leave yourself plenty of time. And consider car pooling as much as possible to cut down both on your costs and the traffic burden!
There will be two major bottlenecks – Claregalway and Clarinbridge. The former is difficult to get through on any day of the week. To avoid it, you can do the following:. Take the left turn just before the Mystical Rose Nursing Home, Knockdoe. Cross over the main Roscommon Road and continue for about 1.5 miles. Take a right at Cregmore school and you’ll exit onto the N18 close to Carnmore Cross. Roads are narrow here, so take care.
As for Clarinbridge, if you head out the old Dublin road, you can take the right turn for Kilcolgan at Craughwell – the roads aren’t great, but it’s an option to avoid that particular bottleneck.
Update: ROAD SAFETY WARNING Thanks to Angela Coll for this information – Will you let your supporters know that are driving to Limerick please note the following:
On the Gort to Limerick motorway (Ennis bypass) the road between Exit 15 (Crusheen) and Exit 14 (Barefield), that when the road is wet (as it possibly will be this weekend) it is very dangerous stretch of motorway with numerous accidents. Clare Co Co have asked the NRA to investigate why there are always accidents on that stretch of road when it’s raining
Please please slow down for that 15 minute stretch of road… Arrive alive!
Update: There’s a fair on in Clarinbridge too, so if you are travelling through, be prepared for delays.
UPdate: Castlegar GAA is organising 100k Steps for Cormac in aid of Pieta House which is starting at 1.30pm and will be passing through Clarinbridge.
- Follow the road down from Ennis (N18), pass Bunratty Castle on your left
- Leave the N18 at junction 4, then at roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the R445 (signposted Limerick City Centre)
- At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445
- And at the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445 (signposted Limerick).
- Continue forward onto Ennis Road – R445
- At Coonagh Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ennis Road – R445 (signposted City Centre, Dublin N7)
- At traffic signals continue forward onto Ennis Road – R857
- The Gaelic Grounds will be on your left.
Coming from Dublin isn’t too bad – it’s motorway the whole way – so when you get to Limerick, stay on the motorway and just follow the signs for Galway until you see the sign for Thomond Park/Gaelic Grounds on your left.
Parking is difficult, as there is very little near the ground. We have been advised that parking in housing estates is not wise -there is a danger of clamping so best to stick to the official (or indeed, unofficial) car parks, listed below:
Car Parks In Limerick
- Arthurs Quay car park: Sunday 10am to 8pm.
- Aviary car park: 24hrs. Dock Sd behind Domino’s Pizza.
- Barringtons car park: 7am to 7pm. Sheep St, beside Barringtons hospital.
- City Centre car park: Thomas St.
- Cornmarket Square car park: Upper Denmark St.
- Ellen St car park: Ellen St.
- Euro Car park: Charlotte’s Quay.
- Howley’s multi story car park: Henry St.
- Q-Park car park: Denmark St.
- Q-Park Harvey’s Quay: Henry St.
- Steamboat Quay car park: Steamboat Quay, Dock Rd.
- Summer Street Car Park: Summer St.
- The Potato Market car park: Merchant’s Quay.
- Also consider the Jetland Shopping Centre car park (Dunnes/Woodies) on the Ennis Road (take the exit for Caherdavin),
- Tesco at Coonagh Cross just off the Ennis Road – both are 10-15 minutes walk to the ground.
- Update: Na Piarsaigh GAA club is located close (1km) to the Gaelic Grounds and is opening up their parking (and bar) facilities. There are roughly 50 spaces – first come, first served.
- Update: Limerick Institute of Technology on Cratloe Rd, will be open for parking (at a fee) from approximately 2pm on Saturday. LIT Campus is a 3 – 5 minute walk from the Gaelic Grounds.
- Update: Limerick Camogie are opening a car park at Coonagh – €5 parking
- Update: Shannon RFC will have limited secure parking in Thomand Park which is 10 min walk from the Gaelic Grounds. The bar in the clubhouse will be open for the day.
Here are the car park locations in Limerick in relation to the Gaelic Grounds (click on map to view full screen)
Car parks near the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Other things to note:
- Update: The Limerick Pride Parade takes place at 2pm on Saturday in the city and there will be rolling road closures along the route from 1.30pm. It’ll be a riot of colour and fun so if you’re in the city be sure to try and catch it.
- Update: UL Graduation Ceremonies are also taking place over the weekend, so there is likely to be some extra traffic around the city there too.
- Update: We have it on good authority that Corrib Oil in Gort are offering free tea/coffee for drivers with their Mayo colours on- another reason to festoon yourselves in green and red!
- Update: No need to worry about the road works between Ardrahan and Kilcolgan – Galway County Council have confirmed that the road will be fully open.
- Update: Traffic notice from Limerick City Council: “Limerick City & County Council wish to advise Motorists, Road Users and Match Attendants (sic) that local traffic and parking prohibitions and road closures will operate on the Ennis Road (R857) and adjacent to the Gaelic Grounds on the Ennis Road, Limerick from 2pm on Saturday 30th August 2014. Match attendants are strongly advised to travel early and to park on and off street in and adjacent to the city centre and to allow ample time to walk to the Gaelic Grounds. Special off street match parking tariffs including overnight parking will be available at city centre car parks. Match attendants are advised that obstructive vehicle parking will be subject to tow away operations.
Park & Ride In Limerick
This is a facility run by Limerick Park and Ride (Mike Hynan Coaches) where you can leave your car at a hotel and get a shuttle bus to the Gaelic Grounds – handy if you don’t want the hassle of finding parking near the grounds. Parking is free at all three hotels, and seats on the buses are allocated on a first come, first served basis – so again, get there early, grab a bite to eat and hop on.
- For those of you coming from Mayo direction, the Radisson Hotel service on the Ennis Road will start at 2pm. Cost: €6 return.
- For those coming from Dublin, the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel Dublin Rd. from 2pm, return straight after match. Cost: €6 return
- And for those of you making the trip from the south,Woodlands House Hotel Adare leaves at 3pm, return straight after match. But beware, you’re likely to be outnumbered by the Yerras! Cost: €10 return.
Please Note: Wheelchair accessible transport must be pre-booked – you can call Hynan Coaches on 061 381700 or email them here.
Update: Durty Nelly’s Park and Ride
This sounds like something else altogether, but lest there be any doubt, it’s a pub, offering transport to the game! There will be buses leaving Durty Nelly’s Pub at Bunratty Castle from 2.30 to 3.30pm, dropping off at Ivan’s, close to the Gaelic Grounds, and pick-up at the designated area. Price: €15 return and this includes a main course (Burger & Chips, Fish & Chips or Cajun Chicken). No booking is required, and the meal can be claimed before or after the game. Tickets for the park and ride service on sale in Durty Nelly’s on the day.
Update: Park and Ride from the City Centre:
Bus Eireann are running shuttle buses from the Limerick Bus Station on Parnell St. and from Henry St (near Dunnes Stores). These will run from approx. 2pm.
Travelling by Bus?
Please note: There are lots of private operators departing on Saturday and offering good deals direct to Limerick. Mayo Club ’51 strongly advises that you contact the bus operators directly first to book and confirm times of departure.
- TMG Transport : Leaving The Gateway Swinford Contact 094 9252156 or 087-8505045
- Corduff Travel : travelling from Belmullet & Ballina. Contact 097-88949
- Update: Treacy Coaches : Leaving Ballina at 12pm. Booking essential – Contact 096-22563
- Gillespie Coaches : Leaving Crossmolina 11am & stopping in Ballina. Contact 085-7646523
- Malachy Gaughan Coaches : Leaving Belmullet. Contact 097 81243
- Update: Lavan Coaches Kiltimagh – Buses departing from Post Office, Kiltimagh at 1pm and returning after the game. Booking essential – contact 086 867 6737 or 087 260 8852.
- Update: Moran’s Coaches, Ballyhaunis – leaving the Square in Ballyhaunis at 11.45am, €15 return. Booking advised – call 094 9630346.
- Update: Melletts Bus Swinford – Leaving Melletts pub Swinford at 11am sharp, booking advised, only 8 seats left – call 087 2573752.
- Bus Eireann – best to give them a call about Expressway services, or check out their timetables online.
If you’re aware of any other operators going from Mayo, please get in touch with details and we’ll add them in.
- Dublin Coach – departs hourly from D’Olier St from 06.45 daily, and returns hourly on the half hour from Limerick City Centre (Arthur’s Quay) until for €20 return, but the last bus leaves at 20.45.
- JJ Kavanagh Coaches – depart frequently from Dublin – but again, you won’t get the last bus on Saturday as it leaves at 17.15. Call 0818 333222 for details.
- Bus leaving from Carrick-on-Shannon early on Saturday morning. Call Mary Keenan on 0872073633 for further details.
Travelling By Train?
Train transport down the west coast isn’t exactly the best, but there are options.. Don’t even attempt to go from Mayo by train, but from other places, it might be worth considering. Irish Rail are offering special fares on their website as follows:
- From €5.99* each way from Galway, Oranmore and Athenry
- From €9.99* each way from Banteer
- From €10.99* each way from Milstreet and Rathmore
- From €11.99* each way from Killarney
- From €12.99* each way from Farranfore
- From €13.99* each way from Tralee
- From €14.99* each way from Dublin
Update: Extra Train to the All-Ireland Football Semi-Final Replay in Limerick
- Depart Galway 12.15hrs
- Oranmore: 12.24hrs
- Athenry: 2.35hrs
- Arr. Limerick 14.04hrs
Return train departs Limerick at 20.25hrs (8.25pm)
There is free parking in Oranmore Train Station for those who take the train (140 spaces). If any of you do decide to take the train, and manage to avail of the fares above, let us know!
Book on this page.
Travelling By Air?
Bringing your own plane? Hey, there’s always one! If you are planning on bringing your private jet, give these guys a call!
We hate to break it to you, but you’ve left it a bit late to sort out your accommodation if you want to stay in Limerick on Saturday night. You’ll be doing well to find somewhere to lay your head at this point, especially as half of Croke Park had their beds booked from their smartphones before leaving the ground on Sunday, but other options worth considering are breaking the journey and stopping off in Ennis or Galway and making a night of it.
Gaelic Grounds seating plan (click on map to view full screen)
Gaelic Grounds Seating Plan
If you haven’t got a season ticket, or obtained one through your club, there are still some available online here, for collection at the Gaelic Grounds – but you’ll need to move quickly. If you’re looking to buy, sell, or swap, use our ticket swap forum on our website (you’ll need to register first). Alternatively, contact us on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll do our best to help you out,.
If there’s anything we haven’t included here, get in touch with us and we’ll add it in. If you have time, do try and get to see a bit of Limerick City, and we’d highly recommend the famous Milk Market on Mungret St. for a wander and a bite to eat before the game (it’s open from 8am – 3pm).
MAKE SURE YOU USE THE BATHROOM. We cannot emphasise this enough.
Heading back to Mayo, we’ve been told that the Cratloe road (past LIT) is a good rat run – at Cratloe you can get back onto the N18. Narrow road in parts, so please be careful.
Once again, don’t forget your colours – display them with pride. Warm up the voices to replicate the fierce support you gave the team last Sunday.
And for God’s sake don’t forget the tae and sangwidges.
And as always, Bring the Colour and Bring the Noise!
And here we all are again! This truly is a great time to be a Mayo supporter. The buzz in the lead-up to these games is something only a handful of counties can enjoy and we’ve had this for 4 years running now.
Hopefully your plans have all been made. If not, take a look at MayoMick’s post on alternative travel options now that the trains aren’t running. But whatever your plans, do your best to get into Croke Park on time for the All-Ireland Minor semi-final between our lads and Kerry. Remember, these lads have put in a serious shift so far this year with wins in Tuam against Galway, against Ross in the Connacht Final and a comprehensive victory in Croke Park v Armagh. These lads are in peak physical condition, something that’s hard at the best of times, but many of these lads juggled their training with exams. Not only that, but this team are a joy to watch. They play lovely football, but are well able to dig deep when it’s needed. So, get in on time (not early!) and roar these lads on to another All-Ireland final.
In other news, the senior 15 has been named for Sunday and, as always, this is followed by our now ritual “rallying call”. Bring your kit, bring your flags, bring your drums, bring your fog horns. Bring it all and make more noise than you’ve ever made before! After the anthem, we want the lads to know that we are there with them every single step of the way. If someone starts a chant beside you, join in,don’t leave them hanging. We’re all in this together! This group of players and management have reached levels of intensity and performance that we have seldom seen before in this country, let alone this county.
They have done their bit. Now let’s do ours.