A quick one for you all of you who might not be on social media.
The word “legend” is bandied around all too frequently, but when it comes to Ciaran McDonald, it’s a label that has been well and truly earned.
The great man himself will be appearing live tomorrow night (Wednesday 8th April) on popular sports TV show Second Captains, which airs at 10pm on RTE 2. The Second Captains lads are renowned for their great interviews so this will undoubtedly be unmissable TV.
Make sure to clear your diaries and get yourself in front of the TV screens for 10pm, and in the meantime, here’s a small reminder of the brilliance of Ciaran Mac.
As you probably already know, being a season ticket holder has many advantages. It allows you free entry into any league match (code-specific). Season tickets also allow you free entry into the All-Ireland Club Finals between Corofin from Co. Galway and Slaughtneil from Co Derry on St. Patrick’s Day, (throw in is now 4pm). Corofin are managed by Mayo & Crossmolina’s own Stephen Rochford. We know that any Mayo vs Galway tie is sometimes the be all and end all between rivals, but on this occasion we hope all Mayo folk will give our Galway neighbours, and Connacht representatives, their support on St Patrick’s Day.
Mayo Club 51 are putting the call out to all season ticket holders if you are not using your tickets for the final, to help out Corofin supporters. First of all you will need to log-in to your season ticket account and go to “Special Purchases” to request your (free) tickets. You can e-mail tickets directly to the Corofin P.R.O. John Fahey, pro.corofin.galway [at] gaa.ie.
Season Tickets Account Home Screen.
You can order tickets up to the amount on your account. If you have 2 Adult and 3 Juvenile, then you can order 5 tickets. You can also change your Juvenile season tickets to Adult tickets (for special purchases only). Sections available are Cusack Stand Lower Tier – section 302 ( 302 only was available when I purchased my free tickets).
When purchased your tickets will be available in your “My Tickets” section in your account. You will not need to print your tickets, you can save and download them to your desktop.
Save or print season tickets.
Once you save and download your free tickets for the Club Finals on St Patrick’s Day in Croke Park, its then only a matter of attaching them in an e-mail to send to someone. All they need to do then is just print them out. If you can’t attend the match then do make use of your free season tickets and send them on to someone that will make use of them!
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.
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.
We 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.
Anyway, 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.
Club ’51 takes a tongue-in-cheek look into the future and boldly predicts what no-one has before …. and probably never will again
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”
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.
The GAA GPA All Star Tour to Boston takes place this weekend.
Aidan and Seamus O’Shea with Robbie Hennelly from Mayo. (Photo: Sportsfile © Pat Murphy)
The 2014 GAA/GPA football All Stars left Dublin Airport on Thursday last for the All Star tour to Boston. The match will take place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton Boston at 1.30 pm (local time). Former Mayo manager James Horan takes over as the 2014 team manager due to Jim McGuinness being unable to travel. Jim Gavin will be the 2017 team manager.
There are 7 Mayo players on this year’s GAA GPA All Star tour to Boston. Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor, Colm Boyle, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Rob Hennelly & Seamus O’Shea are on this years team. The curtain raiser for the match will be an u-12’s selection from the Shannon Gaels club in New York taking on a selection form Boston.
Ian Galvin the New York manager said recently;
“We are really looking forward to the game. I’m delighted to get the opportunity to get the players together. We have a lot of new lads and there’s been a good turnover of players. It’s a huge honor for our players to be able to show their abilities before the best players in Ireland and I’m sure it will be a well contested game against Boston.”
The 2014 All Star Tour Players are as follows:
Aidan O’Shea, Mayo; Bernard Brogan, Dublin; Cian O’Sullivan, Dublin; Cillian O’Connor, Mayo; Colin O’Riordan, Tipperary; Colin Walshe, Monaghan; Colm Boyle, Mayo; Conor McManus, Monaghan; David Moran, Kerry; Donnchadh Walsh, Kerry; Drew Wylie, Monaghan; Fionn Fitzgerald, Kerry; James O’Donoghue, Kerry; Keith Higgins, Mayo; Killian Clarke, Cavan; Lee Keegan, Mayo; Martin Dunne, Cavan; Michael Darragh Macauley, Dublin; Michael Murphy, Donegal; Neil Gallagher, Donegal; Neil McGee, Donegal; Paul Flynn, Dublin; Paul Durcan, Donegal;Paddy McBrearty, Donegal; Rob Hennelly, Mayo; Rory O’Carroll, Dublin; Ryan McHugh, Donegal; Seamus O’Shea, Mayo; Sean Cavanagh, Tyrone; Shane Walsh, Galway; Tony Kernan, Armagh.
The New York team:
Gavin Joyce (Cavan), Ger McCartan (Kerry), Kieran O’Connor (Kerry), Ronan McGinley (Cavan), Keith Scally (Westmeath), Lee Kelly (Rockland), Mike Jim Fitzgerald (Kerry), Brian Connor (Leitrim), Keith O’Connor (Cork), Colm Maginn (Cavan), Sean Dalton (Cavan), JJ Mathews (Longford), Gary O’Driscoll (Kerry, Captain), Luke Loughlin (Westmeath), Jer O’Sullivan (Kerry), Tommy Warburton (Cavan), Richey Morgan (Armagh), Michael Hallissey (Armagh), Liam Deane (Barnabas), Shane Hogan (Barnabas), Ciaran Hughes (Leitrim), Mickey Leneghan (Cork), Ross Wherity (Kerry), Damian McCaughey (Manhattan Gaels), Keith Quinn (Leitrim), Jason Kelly (Offaly), Dermot Mullen (Cork).
The Boston team:
Eoin Connolly (Connemara Gaels), Paddy Coakley (McAnespies), Colin Mc Carron (Donegal), Sean Doherty (Donegal), Shane Kelly (Shannon Blues), Damien Doolin (Connemara Gaels), David Clifford (Shannon Blues), Sean Connelly (Connemara Gaels), Garry Brilly (Wolfe Tones), Pat McNicholas (Connemara Gaels), Conor Mullen (Shannon Blues), Niall Gallen (Mc Anespies), Paudie Kenneally (Christophers), Collie Donnelly (McAnespies), Pat Murray (Shannon Blues), Ian Whelan (Kerry), Noel Graham (Connemara Gaels), Matt Smith (Donegal), Gareth O’Neill (McAnespies), Mike O’Brien (Wolfe Tones), Coleman Mulkerins (Connemara Gaels), Cormac Joyce-Power (Wolfe Tones), Robbie Croft (Kerry), Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon Blues), Ciaran Mc Devitt (Donegal), Sean Moriarty (Shannon Blues), Joey Fitzpatrick (Kerry), Dan Kenneally (Christophers), Dan McCabe (Wolfe Tones), Shane Kavanagh (Shannon Blues), Joe O’Shea (Kerry), Mark Dunphy (Donegal).
Full All Star tour details.