Whether you were there or not, we think it’s safe to say that the New York game was a big event. While those of us who were lucky enough to make the trip across are still in recovery mode, talk in the county is now turning to “Step Two” in this year’s campaign on 8th June. But in the meantime, here’s how our latest guest poster Fear an Chomórtais fared over in NYC last weekend. Welcome aboard, sir!
There’s very few guarantees in this life, but but one thing you can guarantee, is that when this fair county of ours takes the football show on the road, we will most definitely enjoy ourselves! The planning for this New York trip for me started 5 years ago, having been out to Gaelic Park in ’04 and ’09, so to say I was looking forward to this trip was a massive understatement.
Getting the pleasantries out of the way and meeting a few fellow Club ’51ers at the airport, after the flight we did the minibus ride into Manhattan, after which a few of our English neighbors were much wiser on the state of Mayo football as we dismounted.
The customary Mayo flags flew out from the Irish hostelries to entice the noticeable gathering inside. You’d get an odd “go Mayo” in a strong New York accent,to which the reply came “good man yourself”. Eugene Rooney’s Irish Pub became the focal point of the weekend for us, meeting a load from home and some not far from there. Friday night we did our own thing, even gatecrashing some local collegiate alumni event in Suite 36 on W36 St between 5th and 6th avenue, indeed getting some alumni souvenirs for our efforts.
New York gets ready for the Mayo influx …
The intention was to get up early on Saturday to watch the All-Ireland U21 final, between Roscommon and Dublin, which we more than managed to do in the Old Castle Bar. A large crowd was there and I’d even hazard a guess saying 40% were shouting for the Yellowbellies. I for one wasn’t, but the conundrum was I didn’t want the Dubs to win either! The atmosphere was very relaxed all day. We did the customary sightseeing after, of course in the colours, but at this stage you could see the green and red on every street. I love the way that when away at a match like this you always get acknowledged with a nod or a “Howaya lads” while every other New Yorker has the earphones in and the blinkers on, oblivious to the craic building up all around them! Mayo brought the party to town!
The function in Connolly’s that night resembled Quinn’s or Coppers on match day, wedged and very humid. Hard to get to thebar and getting to the bathroom none better. I did think the band were a bit American to be playing Irish tunes but god bless them they played their hearts out each of the 4 times they played The Green And Red of Mayo! But the craic was good and after a while we ended up chatting to John Casey – sure all the stars were out – wasn’t Mike Finnerty holding court behind us and Willie Joe up at the bar! I was getting plenty chat over my shirt, I wore it knowing well that everyone would get a laugh out of it, who would have known that we Mayo people could warrant a laugh at a t-shirt saying “bollox of a ref”! We’ve met more than a few! Legged it back to the Irish pub about 1am, and had the pleasure of sharing a few drinks with the O’Toole brothers from Inisturk, stars of the documentary “Pride of the Parish”. We won an all Ireland there and then, pity it had to finish!
Mayo GAA fans take over the New York Subway
On to Sunday, started well and ended well! What happened in between is the stuff of legend. We met a few legends at the Irish bar; Bernie Waldron who was involved with the mayo minors in the 90’s and a crew from Ballyhaunis. The beers were flying and the craic was mighty, (already arranged the return leg at the Hyde!). The story of the weekend was the lads got into a taxi, Johnny Devaney from Ballyhaunis hopped in the front, asked the cab driver “Where are you from” he answered “Egypt” without a missed breath Johnny replied “and do you walk like an Egyptian?” well when we heard that I split my sides laughing!
We got the subway out to the match – not before stopping off at the Playwright to see if Nicky Joyce was tending bar – he wasn’t – so we moved on. We had a singsong all the way out, cameras were taking pictures and videos, the Yanks didn’t have a clue what was going on but surprise surprise they wanted pictures of us all, and we duly obliged. The Punch Bowl just before Gaelic park provided a comforting pit stop but the one toilet proved torture!
Mayo supporters party in Gaelic Park
The carnival atmosphere at the pitch I’ve experienced before, but you don’t get tired of it. Seriously though, you will not understand it until you’ve experienced it. Met friends who came down from Philadelphia and from Boston – was hard to meet everyone. As for the game, it was hard to see, we couldn’t get a seat so soldiered out a place at the fence. If this was a Premier League match, a “very professional performance” phrase would be used. It’s not the Premier League, but it was a very workmanlike outing. Truth be told it’s a routine fixture, the exiles never expected to get close and they didn’t. The party after was worth coming for! Having read the Sunday Independent and Colm O’ Rourke’s article, it’s plain to be seen that the New York trip was enjoyed by more than just the Mayo diaspora! It felt like a celebration.
I had a chat with Kildare legend Johnny Doyle, what an absolute gent. He was supremely jealous that Kildare and the likes couldn’t be involved in something like this. His opinion on the championship is that it’s the Dubs to lose, but Mayo the only team to challenge them! On Sunday night, it was back to the Oldcastle after Gaelic park, the $30 donation at the door a tad steep but knowing that it was for the players fund it was worth paying. The party atmosphere followed into Manhattan from the Bronx, but already the focus had switched to the Rossies in June.
While I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this trip Stateside, it’s the start of hopefully a long summer, one which rights a few wrongs over the last few years,and come June 8th be it the Yellowbellies or Lovely Leitrim, we will show up in force like we did in New York and push this team forward.
Photo: Bryan Sweeney (via Joe.ie)
As Mayo travel to New York for the first round of the Connacht Championship on Sunday 4th May in Gaelic Park, with a huge number of people travelling to New York from Ireland and indeed many other parts of the world, there are numerous events taking place around Manhattan and the outer suburbs.
Given that there are already so many events already organised for the weekend, Club ’51 won’t be holding a standalone meetup as is now customary before away games, but you can be assured that we will have numerous representatives in place at most, if not all of the events below. We do like a good party, we do.
Here’s what’s happening:
Friday 2nd May
- Mayo GAA (NY) invite supporters to join them at Dunwoodie Golf Course, 1 Wasylenko Ln, Yonkers, NY 10701 from 7 to 10pm for a BAR-B-Q and beverages where they are hoping to defray some of the team’s expenses for the weekend. The Mayo team will be training in Gaelic Park that evening and will be stopping by for a meal following the session. Tickets are $50 per person, and can be bought from any member of the club, or on the night (it’s recommended that you get there early).
- Alternatively, if you fancy something a bit more central, some of the Club ’51 crew will be meeting up for a few quiet (!) beverages in The Old Castle Pub & Restaurant, 160 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 from 7pm.
Saturday 3rd May
- Given that we’re in the Big Apple for a good time, not a long time, we will be rising bright and early to embark on a bit of sightseeing, (it’s not all about the partying, you know) so if you’d like to join us for a bit of craic and culture, we’ll be starting around 9am and getting one of the bus tours. We’ll circulate a meeting point closer to the weekend but it’s likely to be somewhere around Times SQ. Sunscreen (and sunglasses and maybe some Panadol) essential.
- On Saturday night, in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the weekend, Mayo GAA are holding their official Cáirde Mhaigheo Function in Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant, located in Manhattan 121 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036. This is being billed as a very informal meet and greet event, where supporters can congregate and meet with some of the past players and chat about the match. (You’re allowed to talk about other things too, but why would you want to do that?!) There will be musical entertainment on the night and Midwest Radio will be in attendance. They will be a raffle on the night with a top prize of tickets to the 2014 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.
Sunday 4th May (Match Day!)
Try to get to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night, because there’s a big day of football and festivities in store on Sunday! Your destination is Gaelic Park, W 240th St, The Bronx (1 train uptown to 238th St) and the itinerary for the day is as follows:
- 10.30am: NY Ladies Féile Team vs. St Brigid’s
- 12pm: NY Boys Féile Team vs. Philly Boys Féile Team
- 2.30pm: New York vs. Mayo
- 4pm: NYPD vs. Buffalo Fenians (Buffalo’s first ever appearance at Gaelic Park!)
Ticketing information for the games is available here, on the New York GAA website. Due to the large numbers expected to travel, do try and get there early. Contrary to what Croke Park told us previously, there is a cost for GAA season ticket holders, but there’s a substantial discount all the same, so don’t forget your card!
- This will be followed by the customary post-match get-together back in The Old Castle Pub & Restaurant, 160 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 from 8pm till late where the Mayo team will join supporters for a night of live music and craic.
So there you have it – you have a week to stock up on the multivitamins and get some sleep! See you in the Big Apple for what is sure to be an unforgettable weekend.
As we turn our faces towards the summer and the promise of the Championship, we welcome another guest contributor to the site. Sarah McKirdy hails from the south of the county, dangerously close to Galway, but her allegiance is unquestionable! Here Sarah writes about being a Mayo supporter and what it means to her.
“The best thing to come out of Galway is the road to Mayo.”
When you come from a part of the County of Mayo where you are surrounded by the Black River as it winds its way from Shrule into the great Loch Corrib, and more especially when you are surrounded by County Galway and Galway People, it lends itself to people on both sides being very “one eyed”. Such is the case with this poor Writer. From my earliest memories, the battle for glory was mainly played out between the two counties. It was the sixties and Galway were in full flight. Beating Galway was our All-Ireland, no thoughts of Croke Park, no county jersey, no flags and no bunting, we would paint the goal posts red and green (usually two young ash trees ) and we were made up. Mayo God help us and Galway glad to get us.
The glamorous games …
Much has changed since those days – and yet maybe not. The passion is still there, enough so to make pride in our County burn in our hearts, to make the stuff running in our veins vivid red but with a smattering of green, to raise our voices in song with our adopted anthem The Green and Red of Mayo, to be there when we are winning and when we are losing, triumph and disaster, we have met those two impostors and treated them the same. The love of our County, our native place, and to recognise that herein are our roots, our heritage, our alma mater may go some way to explaining the Mayo mindset. People are very often amazed by the continued loyal following of the Mayo GAA Senior Team by such a vast number of people. Anyone who witnessed the game in Cork in 2013 in the NFL can attest to this, but us Mayo Natives are not surprised at all. Sure where else would we be?
I have travelled the length and breadth of the Country in support of my team, I probably could have paid off the mortgage by now had I stayed at home, but that was never an option. My travelling companion through most of this campaign has now been to thirty (yes ,30) Connacht Finals, and our quest continues. We have the most marvellous memories of places we’ve been, people we’ve met and games we’ve watched. I wouldn’t change or swap one minute of any of it.
.. and the not-so glamorous games.
On one occasion we headed to Ennis, where our Under 21s were playing the All-Ireland Final against Cork. We landed in good time and parked the car in a housing estate, ready for the speedy exit, or so we thought. When we returned to the car, the All-Ireland secured and the singing at several decibels above the reasonable, a lady from a nearby house had a pot of tea and of course the few custard creams waiting for us. Now we had never met this lady before in our lives, but her generosity of spirit is something that will stay with us forever and is often spoken of. “Ah sure ye have a long trip back to Mayo’’, she said.
In the last couple of years we have experienced the very best of times and maybe the worst of times but the passion is still there. I saw it again in a new guise last week in MacHale Park with the emergence of Club ’51, passionate supporters banding together and bonding together in support of Mayo Football. I’ve seen it over many years in all shapes and forms, parents taking their young children to matches, the old and the young, the great and the good coming together with a common cause.
It’s heartwarming, it’s uplifting, it makes us what we are.
We are MAYO.
(Photos: Michael Maye)
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!
Ahead of this weekend’s clash vs. the Dubs, here’s diehard Mayo fan Trevor Naughton (exiled in Kildare, but green and red to the core) on his experience of hanging out with the Club ’51 crew this year, and how he expects the big game to pan out on Saturday afternoon. Thanks Trevor!
Ahead of the weekend’s big clash with Dublin where Mayo head to Croker looking to pick up another two valuable league points, I thought I’d offer the fan’s view of how Club ’51 has gone to date!
As you are all aware Club ’51 has been up and running since the start of the year and I think it has been an unmitigated success. The introduction of Club ’51 has created a completely different buzz about going to Mayo matches and is something we are really enjoying. For years we have all travelled in our little groups to matches, meeting up with old friends as you bumped into them.
The level of support that Mayo has (home and away) is clear to see at every game. There are a few publicans in Newbridge that will attest to that also! Every game, whether it’s Castlebar, Tralee or Omagh now feels like a home game and that’s a wonderful thing. Centralising the Mayo support has been excellent. There is nothing better than outnumbering the locals in a pub in their own back yard!
Going to the meet-ups before games the pub/hotel chosen by Club ’51 is full with Mayo supporters. The more times we go to the meet ups before/after games we invariably meet someone new or someone we already know through the #mayogaa hashtag on Twitter or Willie Joe’s MayoGAABlog but have yet to meet in real life!
The main aim is to bring a bit of noise, fun and colour to Mayo matches and to show the team that there is a “Sea of Green and Red” behind them. I have always had hats/scarves/headbands/flags at home but never would have thought to bring any of them to a league match. Club ’51 has changed that idea. If you are thinking about going to the match at the weekend feel free to drop into Jury’s Croke Park Hotel before the game.
The game itself is going to be one of our toughest to date but the lads have been improving steadily game on game and I would be expecting them to deliver the points on this occasion. There has been a lot of debate on mayogaablog on whether we should be going flat out to win this game or not. I think without doubt we have to go out to win this. Just look back to 2012 when we beat the Dubs in Castlebar (in the game refixed after the fog!), we went up against them in Croker in the semi-final with no inferiority complex. Dublin beat us 3 times last year so we really want to be laying down a marker on Saturday night. See you there!
PS: Don’t forget your voices and your flags!!! Up Mayo!!!
Follow me on Twitter: @trevornaughton 🙂