Could this be the year for a Mayo victory at the All-Ireland?

Take the Chicago Cubs and their long suffering fans and multiply their heartache at never winning the World Series since 1908, and you have the Mayo Gaelic football team in Ireland.

The green and red will be back on the elysian field of Croke Park in Dublin on Sunday seeking to win their first All-Ireland football final since 1951 -- 65 years ago. For one of the long time giants of the game, the long drought is a yearly reminder of how far they have fallen.

Since that win Mayo has gone 0-7 in All-Ireland football finals, a record in futility unmatched by any sports team in Ireland or likely anywhere.

They have come desperately close, especially in 1996 when a fluke last minute point by Meath led to a draw and a replay that -- you guessed it -- that Meath won.

But Mayo football fans are the most resilient in the country, and they will flock in their tens of thousands to Croke Park on Sunday when they will face an outstanding Dublin team which is heavily fancied.

Last year Mayo went out at the semifinal stage to Dublin after a drawn game. The year before it was Kerry who won a dramatic replay. A kick of the ball in their favor would have won both games, but that’s Mayo.

It always appears the gods have set aside a special torture chamber for Mayo fans who have come so close to victory on so many occasions, only to see the cup slip at the last second.

What is extraordinary is the fight in the team which, despite so many big game defeats, comes back year after year to play at the very highest level.

There is no quit in this current side in terms of defeat haunting them.

Read more: All-Ireland Football Final: Dublin or Mayo, a-live a-live O

The game’s biggest stage is All-Ireland football final day, and Mayo will trot out on the field for the 3:30 p.m. throw in on Sunday with a new manager and an unconventional route to the finals that might stand them in good stead.

They were beaten on Connacht by Galway and had to go the qualifiers route where they were hardly impressive. Then they got an easy draw in the All-Ireland semifinal, playing a young and inexperienced Tipperary football team.

Usually Mayo arrive in Croke Park on final day with splendid victories and loud claims for the title in hand. This year the build up has been much quieter. The team admits it has not played well but they may be saving one last great performance.

All weekend the Mayo fans will stream from little hamlets and large towns, from villages and places as far apart as New York and Australia to see their beloved red and green in action. Few counties have been hit harder by emigration; few counties have inspired the title of “loveable losers” like the men from the west.

But this year it might be different. The Boston Red Sox eventually broke their hoo-doo.The Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball this year by a country mile and could well go all the way.

The Sawdoctors caught perfectly the love of Mayo people for their homeland, as illustrated in the words of their song about an immigrant forced to leave:

Oh the Green and Red of Mayo
I can see it still
It's soft and craggy bogland
It's tall majestic hills
Where the ocean kisses Ireland
And the waves caress it's shore
Oh the feeling it came over me
To stay forever more.

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