|Mayo's GAA team and their ongoing curse!|
If the Boston Red Sox were to up sticks from Fenway, McHale Park in Castlebar would be an ideal place for them to go. Because, like the Red Sox for so long, the green and red of Mayo is cursed.
Some people believe it to be a literal curse. So the story goes, a priest was so appalled at the last victorious Mayo team's lack of respect for a funeral cortege that he hexed them all real good, and it would only be lifted when that team all took that great '45 in the sky. One of Mayo's surviving medal winners of that time Mick Mulderrig remembers the whole curse incident differently, as well as remembering the Truman Administration. "It's a load of crap", he reckons. In fairness, he has skin in the game.
What is certain though is that Mayo are congenitally incapable of winning any match called a final that doesn't have the words "quarter" or "semi" preceding it. 1996 and 1997 were heartbreakingly close affairs between Meath and Kerry respectively, and judging by the massive scrap that unfolded in '96, nose breaking too. 2006, which I watched in Westport at my friend's house, was not such a close run thing, Kerry making them look like eunuchs in a strip club. In 2012, I watched in Dublin with a lot of my Mayo friends as Donegal beat them, the only time I've willed Mayo to lose. But in fairness, I had skin in that game.
But this year, with me being safely abroad in Manchester and with Mayo facing the Dubs, I figured the mix of facing a team not wearing green and gold married with my absence from the home sod would mark a watershed in Mayo's loveable loser cache. The Irish Club in Chorlton where I watched did too, as green and red bunting at the bar draped above the Guinness and Magners drinkers in green and red jerseys underneath. Every time Dublin scored, a solitary enclave in the corner made any noise at all. When Mayo scored their goals, chairs were knocked dangerously askew.
But alas as the game went on, Mayo's chances of victory vanished like the half time spread of ham sandwiches. Goalkeeper Rob Hennelly, who if he weren't an amateur would have really earned his money out there on Sunday, was the real stand out player on the pitch. That was their trouble.
And so, as another All-Ireland Sunday night at the notoriously lascivious nightclub Copperface Jacks is bereaved of Mayo fans, there is still hope. Because while they don't have Sam Maguire there is one thing Mayo fans always have: next year.