Can failure in sport be caused by a curse? That’s what "The Curse of County Mayo," in the new season of the BBC World Service's Amazing Sport Stories, is trying to find out.

In US baseball, for the Boston Red Sox, there was the so-called “Curse of the Bambino." This is the story of Ireland’s equivalent.

Why hasn’t Mayo’s Gaelic football team won the All-Ireland championship since 1951? Some believe it’s because of the Mayo Curse.

On the 23 September 1951, County Mayo’s Gaelic football team had just won the sport’s most prestigious competition: The All-Ireland championship.

During their celebratory journey home, they passed a funeral and, apparently drunk on their success, forgot to stop and pay their respects – or at least, that’s how the story goes.

Legend has it that the priest presiding over the funeral set a curse on the team as punishment: “As long as you all shall live, County Mayo will never win another All-Ireland!”

Over the years, County Mayo’s team would lose final after final - cementing belief in the curse for many.

But could this curse really exist?

As the original lineup grows smaller year after year, and with the next championship around the corner, an answer might finally be in sight.

In a Message Heard Production for the BBC World Service, Irish American sports reporter Dave McKenna investigates whether a decades-old hex could be what’s behind County Mayo’s Gaelic football failures.

Is County Mayo’s Gaelic football team cursed?

Our new three-part series, ‘The Curse of County Mayo’, launches today on BBC Sounds! Irish-American sports reporter Dave McKenna investigates this curious case to find out if a decades-old hex is behind the team’s run of failures.…

— Message Heard (@messageheard) November 27, 2023

McKenna says: “The Curse of County Mayo has been the story of legend for years in the sporting world.

"The BBC World Service has set the task to investigate this tale, so I’ll bring listeners around the globe the chance to understand the history behind the mystery.”

"The Curse of County Mayo" is available as a podcast as of Monday, November 27 on BBC Sounds and other major podcast platforms.

The first episode - "So the Story Goes" - will air on BBC World Service Radio from Saturday, December 2, and the remaining episodes - "Dr Loftus" and "The Bogeyman" - on December 9 and December 16.