Certain followers ignoring myths and inspired by Mayo's captivating play and title drought, had remained hopeful of a victory against Donegal. No such luck on Sunday. Not this year anyway.
Yet, some – captivated by the lure of superstition – downplayed their success in lieu of the inevitable.
According to legend, in 1951, a procession of winning Mayo footballers passed through the village of Foxford during a local funeral. Their celebrations incited a priest, who vowed that the county would fail to acquire another Sam Maguire trophy so long as a member of the side continued to live.
However, a talented pool of young and ambitious footballers thwarted any fears, since many assumed that Mayo could field a perennial winner.
Mayo has not acquired another Sam Maguire trophy, however. And six decades later, four members of that side – Padraig Carney, John McAndrew, Paddy Prendergast and Fr. Peter Quinn – still live.
On that day, Prendergast recalls “traveling on the back of a [truck], it went from Ballaghadereen, Charlestown, on to Swinford and arrived in Foxford on the way to Ballina. Apparently there was a funeral and the story was those who didn't attend the funeral and the priest said while these fellas live they will not win another All-Ireland. I don't remember it at all. The way we have behaved in the meantime it might have been true.”
Fr. Leo Morahan, former chairman of the Mayo County Board, met Paddy Prendergast at a Connacht final several years ago, and declared that the legend “is a myth, a delusion, a kind of old wives' tale.
“It was peddled often before, like in Clare with the Biddy Early one, and also the Galway hurlers and the priest who cursed them and now this yarn about Mayo; it's all claptrap. No one who has any real knowledge of football would pay any heed to it."
On Sunday, Mayo failed to secure the title. They must now, for another year, attempt to dispel any notions of the curse. Only time will tell!
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