A year since that Sunday

Photo: GAA

Today’s the last day of March and so that means that it’s exactly a year since that memorable Sunday at Croke Park when we beat Kerry in the National League final. It was our 12th ever NFL crown and our first national title success since 2001.

More than that, it was a national final day at HQ that, finally, we all got to enjoy to the full. The celebrations we had after the final whistle sounded caught most of us unawares but they were all the more fun for it.

Marooned as we now are, twelve months on, in an utterly surreal world where, quite literally, live sport has no place, memories of that emotion-charged afternoon at Croke Park are, if anything, even sweeter. It certainly is a day that’s worth looking back on again now.

So, here you go.

My audio report, recorded at Croke Park soon after the final whistle blew, is below.

My match report for the blog, written after I got back home, with some bloody good red wine starting to course through my veins as I typed, is here.

Our match-day episode of the Mayo News football podcast, the most listened to episode we’ve done to date, is below.

Some great photos from that memorable March day at Croke Park are here – Mayo Mick, Sportsfile, Inpho.

If you want to relive to the full the thrills and spills of the match itself then there’s nothing for it but to watch the whole glorious thing again.

Here it is. Up Mayo.

55 thoughts on “A year since that Sunday

  1. That was some day. I floated home on a complete high that evening. Thanks for the memories.

  2. It’s only the league – until you win it! That was definitely one of my best days in Croke Park. What really made it was how we got into that final unawares, remember seeing Lee in the stands a few rows back before throw in against Monaghan – which itself was a great game to see as some of our key players were rested and the newer guys stood up. Booked the flights to Dublin on the pitch at McHale – thank God I wasn’t put off by the price!

  3. Fantastic day, proud day it was in Croke Park
    Cant wait to welcome those guys back onto the pitch..
    Well done Padraig O Hora..tough nut


  4. We’ve had many a good day in Croke Park, but that was surely one of the best.
    Going in without the weight of expectation or hope, leaving elated and full of joy. It’s nice to have it to look back on during these odd times.
    Hope you are all staying well and safe.

  5. Fantastic memory alright. Mathew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor and Aiden O Shea, all had fantastic game’s…. Some feeling as Cíaran Tracy letting youth have it’s fling, went for Goal instead of taking his point, and what a pass from Andy over the top inch perfect for Cíaran to run onto! As Willie Joe says ‘Sureal’ Day’s…The 11 months to the day since that day until we were due to Kerry again in the League in Castlebar, felt like 11 months… Storm Dennis ensuring a one day delay in playing that fixture… The following month seems allot longer!… The very best wishes to all those trying so hard to make time feel something like normal again!

  6. It’s pretty sad and highly frustrating that after all these years one of our best days out in Croke Pk was in the league. In 5 yrs time few people will remember who won the league in 2019 and even less will care.

    That being said, it was very nice walking from Croker back to Heuston with the low sun shining directly into my face. It sure beats the misery of running away from there so many times. Sprinting in fact.

  7. I look at Padraig O’Hora on Tv and in real life when I bump into him around Ballina and what I see is a future Mayo captain and without putting too much pressure on him (as if after last nights program he cant handle it) but I think he is a Man that can drive us on to success. Fair play to Horan for giving him a chance. There’s another guy in Ballina too Sean Regan who might make an impact when football resumes again

  8. Was a great day, lovely to win a senior final in Croke Park. Made a nice change from walking down Jones Road with tears in the eyes. At the end if the day though, it was only the league, a team’s legacy will always be measured by the amount of All Irelands it wins, not league titles. Our team of 2011-19 will be remembered as spirited runners up, that is all, it breaks my heart to say it. I feel though, success is not to far away, what the team of 2011-19 has done is sowed a love and passion for gaelic football into our youth, this will stand to us in time.

    I honestly can’t see any inter county football being played this year, it’s too much of a risk to gather crowds together so soon after a pandemic like this. Club games may be played later in the year, but I feel this too is a step too far. Stay safe folks, football must take a back seat now, health comes first.

  9. Looking forward to seeing David Brady tomorrow evening on TG4, great servant over a long time.
    There is one conondrum that’s baffling, Mayo are in the top few Counties with league titles won yet way down in All Ireland titles.
    Seems peculiar.
    The Olympics are cancelled, the Euros are cancelled all other Sporting events are cancelled. This Coronavirus curve will be flattened and cases could keep appearing for a few more months, then there will need to be a fully clear period with no new cases, unsightly football will be played in April, May, June and possibly July.
    I propose an All Ireland Championship for current Division 1 teams only to be played in the Autumn.

  10. Just watched the tv show with p o hora in it, he’s a different breed alright, won’t crack under pressure or get upset by whatever an opponent whispers in his ear. But we knew that already by watching him getting stuck into his opponents and winning ball that others wouldn’t even consider.
    Too bad we won’t have a championship this year, but maybe it will be ok to resume life as normal in 2021??

  11. Way Out West, I totally disagree with your point re “Its only the league”, winning a senior men’s national title in Croke Park is not insignificant, you can’t detract from that or take away the achievement.

    The only people who will define the 11/19 squad as “spirited runners up” are the same fools who talk of the “curse” or 1951 and “still no Sam” or the ever hilarious “Mayo is for Sambos” I know your not in this camp.

    I too would have loved nothing more than to win any of those finals from 12 up but we didn’t.

    Yes some players have moved on and new faces appeared and are we now further away, who knows?

    I believe the spirit is still there, the fight is still there and they the squad sure as night follows day won’t give up.

    What will 2020 bring, possibly nothing but the green and red will March on.

  12. Hi All…RTE running a poll on their website for All-stars of the Sunday Game era…make sure ye all log on to vote for Clarkey….even just to wind the Dubs up…lol

  13. Don’t see why club games will be a step too far to be honest Way Out West

    Do I see a situation by August where we can fly home to Ireland/drive up to Dublin, head out to Coppers on a Saturday night, stay in a nice hotel, and rock up to the All Ireland Final on the Sunday? Most likely no

    Do I see a situation however where we can enjoy a tailored restaurant experience, commute to our spaced-out offices, pop up to our neighbours for tay, and take in a good GAA club game? Absolutely

    ‘Lockdowns’ are not tenable for months on end. Even Simon Harris reckons beyond Easter Sunday might be tough going, but I reckon we’ll get all of April out of it before a bit more relaxation of the rules is implemented. There’s a reason there wasn’t a full scale ‘lockdown’ the minute after we had our first case/first death whatever. They just are not practical over a long period.

    Now don’t get me wrong the whole Covid-19 upsets me greatly. I’m out of work but I’ll survive that. Its that every day there are deaths announced i can’t stop thinking of the X amount of different families who are suffering and mourning a loved one. And every life is worth the exact same. However as time goes on, and if a lockdown continues to be enforced we suddenly start seeing unsettling rises in mental health issues, depression, anxiety and all the potentially fatal things that come with that

    Pay no attention to the nutjobs across Twitter and online forums screaming ‘lockdown’ at every opportunity and finding the absolute worst in everything. Many of whom spend most of their lives glued to the internet to unhealthy extremes – so the implications of a lockdown doesn’t exactly affect them. As Leo Varadker said – the government won’t be taking advice from Twitter or the likes

    GAA is a vital outlet for many citizens nationwide. Players returning to tailored training sessions and club games being slowly re-introduced will certainly be one of the first things on the agenda, with regards to the ‘new normal’. Its not a case that everything has to be re-introduced as one for normal life to re-start. And you can bet your bottom euro the GAA will be planning vigorously for any eventualities, like our own employers are, like all sporting organisations are.

    Sure, we may see a bit of novelty around matches and schedules. Championship weekends might be structured to ensure each game throws in at the same time. Attendance will be carefully controlled. Maybe limit matches to a certain number of attendees. Maybe club members only? Or how about each player is given 3 passes each to share with family/friends to guarantee their attendance. No pass, no entry!
    Or maybe just maybe we’ll get a far better handle on things than many are predicting by the summer and we can all attend to our hearts content, and heck we may even get some inter-county football before 2020 is out

    I’d encourage everyone to try their utmost to stay positive, no matter how hard it may be. Many countries’ growth and death rates are severely decreasing. There are some positive signs with regards to treatments, for example Hydroxychloroquine.

    We’ll get over this everyone. And we won’t be all fully locked away until a vaccine comes either despite what the scaremongerers may try and push

    But anyway for now, stay safe and my thoughts are with anyone affected, their families and to all those suffering in any way in the current situation

  14. Im in the “its only the league” camp. Sure, it was a great win in late March, you could see the boys played under far less pressure as it was only the league. But what good did it do? It created a lot of hype and fed the flames of the Time Square sing song, to then go on and lose to a team like Roscommon in our own back yard, that was a horrible feeling. I think the lads lost a couple of percent hunger after that league win. The Galway victory in Limerick was far more significant and imo out weighs the league win by a country mile.

  15. Wimbledon has just been cancelled for 2020 even though it wasn’t due to start until June 29th.

  16. Congratulations to Padraig O’Hora on a performance of steel on Hell Week, glad to have him on Mayo team where he has already shown what has yet to come from him, already a potential captain and leader of men,again congratulations.

  17. Everyone knows “It’s only the league”. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy winning it.

    Mayodunphy – You could use the same logic and say if we won the Connacht Championship last year the hype would have built up and we wouldn’t have won the all Ireland! Maybe that was James Horan’s logic for 2020, get relegated in the league to dampen the hype around us.

  18. Ah now, comparing international events like Wimbledon – with 256 players (plus qualifying the week before), officials, spectators and the media coming from all parts of the world into a central hub of the virus – with GAA matches is a bit much

    A bit more context also… Wimbledon is played on an extremely specialised surface in tennis, which makes up about 5% of the tennis calendar. For Wimbledon to go ahead, several grass court tune-in events need to go ahead, as well as a substantial training period for players. The French Open has been postponed to September (not canceled) and the main criticism from players already is the quick transition of surface from the US Open.
    I’d go as far as saying that tennis may well be the most vulnerable mainstream sport in the world to this awful virus. It is a fully international sport (with no domestic activity at pro level), and players rely on sponsorship to compete at the highest level and to afford a full support team around them

    There’s a reason the GAA are not jumping the gun and canceling the championship right now – there are far more potential contingencies that may become possible as the year goes on, than for one of the most prestigious international sporting events

    As for “its only the league”, my own personal belief is its not fully black & white. After getting beaten early in the 2018 champ it was a good lift for Mayo last year but we still took a hiding from Dublin and lost in very disappointing circumstances to our big rivals Galway. I wouldn’t read too much into a lot of the games themselves, but the final is quite prestigious in itself and winning a trophy in Croke Park is never to be sneezed at

  19. I unfortunately fall into the championship will be cancelled category. I just cannot see it automatically picking up after a month, June let’s say with the players having no collective training done. (Just my opinion so don’t jump down my throat). Someone mentioned that if one player got it the whole team would be out. If a spectator got or had it before but wasn’t showing symptoms then it wouldn’t be worth thinking about as we could have all bumped into him or her. We have to think of the bigger picture here.

  20. Personally think there should be no championship this year. We are not going to wake up some morning towards mid May or June and this is completely gone. It could very well come back again whenever we get over this phase and the powers that be know this. On another note that league final win was my greatest day following mayo in croke park. We put a lot of demons to bed that day.

  21. Now and again, I would fully agree with you, This emergency will be a drawn out affair. While there will be a relaxation on restrictions at some stage, there will be no such thing as mass gatherings or big sporting events any time soon and defiantly not as close as this summer. Should there become a period in Autumn (the earliest stage I can see any sporting events being permitted) I do hope the GAA give this time to clubs and not try to shoe horn in any form of intercounty championship. Focus should be placed on local community and all GAA players at every grade. The GAA should not be focused on competitions that only involve a minority of the players, They need to be focused on getting all GAA players back on the field if a time arises allowing them to do so, are the GAA not responsible for managing the game at all levels throughout the country, not just the elite few.

  22. Great to watch that again. Just took some time off – what the hell!

    One plus in all this delay, is that our injured guys will be mending. Time is exactly what Mattie, Jason, Colm, Cillian, Seamie, and Chris need. Could we be the ones who might benefit most?

  23. I think the GAA in HQ are already laying off staff or cutting wages. An All-Ireland football and hurling final would bring in over €10 million euro in revenue. The GAA will do their best to play some kind of championship later in the year. They will be slow to let that kind of money go. However, the decision as to when inter county football can resume will be out of their hands.

  24. I thing the documentery with David Brady will be on Sunday as well its on tonight to after all Ireland gold on tg 4 I think it’s a repeat i am not sure on that

  25. I think that we will all need a game when it is safe to do so but it might well be a long time,just a thought of I may ,and is something I have avoided for years ,perhaps we could name our best players over our lifetime,I will grow mine out there and expect a lot of criticism for my pick,E Lavin,J Carey, J Morley, K Higgens, L Keegen,P Durcan,W J Padden,P J Loftus, C Mac Donald ,AOShea,J Corcoran,A Moran,J Burke,COC,I would be happy going into battle with them

  26. I see Peterborough goalkeeper Conor O’Malley is quitting soccer. He was part of the Ireland senior squad a couple of years ago. Could be an interesting addition for Westport and Mayo when the football returns!

  27. Not sure if watching laochra gaol and watching the mayo/meath highlights from 96 is improving the lockdown mood.

  28. That was brilliant from David Brady.
    The very end of it would make the hair stand on your neck, considering what’s going on around us these days.

  29. Can’t believe the wides we kicked in the drawn 1996 final!!
    Great stuff from Brady, Mayo through and through.

  30. Corrick Bridge-mighty men all,though I’d still prefer to go to battle with 15!!

  31. I can only go back to 1987.
    Clarke. Higgins. Cahill. K Mortimer.
    Keegan. Nallen. Boyle.
    Mchale. Willie joe
    Horan. A O’Shea Dillon
    C McDonald’ Andy Moran. C O’Connor.
    That would be some team to go into battle with

  32. Good team Mayo 36 but you would def have Conor Mortimer in there instead of Andy imo

  33. Bazham and 36 that would be a tough choice between Andy Moran and Conor Mortimer you have Conor very accurate sharp shooter 2nd highest Mayo scorer of all time could almost win a game on his own when the mood took him versus Andy former footballer of the year great attitude and natural born leader who kept working on his game right to the end of his career improving all the time as he got older as we saw in the game against Donegal in Castlebar came in and steadied the ship. While Mort would probably score more I’d still go with Andy for his all round ability and leadership skills and
    The way he brought people into the game

  34. I would put Andy miles ahead of Conor Mort. Did young Mort ever come even close to been player of the year. Andy always performed on the big day and as someone said above when leadership was required he showed it. I remember Mort been called ashore in one all Ireland final when he had hardly got a kick of the ball. He was an excellent free taker though and rarely missed.
    When Andy was taken off or not started – his attitude was to keep the head down and work harder to get back. Mort threw the jersey into the crowd or walked off the panel.

  35. Conor O’Malley is an interesting one alright. Is 25, an ideal age profile and why not bring him in to the Mayo set up. He’ll have learned a lot from his time in England and with the Rep of Irl set up.

  36. Picking Andy ahead of mort was one of the easier selections on that team. Trying to fit in tj kilgallon. F Costello and p Durcan was the tough ones

  37. They were both badly missed in 2012 final. I have to think Mortimer could have contributed something in 2013 as well.
    He is not our second highest scorer ever for no reason

  38. Trying to pick a best 15 is very difficult, the 1980’s and 1990’s style was very different from 2011 to 2020, players are much fitter and physically stronger now, cover much more ground also in a game.
    But there is still one thing that hasn’t changed, scoring a point late on in a game, like another poster mentioned yesterday, I forgot the huge number of wides Mayo accounted for in the 2nd half of the 1996 drawn final, some woeful ones from 15 or 20 yards.
    I remember a Ballintubber man telling me back in 1995 that Mayo football was on the way up, he mentioned a young u21 player, that was David Brady.
    Great that he won a club All Ireland, for me his best stand out performances was v the Dubs in 2006 and coming in to hold Donaghy in that 2006 final. I attended the Ballina All Ireland club final on a sunny day in Croker in 1999, they should have won that game, the free taker missed a few handy ones.

  39. brillant laochra gaol last night. i smiled when i heard david saying that john maughaun gambled with mayo football by not starting him in the 2004 final.when i think back on former mayo managers LIAM O NEILL. JOHN O MAHONEY ,JAMES HORAN AND STEPHEN ROCHFORD all gambled with mayo football .until we actually win sam maguire everything is a gamble and hopefully we will climb the steps some day soon when this coronavirus is gone away

  40. I know what I am going to say is full of if buts and maybes
    If we get some form of championship I think it will be truncated and probably more or less straight knockout
    We will have as good as a squad as any imo assuming all the lads bar Boyler are back fit
    If we then get a nice draw who knows……….I’ll be booking the hotel just in case once I know what date the final is refixed for

  41. Have two days off and decided to have a couple of beers and watch the 2014 semi final replay in limerick v Kerry again with the Mrs….my God we were so close that day. Seamus and Aidan O’Shea were unreal as was Cillian. And O’Reilly was as bad as we both remembered.
    In all fairness though it was lovely to watch some Gaa and get away from the disaster that is coming. I do hope everyone is ok, been sensible and please God we will meet up again and have a pint in peace discussing pre and post match events in real time.

  42. Best 15 in my lifetime, 1987 onwards team aware.
    Fintan Ruddy (No weakness)
    Chris Barrett Kevin Cahill Gary Ruane
    Lee Keegan James Nallen Paddy Durcan
    Liam McHale Aidan OShea
    James Horan Ciaran McDonald Alan Dillon
    Conor Mortimer Andy Moran Cillian O’Connor

  43. That’s a good team allright JP I’d give an honourable mention as well in defence to Peter Butler a rock solid defender who kept us afloat in the early 90’s too but then you could make a case for Kevin O’Neill as well so many to chose from to think these guys never got there hands on Sam is very sad

  44. On reflection I would put Kevin McLoughlin ahead of Alan Dillon. I just think Kevin gets more scores, more goals, has more pace and has better track record in crunch moments and matches.

  45. @Sleepwalker. I think Gary Ruane a better marking defender than Keith Higgins. I think Keith Higgins a far better counter attacking defender. I prefer in the full backline to have 3 tight markers. There are other supporters not gone on Keith Higgins as a corner back. All time great gets thrown around a lot. Where are the man marking performances as a 4?

  46. Not sure about that at all JP, he had a titanic battle with an absolute genius of a forward in 14 (jOD ) , a battle for the ages I think some commentators said . Gooch reckoned he was the best man to ever mark him , a fair compliment . Ruane was hardly tight in 2004 final if I recall right .

    Best teams of all time are a right conundrum imo, to bring every factor into play you’d never manage to balance it , the improvements in s&c year on year is massive esp say 80/90s v 00/10s , players of 12-17 have played and been tested at the top tier consistently like no other Mayo sides in my time , too many factors to consider to Judge rightly . What I can say with confidence , every era Mayo have produced some of the finest footballers in the land and of that we can hold our head high in any debate . Only three all Ireland’s but yet two men on the team of the millennium, Langan and Flanagan . Hup Mayo , stay safe folks .

    Spillane raving about Mayo football in today’s Sunday world , two pages about our glorious failure to land Sam . Seems like the normalisation of life has started already haha

  47. In fairness lads, they were all good and some were great players but all have one thing in common, could not win on the big day when the going got tough and the games got very tight.

  48. In fairness Mayo were routed at midfield in 2004. Ruane held Peter Canavan well that year. Crowley did well, winning ball, but Crowley did not score in that game. JOD had the better of Keith Higgins in both games yet it gets listed as one of his best performances.
    Also that Colm Cooper praise is always listed.

  49. David Moran won the game eventually (along with cormac) for Kerry in 14 and the ball JOD got pumped in was first class , he played all over the forward area that day and Keith was everywhere winning his share . You say jOD won the battle , I’d contest that and say Keith was excellent .

    There is flaw in context of your point about Crowley not scoring , jack o started Crowley that day and everyone said it was a great decision afterwards as he won every ball that near went in to him . Kerry destroyed us tactically in them years we just didn’t have the football brain power on the line .

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