An even half-century of results

In this season of frost, cold, wet and dark with bugger all happening on the playing fields, you’ll be glad to know that I’ve continued to plug away at compiling a comprehensive results archive for the county’s league and championship fixtures. So much so, in fact, that I’m now happy to stick out my chest and announce that I’ve reached a significant milestone: the process of collecting all of our league and championship results for the last 50 years is now complete.  Here it is.

For every NFL and championship game that we’ve played between 1959 (where the earliest match was our league encounter against Leitrim on the 1st of March that year, which we lost) and this year (where our most recent competitive fixture was also a defeat: that one-point loss to Tyrone in the final round of the qualifiers at Croke Park on the 2nd of August), the archive contains details of every match result, as well as the date and venue for every game and full details of the Mayo team and scorers.  This latter information took a while to track down but I recently forked out for a sub to the Irish Newspaper Archives (giving me access to back issues of the Indo, the Connaught Telegraph and other provincial titles) and this enabled me to fill in most of the details that were missing from the match reports I’d already sifted through in the Irish Times digital archive.  I got 90% of what I was looking for using this source and then, for the more obscure results, I recently paid a few visits to the magnificent National Library of Ireland, which is situated up here on Kildare Street.  There, I was quickly able to track down all the missing results in the back issues of the Western, the Mayo News, the Connaught Telegraph and the Irish Press that the Library hold on microfilm.

Fifty years of football has given us plenty of famous names and the image at the start of this post is a tag cloud I created on Wordle containing the names of every player involved in our final championship game in every year between 1959 and 2008 (it would have taken too long to input all the details for every game over such an extended period of time – even the obsessive compulsive within me knows when he’s licked).  If you want to study the names in more detail, just click on the image to enlarge it or else check out the original image here.

I can’t yet confirm that I have, for sure, listed every single competitive game we’ve played at senior level for the last fifty years (I’ve deliberately ignored things like the Gael Linn Cup and the Grounds Tournament but I have included oddities such as Mayo’s Gaelic football match against the Aussies in 1967, an occasion which I hope to come back to in more detail another time) and I need to go back over the results again in more detail to make sure that I haven’t missed anything.  Likewise, there are sure to be errors in there as to players’ names (apart from anything else, there are loads of mistakes in match reports in the national papers – I found that players’ intials were often hit and miss in match reports, especially the further back in time you go) and I need to go over the whole archive again to make sure that, where possible, such errors are eliminated.  If anyone spots a mistake in any of the records, you might let me know and I’ll correct it.

As this is very much a closed season activity, I don’t think I’ll be doing a whole load more on the archive over the next while but it’s far from being a complete data set just yet.  The two next additions on the agenda are to include minor and U21 records (for which I’m going to compile complete championship records from 2000 onwards, as well as every All-Ireland winning campaign at minor and U21 level for the years prior to then) and then to keep pushing back in time with the senior records.  I’ve already made a start on the Fifties (partial details for 1957 and 1958 are already up on the site) and a few more trips to the National Library should enable me to complete excavating all relevant details for the last two All-Ireland winning campaigns (it really was a long, long time ago, guys!).

I’m not sure when I’ll get all this done, what with work and the return of live action in the New Year, but when I started out collecting old results around this time last year, I never expected that, only twelve months later, I’d have managed to collect match details for as far back in time as I have done.  The results for the next fifty years will, for sure, take a lot more time and effort to track down but I’m still aiming, in the fullness of time, to complete the process.

12 thoughts on “An even half-century of results

  1. Once more congratulations, Ive spent many an evening looking back on teams and finding, often to my surprise, such and such a lad played for Mayo. You have created a comprehensive piece of work and we are indebted to you.

  2. Thanks, ontheroad, it’s been an experience in itself compiling the records, reading again about matches I remember being at and, for the records further back, reading for the first time about games that were played before I was born. I’m looking forward to seeing the archive stretch back as far as 1936 – before then, we know that there’s no more gold to unearth!

  3. We are humbled by your efforts Willy Joe – a master archive. What more can I say ? ….. except thanks for providing not just a top notch archive but for also providing ‘the’ platform for some mature commentary and exchanges on Mayo football. That’s what distinguishes what you do from some of the other ‘forums’ where the good can be swamped by the bad.
    Even if 2008 was a disappointing year (except for the minors of course) I trust we will all still head into 2009 ready as ever to support the cause.
    Happy Christmas.
    Maighe Eo Abu !!!

  4. Cheers, Ma-Yoman, many happy returns. I’m going to have great fun next year boring the arse off all and sundry about how we fared against so-and-so 47 years ago and what it all means for how we’ll do against them in ’09!

    I can’t take any of the credit for the standard of the commentary on the site – that’s all down to you guys. Here’s to more of the same next year as The Second Coming finally starts to deliver (well, we have to hope it will …)

  5. Unbelievable job WJ – a great source for all Mayo fans.

    If the players are as dedicated to the cause Sam will surely arrive soon!

  6. WJ, well done on the archive, fantastic achievement. Bring back bad memories of the late 70’s when our only purpose was to get destroyed by the Rossies!

  7. Class collage WJ; was it a conscious decision to put the Mortimers in the largest font?

    Hopefully he (or they) live up to your billing.

    Roll on YEAR 3.

  8. thanks again WJ. Top man!! Oh and Happy Christmas and indeed Happy new year to all Mayo Gaels. Will this be the third year lucky for the Mahony?…well we can only improve you would imagine and i think we will. If we can pick up where we left off against tryone and push on a little then we wont be a million miles away. There are an awful lot of bad teams out there. Leinster is at it lowest ebb. Up north we can compete with their best….we have never had problems with tyrone for some reason. We have genuine reason to fear the kingdom but our biggest threat is closer to home in the form of tribesmen( who could be the dark horses to sneak another major next year). If we can overcome these boyos anything could happen……

  9. The size of the font was dictated by the Wordle tool I used, Shane, not by me! What I did was input one championship line-up (for which I used our final game each year) for each of the 50 years and let Wordle do the rest (apart from the colours). The size of font was dictated purely by the absolute number of times the same names reappeared so I suppose, with three Morts lining out regularly for the county over the past 15 years, it was always going to be the most prominent name, even over a period as long as this.

  10. Thanks for all the kind words lads – as I’ve said, the fun for me was in unearthing the results and reading again about past exploits.

    I’m with Ted as regards ’09: if we can’t be unreasonably optimistic in December about the coming year then it’s time to throw our collective hat at it!

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