Diary of a junior minister

When we come together as Mayo supporters, we do so from many different places. Here’s first time guest contributor Trevor Naughton with his story on being an avid follower of the county team.

The GAA is founded on supporting the team where you are born. I am an oddity. My name is Trevor Naughton. I am born and bred Kildare but I am a Mayo supporter through and through.

What’s this all about you may ask?

My father Michael Naughton is a Mayo football fanatic from Lahardane and down to him I am exactly the same. He looks like that politician Dick Spring and as I’m the young lad I’m the Junior Minister. By right I should be supporting Kildare but my Dad’s love of Mayo has been passed on to me!

Trevor Naughton pic

Photo: Trevor Naughton, featuring Trevor, his father Michael and Billy Joe Padden

Basically he met my mother and settled in Maynooth, Co. Kildare in 1979. For me my football team was always, as that lovely new song goes, “Only Mayo”.

As a child Dad brought me to Mayo matches up and down the country. Always making the long trek for league matches that meant little or nothing to anyone else but meant the world to me.

This was where I fell in love with the Green and Red. Those days, Mayo would often be beaten and I would return home to my friends who would slag off Mayo, but it was water off a duck’s back. This was my Dad’s team and my team. I always fought our corner. Even more so in school against Meath and Kildare lads!

The highlight of my own playing career came very early in Croke Park at U14 for Maynooth Post Primary School in 1995. We played the “full pitch” and won by 4-3 to 2-7 against the fabled O’Connell’s School from Jones Road. I kicked one point from play into Hill 16 and felt like a hero that day. My best memory was not playing in Croker at all. When I got home Dad said “Congrats Willie Joe”. I felt like a king that day.

Most of Dad’s friends are all from various parts of Mayo – Murrays from Achill, Pigeons from Swinford ย and Kilkenny from Aghamore to name a few. Mighty men one and all.

When Mayo lost it was us against the world surrounded by Kildare folk. When Mayo won, you’d hear “It’s only Connacht” but it didn’t bother me.

Around ’96/7 I’d started to work in a local shop and I’d wear my jersey to work as often as possible. Jimmy Nallen worked in Maynooth College at the time and he was a customer and he was always generous enough to stop and chat. I think he thought I was a bandwagon jumper but seeing me wear the Mayo jersey all through Kildare’s run in ’98 (especially after 1996/7) must have convinced him otherwise!

I was asked a hundred times those days “If Mayo played Kildare in an All-Ireland who would you support?” The answer was always Mayo.

The group of us going to matches may have dwindled over the years due to the passing of good men like Eamonn Gallagher from Achill or Danny Fitz (from Cavan, but a convert to going to games). But the craic is still ninety going to Mayo matches.

The advent of Twitter has allowed me get in touch with other Mayo GAA folk and meeting at games is always great craic. You would not meet better than Nigel Quinn, Emma McDonagh, Anne-Marie Flynn and John Courell (@maigheoforsam, @emmamc7, @amflynn and @jcourell respectively) to name a few! I’ve even converted the Oul’ Lad to Twitter.

Over the last few years, the season ticket has rewarded the loyal supporter and given I have no club in Mayo I’m glad of it, especially come final time. I hope everyone who deserves a ticket gets one and I’d like to wish every Mayo supporter a joyous build-up to the final and an even better after party.

Losing all those finals has not made me waiver, only hungrier and I won’t go hungry much longer. This team is simply the best ever assembled.

So Mayo people, never forget how lucky you are to be from a county that has been so consistent at producing top quality footballers and people. Never get down on your county. I’m from Kildare supporting Mayo and even the Kildare folk have given up questioning it. Its a feckin’ mighty place you are from.

Mayo Forever.

Mayo for Sam.

Trevor Naughton is on Twitter @trevornaughton.

26 thoughts on “Diary of a junior minister

  1. Nice piece Trevor. I’d say your story mirrors a lot of people’s here who for one reason or another have to live the wrong side of Shrule, Charlestown, Ballyhaunis or Ballina. Flying the Mayo flag in Louth here, and since the Tyrone match have been heartened by the number of Mayo flags that have sprung up on cars and houses. Surely Mayo has the greatest emigrant population of any county? But while you can take a man (or woman) from the county, you can’t take the county from the man. And that often goes for his sons and daughters too, and theirs, and ….

  2. Lovely piece, fair play to ya.

    Im similar in a way, born in England , raised in Wicklow till i was eleven and then moved home to Mayo.Going to Mayo matches from toddler age onwards, travelling down west from kilcoole became a ritual and a bond with the aul fella that will last a lifetime and beyond.

  3. As I was driving past the Green & Red festooned O’Dea’s pub in Portarlington the other day, my three-year-old son (born here in Laois) pipes up from the back seat “MAYO FLAGS, DADDYYYY!!!”

    I have hopes for him.

  4. Well said Trevor no xactly how u feel. I have been flyin the flag for Mayo in Maynooth for more years than I care to Remember. We all no what a fanatical supporter your Dad is. Hope you all enjoy the game.

  5. Great piece Trevor………………………………A poser for all !!! Would the present Mayo 2013 beat the Donegal 2012 AI final team ???

  6. Probably my favourite piece yet Trevor (and not just cos of the mention – cheers!). Just shoes how deep the passion and the pride goes no matter where you’re based. The amount of flags in every town on the trip west from Dublin says it all. Six sleeps …

  7. Oh Trevor that was fabulous thank you so much … All I can say is Mayo supporters are the best simply the best … Gerry in Laois The owners of that pub hail from my lovely village of Cross (near Cong) if you ever decide to call in tell them Paddy Mc T’s daughter says hello ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Trevor…are the students still afraid to go into Brady’s? That pub had one bad reputation.

    Was Johnny Nevin training the team when ye played in Croke Park? Another good Kildare man of Mayo stock if I remember correctly.

    It must have been brutal in 96 though living that close to Meath…..fair play to ye for keeping the faith

  9. Nice piece Trevor

    Joe Mc

    You asked me in an earlier piece why I was so confident about COC

    From the training sessions I knew he was back doing light training shortly after the semi final and later full sessions. He was always match fit so hasn’t lost the time that Andy did last year.

    From several pieces in the media, including Sean Rice in the Mayo News and previous cases, you can recover in time from his injury.

    Here’s hoping he starts and it holds up for 70 minutes as he is integral to our goal chances being put away

  10. Great piece Trevor.

    My parents moved to Meath when I was very young and so I went to school and was brought up in Trim. Similarly to yourself though, there was never any question as to where I was from and who I support. All seven of us in fact. We’ve even converted my mother who is from Laois!

    I was in leaving cert when Mayo met Meath in 1996. Much like yourself my loyalties were questioned several times so in order to avoid answering the same question several times over I wore the Mayo jersey to ever training session that Summer!

    I’ve always taken great pride in where I’m from, what we represent and the support we give the Mayo team. Particularly for those living outside of Mayo, the camaraderie that comes with following Mayo means an awful lot. I’ve been going to Mayo matches all over Ireland with my father for almost thirty years now. I can’t think of anything I would rather do than watch twenty six Mayo ascend the steps of the Hogan Stand with the oul lad beside me.

  11. What’s the great news on O’Connor. I am not yet a convert of Twitter or Facebook! i assume he has passed all tests and fit to play?

  12. Thanks mayomaningalway, I will have a look. By the way, enjoy the night in Lonergans, many is the pint I had in that place but I will pass on heading up for that night! Are you sorted with a ticket yet?

  13. As a Mayoman living in Meath, delighted that my daughter has turned into an avid Mayo fan. At 13, she told me she read James Horans article in the Info yesterday. The boys at school asked her why she was reading the sports pages to which she confidently replied, because Mayo are going to win the All Ireland. Come on Mayo!

  14. Hi Trevor.

    A great piece. I too am in the same boat. My Dad, a regular contributor to this fine blog (‘a covie supporter’), is a proud Westport man.

    He, along with my brother and myself, are fanatical Mayo supporters. I played senior football for a club in Dublin, the county of my birth, yet I have always supported the green and red. We attend all league and championship matches together. In fact a club mate of mine will be lining out for Dublin in the forwards on Sunday. We are slagged for our unwavering allegiance. This will never change.

    Following our win vs the Dubs last year we bumped into a large group of our club mates outside Meaghers in Ballybough. The lads shouted ‘yiz are wearing the wrong jersey’. My brothers response was classic “it fits just fine lads”.

    PS the school you played at u14 was my alma mater. You are a few years younger than me!

    Up Mayo
    First Gen Dub (green and red blood).

  15. Fair play. First Gen Dub,
    Great to see the next generation carry on for when we ould lads can’t, not saying we are done yet.
    As they say, just because you’re born in a stable it doesn’t make you an ass.

  16. Thanks for all the comments everyone. First gen Dub fair play to you it cant be easy fighting the good fight in Dublin. We must win this on Sunday for lads like you!

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