Hurlers and Juniors do the business + remembering Joe McDonagh

Mayo hurlers

Photo: @MayoGAA

Well, it’s been a productive weekend for the county, with two of its less heralded teams claiming significant wins. Both the hurlers and the Junior footballers had to battle for their respective victories but in both cases their hard work and effort paid off.

The hurlers looked to be well on their way to an easy enough win over Donegal up in Letterkenny in yesterday’s Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final, as they led the home side by ten points early in the second half. JP Coen’s men had to withstand a determined Donegal fightback, however, but they eventually pulled through on a scoreline of 1-18 to 2-11.

Their reward for the win is a trip to Croke Park on Saturday week (June 4th) where they’ll face Armagh in the Rackard Cup final.  The Orchard County blew away Fingal (no established county nickname for them, I’m afraid) in yesterday’s other semi-final.

Seeing the hurlers trot out at HQ will, for sure, be a novel experience. According to Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser – whose match report is here – this will be the hurlers’ first Croke Park outing since they met (and lost to) Kildare in the All-Ireland ‘B’ hurling final back in 2004.

Saturday week’s Rackard Cup decider is, by the way, paired with the final of the Lory Meagher Cup which sees Sligo take on Louth. A Connacht Mutual Support Pact would, I reckon, be in order for then.

Andrew Farrell with Cup

Photo: @MayoGAA

Onto the Junior footballers who this afternoon at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon beat Galway to claim the Connacht JFC title. It’s back-to-back titles for the county at this grade and an All-Ireland semi-final, against Leinster opposition, is next on the menu for them.

I caught most of the second half of today’s game on Midwest and it sounded like a fairly hard-fought tussle. There was only a point between the teams at the break – with our lads having their noses in front then – and the lead then switched sides a few times over the course of the second half.

With ten minutes to go, the Tribesmen led by one and they regained a one-point advantage with seven minutes on the clock. Down the closing straight, however, it was our lads who held their nerve better, with points from Darren Coen, Ronan Mallee and Coen again (a free) sealing a gutsy two-point win.

Colm Gannon’s match report on this one for the Mayo Advertiser is here.

Well done to both teams and the best of luck to them from here on in their respective quests for national honours.

Finally, it’s only right to acknowledge the sad passing in the early hours of yesterday morning of that great Galway GAA man Joe McDonagh, at the untimely age of just 62.

Joe McDonagh will rightly be remembered principally as an energetic and effective President of the GAA between 1997 and 2000. I think, though, that those of us of a certain age will forever recall him more readily as the Galway hurler who belted out a specially tailored version of The West’s Awake in the Hogan Stand just after Joe Connolly had taken possession of the Liam McCarthy Cup for the Tribesmen in September 1980 and who had himself just made an acceptance speech that would go down in history.

Although this was – and remains – an event quite rightly owned and celebrated by Galway folk, it was also a day that few west of the Shannon will forget and one that most would look back on with considerable fondness. Rest in peace, Joe, and thanks for carving your place amidst the hurling immortals in such a unique fashion:

16 thoughts on “Hurlers and Juniors do the business + remembering Joe McDonagh

  1. Sad indeed to hear of the passing of Joe McDonagh,a fine individual who always came across so well in public and private. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.
    Mick Rock must be getting kinda fed up with all these victorious Mayo teams! I’m anticipating a slight reduction in the radiance of his excellent toothy presentation smile ….as we move along!

  2. That was very sad news to hear about Joe McDonagh. Condolences to his family and his friends. He seemed like a great man.

    Congrats to our Hurlers and our Juniors. Best of luck to them in their next games.

  3. Will mayo v London game be convered in any way by irish tv. They are the main sponsors of london GAA and have naming rights fur Ruislip

  4. Well done to hurlers and Juniors on good wins. RIP Joe McDonagh a great Galway man and also a great Connacht man. If memory serves me correctly he opted to go to the Mayo hotel on the night we lost the AI Final presumably v kerry in 1997 rather than go to the victorious teams hotel that night.

  5. Mayo Juniors have 9 weeks to wait to play their next game. Surely this competition could be organised a little bit better.

  6. The London game is not being shown by anyone as Sky/RTE have the rights. Wonder would anyone be willing to Periscope it?

    RIP Joe McDonagh – he always struck me as a gentleman. That video is truly spine-tingling.

    Well done to our juniors and to our hurlers – we forget that they wear the jersey with just as much pride as our more celebrated teams and it is great to see both doing well.

  7. I can well remember Joe McDonagh RIP, in 1980 as a teenager then that had never witnessed Mayo win a Connaught or Galway win an All Ireland, Both had achieved these Milestones, I was just way too young to remember them or we had no television, actually it was both. We had a telly for a good few years by 1980, After Joe Connelly speech that went down in folklore, Joe McDonagh gave his version of ‘The West’s Awake’ In our house we took it as a victory for the West, and sure that included Mayo, Mayo had been particularly starved of success, for over a decade, but so too had Connacht, in them days I had never seen a Connaught team win any match in Croke park, I know it had occurred I just never seen it. The ruch of adriline, the feel good factor, the joy of our neighbours success I will never forget. Twice in the years to come I met and spoke to Joe, once in Croke Park and last year at a funeral of a neighbour in Keelogues, there was something magnetic about the man. He had a certain charisma that one can sence but cannot describe. And twice I didn’t get to speak to him about Galways great win of 1980, Connellys great speech, or Joes rendition of ‘The West’s Awake’. As a GAA fan I always felt I’d meet him again. One in a Million was Joe! Sincere Sympathy to his Family and I’m sure I speak for all Mayo fans!

  8. Very sad news on the passing of Joe McDonagh, RIP.

    On Tyrone yesterday they looked good (Derry really poor) and I feel they will be in the shake up. I can’t see them actually winning it this year though.

    Roscommon result was as excepted.

  9. Extract from the Irish Times today –

    Blood sacrifices
    We can look forward this summer to more bellicose portrayals of county warriors and their blood sacrifices, or their stout defence of the honour and ways of life of a patch of wet rock which is supposedly distinctive from some other damp outcrop 30 miles down the road.

    Everyone acknowledges what a wonderful social asset this sense of local community can be yet the definitions being taken from it are becoming more and more absurd, especially if an overwhelming drive to win encourages naked blackguarding.

    The former Kerry player Paul Galvin recently outlined how he’d been in Castlebar for a Mayo-Dublin league game and been disappointed at how Mayo – as a generic 2,159 square mile entity you understand – had missed out on giving a perfect state of intent when three Dublin supporters strolled onto the pitch at half time waving a flag.

    “It was a great opportunity for Mayo to make a counter-statement of their own . . . get off our land and remember the day you were hunted. Didn’t happen,” Galvin tut-tutted.

    What exactly does that mean? What was that counter-statement supposed to be? Should the flower of Mayo manhood have been released early from the dressing-rooms in order to clatter a trio of attention-seeking gobs****s? Hello High Court.

    Was Enda Kenny supposed to have sent the Garda driver onto the pitch with a bigger and more phallic flag? Should Michael Ring have had a poem written about the siege of McHale Park? Were paratroopers to have landed on Hill 16, taking Drumcondra in a revenge flank attack?

    In reality it was a classic example of saying nothing in a way that says everything about how Galvin and others see themselves – the whole Gaelissimo hard-man bit.

    So much of the championship narrative is filled with this posturing tomfoolery, often by management teams flogging glib generalisations as insight and justifying the consequences with that most gelded of sporting clichés – passion.

  10. Shuffly Deck. Great bit of video there from 1978.

    The most interesting bit of that video for me though is between 1 minute 10 seconds to 1 minute 20. See what used to go on and what they used to get away with on the Hill.

  11. If I am not mistaken Paul Galvin was suspended from his job due to his inability to hold his temper. Now as a pundit its easy for him to define the narrative , if some red blooded Mayo young buck had gone out on the pitch and planted one of the dubs on the jaw he would be able to say that Mayo people are too easily rattled and that they lose sight of the important things blah blah blah blah , once you have a prejudice you can fit any facts and consequent supposition to support it.

    If we win or lose sam this year it wont be down to three dubs out on the machale pitch thats for sure, it might be down to 15 of them out on the croke park pitch alright !

  12. and RIP Joe Mac , I knew him fairly well , he was umpire one time for one of our European GAA matches , when he found out the lad in goal was a German he was delighted and started coaching him instead of umpiring the game, lets just say there was more free outs given than was strictly fair! lord rest him.

  13. Thanks, Shuffly Deck, for putting up that clip of video. I was a “hardy young buck” on the Canal End that day and it brought back memories for me.
    Looking at the Dubs climbing over the wall into Hill 16, I wonder did they climb over it again on the way out before the “Bomber” had finished with them. It’s not too often the Dubs had to cope with a double defeat on final day.

  14. Take that Galvanised man , with a pinch of salt. Sure he has himself galvanised to protect himself. from what? Maybe looking in the mirror, is he not a male model? That says more about how far bullshit can get you in the Ireland of today than the good looks of Paul Galvin. He’s hardly fit for Hollywood, it certainly a good job beards are back in fashion, you can’t see as much of him. . At his best he was some Gaelic footballer tough, credit where credit is due, he made a name himself with a great Kerry football team.. His writing, his fashion sence, if we the Irish public indulge the galvanise says more about us, were his talents at the latter two ever to gain credibility!

  15. RE that 1978 video, I love it, one of my favourites on YouTube, it’s a really great clip.

    But the absolute cheek of the fella presenting the trophy at the end. He lifted the cup himself, and took away that moment from those minors and the captain forever. It wrecks my head every time I watch it!

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