The last of the local rivalries

As I mentioned on this week’s Mayo News football podcast (which, in case you haven’t yet listened to it, is available here), while our defeat to Galway last year may have cost us an historic Connacht six-in-a-row it gave us back a local rivalry that had in recent years fallen into abeyance. Just how strongly that desire for local one-upmanship has once more become will be ever more evident as the days tick down to Sunday.

Galway’s win that Saturday evening last June was their first over us in the championship since 2008 and we remain unbeaten against them at Sunday’s Pearse Stadium venue since 2007. Following those back-to-back defeats to them in 2007/8, we’ve since racked up wins over them in 2009 (Pearse Stadium), 2011 (MacHale Park), 2013 (Pearse Stadium), 2014 (MacHale Park) and 2015 (Pearse Stadium).  But it’s that loss to them at MacHale Park last year that has set the cat amongst the pigeons and has given the Tribesmen renewed hope that the wheel is once more turning.

The return to rude health of the Mayo/Galway local rivalry contrasts starkly with trends to the contrary in the other provinces. Dublin/Meath matches were fiercely contested once upon a time but not any more. Kerry and Cork’s rivalry appears to be going the same way, while Tyrone’s crushing of Derry the other week showed that there’s slim pickings in the area of local contests up in Ulster too.

Realistically, there are only a few provincial matches worth bothering about in the championship ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend and Sunday’s showdown at Pearse Stadium is probably the most interesting one of the lot. It’s certainly the only one where an age-old local rivalry will be given a further vigorous twist in the modern era. This is something both sets of supporters should celebrate.

The bookies reckon we’ll reassert our recent dominance over the Heron Chokers on Sunday and Paddy Power have installed us as 4/7 favourites to prevail, though the handicap is set at just two points (match odds here). What do you think, though?

How will we do against Galway on Sunday?

  • Win (74%, 445 Votes)
  • Lose (18%, 107 Votes)
  • Draw (8%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 601

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57 thoughts on “The last of the local rivalries

  1. I have to say I’m chomping for this one. While Salthill has many faults, having such a big derby game in one of the best cities in Europe is a big plus. Watching Fat Laurence elegantly sashaying behind the counter as he pulls pint after pint of stout, his beautifully coifed hair bouncing in the air like a Celtic Carlos Valderrama is up there with the Mona Lisa for its beauty. Jesus, if wasn’t for the wife, kids and work I’d nearly hit off today….

  2. I am old enough to remember the great Mayo-Galway rivalry stretching back to the 1950s. Your piece, Willie Joe, brought me back to the 1966 when the great Galway team were seeking the third of their three-in-a row all-ireland titles. They had hammered us by 2-12 to 1-5 in the 1964 Connacht final; we did not meet in 65 as we lost to Sligo in the semi-final. But we were full of hope in 1966 that we would dethrone the champions only to be beaten by a point in injury time . Now my memory is not the best but , as far as I remember, it was a majestic free from way out on the sideline by sharpshooter Cyril Dunne’s sideline that gave them that heartbreak victory. I believe if we had won that day we would have gone on to grab the Sam Maguire cup.
    We avenged that loss in 1967 when we hammered the Tribesmen by 11 points in the Connacht semi-final and blitzed Leitrim by 20 points in the final. The bookies made us firm favourites to win the All-Ireland but we lost our leader and talisman, John Morley (RIP), to appendicitis a few weeks before the All-Ireland semi-final. John, just a couple of weeks out of hospital, was called on as a substitute 15 minutes from the end but he was too ill to alter the result and Meath won by six points. It would be another 22 years before we were to contest an All-Ireland final.
    The memories of the wonderful players we had then – full-back Ray Prendergast, John Morley at centre-half, Joe Langan at midfield, and the mercurial Joe Corcoran in the forward line – all now sadly passed away – still give me reason to smile. Haven’t we been blessed over the last 5 to 6 years with the wonderful, never–say-die bunch we have now? If any team ever deserved an All-Ireland triumph it is them. Sunday next against our old nemesis will hopefully be the next step in bringing Sam home for the first time in – what is it? – 66 years! Up Mayo!!!!!

  3. Remember last year the talk in the Galway camp from Kevin Walsh was about all of the players that had turned down the offer of joining the panel. This year the talk is in the opposite direction, it is about players coming back into their panel. I prefer to hear talk like this coming from Galway compared to them playing the poor mouth and talking down their chances. Remember on here last year also, most people were talking about not would we win the game but how much we would win by. This year people are seeing it as been a lot more of an even game. Again you much prefer to see that happening from our supporters. It should be an interesting game anyway!

  4. Its a pity Mayo and Galway are not seeded and save the biggest game in Connaght untill the final….The last few years it has been the semi and even quater finals we have met …..The Connaght final itself is a bigger game and occasion….
    If Conor Oshea is injured then i think we could see the only change fron Sligo team and Aiden will come in for him
    Its going to be a close game with Galway hitting us on the break….Comer Shane Walsh Cummins Michael Daly Armstrong will take some minding ….We should have enough posession to get over the line Mayo by 4 pts
    Its a pity Anthony Finnerty could not talk his son into playing for Mayo he will be a very good forward for Galway in the next few years…

  5. The first thing that strikes me about this match is off the pitch – the traffic problems associated with Salthill. Galway is terrible for traffic on match days and with the match at 4pm, it’ll eat up the day for most folks. In relation to the 2023 rugby world cup and choice of venues, McHale Park will probably lose out to Salthill in terms choosing a Connacht venue, but that sadly will result from strong vested interests in the Galway business community as opposed to applying objective criteria on the suitability of the respective grounds. McHale Park is far better for traffic management etc. that Salthill however for the aforementioned reasons, I think Salthill will be chosen as the rugby world cup venue.

    I have to say WJ that I think Meath and Kildare will provide creditable opposition to Dublin in Leinster this year. Cian O’Neil and McEntee are both doing good jobs with those teams. Meath scored 27 points against a Louth team that has been promoted twice is as many years. It appears the Royals are beginning to stir again and if I was to be honest, I wouldn’t be taking anything for granted if we played them later in the c/ship. I appreciate Meath conceded 3 goals and I think Dublin will win Leinster, however I don’t think it will be a foregone conclusion.

    On the D Connolly linesman incident against Carlow, for me the biggest disappointment is the fact that any suspension will be time-based rather than match based – a silly disciplinary cop-out on behalf of the GAA. All suspension should be match based, not time based for obvious reasons.

  6. Was over from England last week, would like to share a few experiences with you. I have a son who is GAA / Mayo fanatic. I contacted the Mayo county board to see if there was any training etc. he could observe during our stay because we had missed the Sligo game. They never bothered to reply.

    In contrast, we stayed near Breaffy. We played ball there daily and were treated so well by the people. Highlight being Aidan O Shea coming to meet my son and spend time talking to him. He then went to his house and returned with his training top from last years All Ireland final for my son to keep. He is a credit to Mayo – true gent and inspiration for young people.

  7. I like it when you learn something that you thought all along is wrong. I’v always been thinking it was ‘Herring chokers’ with Galways strong fishing tradition.
    But it’s the poor oul Heron sitting atop a Scots pine in a boggy field in Letterfrak that has suffered at the hands of the Galway man. Jese there wouldn’t be much atein on a Heron whatever the issue was there.

  8. John Mc Hale…..some memories you have there! I have them too. I’m glad to report though that Jinking Joe, the flier from Ardnaree is still with us.

  9. Sorry, In Betweener, it was a slip of the pen, as we used to say. I know, of course, that Jinking Joe is still alive and indeed turned out to be a top-class golfer after he retired from football. I once marked – or was supposed to mark – Joe in a street league game in Ballina and, even though I thought I was fast, he left me for dead!

  10. The extended weather forecast for Galway over the next 7 days isn’t promising. Will likely be showery and windy over most of next weekend. Given the talked up physicality from Galway and our obvious strengths, it has the makings of a scrappy encounter with plenty of frees. Good job we have the best in the business in our corner.

  11. This may be heretical, but I have no problem with the rivalry dying out!

    if Mayo are hammering the bejasus out of Galway every year, which for the last 7 years until 2016 we were, that’s fine by me.

    We have a great rivalry with Dublin at the moment, but I want that to end. Ten in a row woudn’t be enough for me. It won’t be reciprocated, I keep telling my kids when they support Mayo now against Dublin (they really do want us to win),

    In fact a local rivalry can lower your ambition. You can be so obsessed with getting one over on your next door neighbour, that you can’t see further than that. I know a particularly obnoxious Galway supporter (living in Mayo of course), whose chief pleasure in life seems to be seeing Mayo defeated in anything, at any level. When Mayo didn’t make the league semis two years ago after the drawn match against Donegal, she was ecstatic. However, she wasn’t in Tuam to see Galway win their last match. In other words, she got more satisfaction from a Mayo failure, than a Galway success!

    it is to the eternal credit of James Horan that he brought Mayo to a new level of excellence, where Connaught opponents went over like skittles. Not because it’s great to keep the others down (though there is a certain pleasure…), but because it broadened our horizons and made Croker the place to be at the business end of the season. I get the feeling from listening to the (excellent) podcast that we are still not respected by our neighbours, who kept referring to the size and fearsomeness of, as yet, a bunch of nobodies.

    Time to see just how many hammerings will deliver that respect. Let’s give them another on Sunday.

  12. Nice story about AOS. Have to say the lad is great with kids. Hope he plays midfield the next day moving into forwards in 2nd half when Tom P takes the field. That means we could replace COS with Kirby a scoring forward.

  13. Seeing Galway or Roscommon or both beaten to oblivian would give most Mayo supporters great satisfaction. Nothing pleasurable in seeing those who revel at our downfall getting ahead against or others

  14. That’s probably good for Dublin as the lad is more of a distraction these days. Would be sending out a wrong message about following the rules and referees if he got away with it.

  15. Tyrone’s crushing of Derry the other week showed that there’s slim pickings in the area of local contests up in Ulster too.

    Not so sure about that Willie. Monaghan,Donegal,Tyrone are all division one teams and of a similar level and can all beat each other on any given day. The rivalry between those three teams would be very strong.

    Then you have Cavan who are better than Derry,Down,Fermanagh,Antrim in Ulster and will be hoping to join the rivalry list this year or the years ahead.

  16. Proposed ban Mayo husband. Dublin gaa will appeal it. Don’t underestimate their influence.

  17. Funny thing John McHale…I was on the same pitch as him for some reason one time when I rem him distinctly whizzing by like a breeze.

  18. Well they have the right to appeal, what county wouldn’t. In my opinion appeal has no chance and that’s a good thing for Dublin.

  19. Mayohusband and NialMc1983. Definitely this is a ban not as yet set in stone. Going on previous form I would expect this ‘Proposed’ ban to be appealed. However it would put the GAA in a precarious position if the ban was recended or reduced , given that Davy Fitzgerald, Kieran McGeeny and (in very similar circumstances to the the Diarmuid Connolly incident) Tipperary Goalkeeper Evan Commerford,.are all serving bans. It depends on the Dublin County board the extent they are prepared to go, their pockets are deep, very deep. Recently an Antrim player, ‘Matthew Fitzpatrick’ had a proposed 48 week ban overturned, with the help of. Barrister and GAA pundit Joe Brolly. So expect this particular soap opera to run a little longer.. If the ban is upheld, be warned there will be considerable pressure from the Dublin friendly media to have ‘sanctions’ enforced in the case of any of their rivals transgression’s. So be fore warned, any Mayo player who playes on the edge and has a reputation. Big brother will be out to get ya!

  20. I’m not convinced they’ll appeal this one. There seems to be growing frustration with Connolly within that camp and they may well take their medicine this time.

  21. I think the ban is harsh. It’s a case of a player being judged on past incidents or public perception. If that was a Carlow player would he have got 12 weeks?

  22. To be honest I don’t think Connolly would be as big a loss as he may have been in the past. His league form has been very poor. I know he has the potential to change a game, lately that potential hasn’t been in Dublins favor more the opposite. I think Dublin can survive without him and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is no appeal, it may be Jim Gavins way to reprimand him?

  23. Aussie Rules think silly comment re Connolly….that game has gone softer than GAA and as far as I remember he has been playing with his club. He plays it hard and tough. Ban justified based on rules but in fairness rule is a joke….. if any of our lads got 12 weeks for what he did we would be up in arms.

  24. I think you’re out of line with that comment @freespoon. BTW he has played in compromised rules.

    Hard to argue with the ban since others are currently serving similar ones but it seems a bit harsh imo.

  25. I hope the house rules apply to comments about Diarmuid Connolly WJ, unacceptable one above

  26. Thanks Big Mike, I’ve only just seen it now.

    Freespoonwitheverytub – I’ve had to delete that comment, which was way out of order and completely uncalled for.

    I have to say I’m struggling with all the interest being expressed in this particular disciplinary case. Personally, I can’t think beyond Galway on Sunday right now!

  27. Yew _tree,
    I agree with you, is there an underlying appetite for precieved justice and the first scenario that presents itself we hear the collective shout BAN HIM IF IT WAS ONE OF OURS HE WOULD BE DONE. I for one would be most unpleased if one of Kerrys best players was sidelined for the bulk of the championship for something as innocuous as this appears to be. Unless the verbal exchange was of a threatening or particularly insulting nature I think the contact was minimal and not befitting the proposed sanction.

    I am heading to Clare next Sunday but I would rather be in Salthill for the first of 2017’s meaningful battles with real warriors on both sides. Mayo should be too experienced and despite Galways improving strength and conditioning I think ye are too strong for them. Two concerns I would have for Mayo is your most recent outing against Sligo in that ye should have put them to bed with more efficiency (to be fair, for top teams it’s difficult to raise the team to expected efficiency when the result is being spoken of as a foregone conclusion). The other concern I have for Mayo this year is that ye met Dublin quiet late in the league and failed to land a glove on them. Going into that game I expected a game at almost championship pace and with a serious edge, the Dubs delivered but strangely ye didn’t.

    I couldn’t understand where that fight that is now synonymous with Mayo had gone, no doubt Galway will focus the minds and the necessary ingredients of adrenaline, testosterone and bring out the unyielding pride that is sewn with green and red threads that unites the great GAA community in Mayo. Galway played the league final in a manner that could be accurately described as a game of two halves, the first half was a display of defensive, tactical and visually toxic football to watch. The second half was a fast moving skilful instinctive display of football that fed a well drilled forward unit that caused all kinds of problems for Kildare. Mind you Kildare also grew when both teams decided to throw off the blanket and put on the jersey.

    Galway are mindful of mayos running game and will probably defend heavily until the early ringing in the ears settles, Galway can afford to loose blood in the qualifiers as they will still be barking and wagging their tails next year but Mayo have had many brutally unrewarding campaigns and I’m afraid winter is coming. Mayo aren’t going to fall off a cliff but they will certainly find it harder to blossom with such potential over the next few years, a win on Sunday is of the utmost !!

    Good luck to all next Sunday.

  28. Getting back to the game I have to say most galway people myself included have mayo ahead of us. I went to castlebar with hope last year but mayo really underperformed on the night and a lot of Galway guys stood up. I think mayo will edge a tight one but a lot will depend on the middle third. When conroy goes well galway go well. Speaking of conroy, could do with an input from Mickey around now, worked last year. Here’s hoping for a good game and enjoy the city of the tribes!!

  29. Local rivalry…i expect or to be a war on sunday! I expect both teams to set up defensively and it to be s physical scrappy cagey affair. In such a situation the team with the better forwards should prevail as chances will be at a premium.. But that said Mayo usually win their wars and have vast experience of such games. ..but you just wouldn’t know how it will go which is exactly your point I guess WJ

  30. @catcol…..granted Galway may not have been playing at the highest level for a good few years now, but to call them “a bunch of nobodies” is a tad OTT and completely disrespectful. A lot of these lads may not be local celebrities but a fair few of them have All Ireland medals in their arse pockets at various levels of the game. It’s worth something in my book.

  31. John Mc hale. I too was at that game in 1966. My recollection was that joe missed a 14yard free in the last minute. Hard to think that we thought 15year wait for Sam to return was a long time. Best of luck to the team on Sunday. I think Aos should start at midfield

  32. A defeat for Mayo on Sunday would be an absolute disaster for this team. We need to get our Connacht title back and go in the front door this year. When is the last time we didn’t even reach a Connacht final in two consecutive years? (without checking the results archive section on this site). Good few years ago i’d say.

  33. Ha ha.. winters coming.. very good Gamechanger10. I’m a bit of a Game of Thrones fan myself and the storyline of that programme so far is that for those who are currently sitting on the throne.. winter is indeed coming. Us foke out west are well used to the cold and salty sea air so winter don’t have quiet the same effect. To use your descriptive style.. it will be very interesting to see how and where the battles will be fought, what strongholds will fall first, what blood will be spilt and who will get to sit on the throne after a final epic battle. Don’t you know the only thing winter is good for is training dragons 🙂

  34. A year til Sunday, I think you picked up the wrong end of the stick with Catcol. I understood that he meant the Galway lads think Mayo are nobodies?!

  35. Just checked 1966 final result. Galway 12 pts Mayo 1 . 8. M j ruddy got the goal

  36. – Galway v Mayo 1999 so memorable, I will never forget the buzz in Tuam square after that match.
    – Galway v Mayo 1982 will never forget that hammering
    – Its a given that Mayo will not be as dopey headed and dead legged as they were last year.
    -Its also a given that Galway with a few returnees plus Daly plus one year more of S&C will be better
    – If we start with the same fullback line and No sweeper like v Sligo then we are heading for trouble.
    – None of our mid fielders have both the pace and football skills to mark Conroy. That job is perfect for Diarmuid, Conroy will do damage, he has to be held.
    – If our attitude is right and we master their FF line and Conroy we should be okay otherwise we will be heading for replay in McHale Park.

  37. A defeat on Sunday will be a huge blow to the
    team alright. It will be very hard for the lads
    to get themselves up to go through the
    Qualifiers again. Win or bust on Sunday alright.

  38. Jim flag – good question!! Tempted to say 07 and 08, but can’t recall if 08 loss to Galway in castlebar was a final or not. I think it was though

    02 and 03. Losses to Galway in Salthill and Castlebar respectively. Was 02 a Connacht final?

  39. If this Mayo team have serious ambitions of winning this year’s All Ireland then Galway should hold no fear and a win by 6 points or more should be the outcome.
    Kerry & the Dubs will be a huge challenge later in the Summer.

  40. Best of good luck and everything that goes with it to our great team on Sunday. If we get through Galway, we will go all the way this year. This is our biggest test. No doubts after we win on Sunday. Enjoyed the podcast. I work on mayo/galway border and cant bear to think of next mon if the unthinkable happens.oh the nerves are settling in now.

  41. Mairead that is championship football and that is why we are so passionate about it.. It’s body and soul and those that wear our colours represent us. The passion of the GAA is defined by Club, County, colour and not contract. This is what makes it so local and so personal. The pride of a people is beyond measure.

    Toe to hand I’m laughing but it’s not far from the truth,,

  42. Ayeartillsunday and Sinead – I said Galway were, AS YET, a bunch of nobodies. In other words, this Galway squad hasn’t won championship matches in Croker at the business end of the season – to date.

    If this seems harsh, it is a Mayo blog here and I feel entitled to paint the place green and red (and to their credit most Galway contributions that I see are intelligent and well argued). Nor am dismissing Galway. Indeed last year, I went for them (!!) because Mayo had a raft of injuries, and I didn’t buy the line that Galway were starting with a lot of rookies – all those guys had a lot of game time in the league.

    Furthermore, if Aidan isn’t playing on Sunday, this will be a huge loss for us and make the job very difficult. It’s just that I have become accustomed to Mayo dishing it out, and I have no problem with that continuing, indefinitely, even at the cost of great rivalries.

  43. Gamechanger10 the pride we have in this team over the last few years is certainly beyond measure. It almost feels like they belong to all our families at home and abroad.

  44. I grew up in Salthill and know every lane way like the back of my hand. Traffic is only bad if you follow the normal routes! For anyone coming in from Mayo or Dublin for that matter…My advice, if any of ye want a clever place to park, particularly if you intend to leave after the match not hang about Salthill and beat the traffic…go to Google Maps and type in ‘Sycamore Drive, Galway’.

    If you drive to the end of this cul de sac, there are ample places to park for free and you’ll see a very short pedestrian walkway (20 yards) through onto Taylors Hill. If you then walk up the hill for about 300 yards, passing the Ardilaun Hotel you will come across a gap in the wall on your left leading to another pedestrian walkway which will bring you down to a residential area (glenard crescent) when you come out of the walk way, just walk straight for about 150 yards and Pearse Stadium is in front of you! From car to stadium is about a 10 min walk. You’ll get way ahead of the traffic on your way home if you park here.

    How to get to Sycamore Drive?

    When you get to Galway get to the Headford Road roundabout…head for and cross the quincentennial bridge (N6). When you cross the bridge go straight thru the lights and straight through the first roundabout (Browne Roundabout) onto Séamus Quirke Road. At the next traffic lights take a left onto Old Séamus Quirke Road…at the T-junction take a right onto Rahoon Road, then take your next left into an estate signposted Oakley Crescent….follow the road around to your left and take the right hand turn onto Sycamore Drive. Drive straight up to the green area and you’ll see the walkway. Park there! Follllw same route back for return home and trust me, you’ll leapfrog heaps of traffic still stuck in Salthill!

    Ps: the Rockbarton Terrace(behind the goals) is where Mayo supporters are going to congregate. Plz pass on this info.

  45. Better again through a bike rack on the back of the car and a few bikes. Then ye can park a few miles from the stadium and beat all the traffic. There may also be a park and ride in Ballybrit Racecourse, think there was a few years ago.

  46. A question for posters do Lacken Gaa club in north Mayo still have a team ?

  47. The 08 loss was the Connacht final. I reckon 2002, 03 perhaps? @JimFlag and MayoMark.

  48. It was way before then, lads – 1976/8 was the most recent time we failed in successive years to reach the Connacht final (three years in a row in that sequence). When we played Galway in the Connacht semi-final of 2011 the same prospect faced us – I wrote about it at the time (here).

  49. It’s been some run since 2011. We are lucky supporters. I’m down in Carlow the week lads going around the week long in the jerseys. One lad told me he bought it after.

  50. Well, folks, time is getting close now, and the butterflies are beginning to appear. People now wondering about team selections; will Michael Meehan start; will Tom Flynn be deployed at full forward; any injury worries – intriguing stuff. I really hope mother nature grants us a dry day, with little breeze. The reason I say this is, the bond between players and supporters becomes tangible when there is a zip to the ball, and handling conditions are good. Moreover, players tend to be more open to self expression – which to date is sadly lacking all over. I have a feeling it could yet be a glorious year for Connaught football! Catcoll/Sinead, I presume you’ll be handling the large banner – did I hear someone say it’s sponsored by Playtex! LOL

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