No NFL home comforts for us next year

Photo: Connaught Telegraph

The pitch redevelopment works at MacHale Park are now well advanced from where they were at when the above photo was taken during the summer. Despite this, it’s been reported today that work at the venue won’t be completed in time to host any of Mayo’s home matches in the National League next spring.

Mike Finnerty reports on this in the Irish Examiner (here), with a similar report also appearing in this week’s Mayo News. The gist of this is that the pitch won’t be ready to host matches in the spring and, with no other venue in the county capable of accommodating the kind of crowds that Mayo attract, the only option for next year’s NFL will be to play home matches outside the county or, perhaps, outside the province.

Venues like Dr Hyde Park, Tuam Stadium and Markievicz Park are all likely to come into the reckoning in this regard, depending on which counties we’re set to entertain in next year’s National League. It is, of course, a campaign where, after our year away from the top tier, we’ll be back competing once again in Division One.

It wouldn’t exactly come as a thunderbolt from the heavens if we were to be rostered with three rather than four home games in 2022 and were this to happen it’d make the job of finding venues for these fixtures easier to sort. Because of the recent debate on Championship structures, leading to the Special Congress on the issue, the League fixtures for next year haven’t been finalised yet but you’d expect that this should happen inside the next few weeks. Once this occurs, confirmation should follow on where our ‘home’ ties will be played.

While this will be a novel development for us, it’s far from a unique situation for counties to find themselves in. Cork were out of Páirc Uí Chaoimh when the stadium was being rebuilt, Roscommon were out of Hyde Park for a while when they had their new pitch laid and I recall we once played away to Fermanagh in the League in Clones, when their Brewster Park home ground was being redeveloped.

In addition, our godawful home record – which, to be fair, was greatly improved on in 2021 – also means that there’ll be little pining for not being able to play our League games next spring at a venue where we’ve so often struggled in recent years. You’d never know, seven matches away from Castlebar might even help to boost our points tally.

Seriously, though, the redevelopment work that’s currently being done at MacHale Park was long overdue. It’s great to think that, come next summer, Mayo teams will get to play home matches on a proper playing surface. In the meantime, we’ll have a bit of a home away from home experience to look forward to in the spring.

112 thoughts on “No NFL home comforts for us next year

  1. So it’s looking like Pearse Stadium, Marky Park and Dr Hyde Park for Mayos “home” games next year.

  2. For most Mayo supporters Tuam stadium would be the most convenient – but I think it’s a heavy enough pitch and might not be very playable in early spring.

  3. We would be better off playing in Killarney than in Pearse Stadium. We would be home just as fast. I’d personally like us to go with the home games in Ballina. The atmosphere would be electric. For too long McHale Park has been a bore fest unfortunately during league and club games. If CB provided free live streaming of all home fixtures it would take a bit if the pressure off too. The upcoming County Final will be a perfect dry run for it too.

  4. Capacity, Ed – though I’d agree the upcoming county final is the perfect dry run in that respect. That one will certainly test the capacity limits!

  5. I would persume the capacity of ballina would be 7/10k(open to correct)
    Make the games all ticket and give sum badly needed business to this economly deprived part of our county?It was only a few short weeks ago people bemoning the loss of teams in north mayo(lacken) now is the chance for mayo gaa to truly show there support to north mayo.And stand up with pride and explain to the supporters who may miss out attending game due to capacity,that not alone is it the right decision but also sends out a strong message that north mayo does exist and it is the right thing to do for all concerned.

  6. Sorry for naive question but what was the issue that led to work needing to be done right now?

  7. Newbridge capacity is 8k
    Yet kildare stuck to their guns and played a championship game there?
    Mayo gaa are making a decision to take games out of the county for a few tousands more in attandance and basically for the money?
    What kind of message is this sending out?
    Who are when will we shout stop

  8. The work wasn’t done ‘right now’, Kevin, it’s been in progress for several months now. The pitch had to be replaced and, because of that, the resultant disruption couldn’t be avoided.

    North Mayo – this Irish Independent report from 2009 (here) quotes a capacity of 6,500 at James Stephens Park and I doubt if that number is any higher now.

  9. At 6500 capacity in ballina( if that is the case)
    Is it not beter to keep the game in the county for the reasons mentioned above than to move the games out of the county?
    Also if this does happen will that be a wake up call that ballina ground needs to be developed to increase capacity?

  10. It’s definitely a debate worth having, North Mayo. You’d wonder how many more would attend if, for example, a home game was staged in Sligo instead.

  11. I personally think by the proposed moving of the games out of the county,it is a poor reflection on mayo gaa,there is a serious issue with rural depopulation in north mayo(reflected in the gaa clubs) and now they have a chance to play high profile gaa games in the north mayo capital all be it with reduced capacity,yet they’re thinking of moving them to sligo/roscommon/galway
    What message is this sending out to the people of north mayo the clubs of north mayo and the business of north mayo?
    All of who support the same depopulated clubs finanically,they may start to ask themselves why bother!!

  12. I agree, with North Mayo, keep the home league games in Ballina The Capital of North Mayo, make them all ticket affairs,..(I’m not actually from North Mayo myself).. and keep the money in the local economy..Mayo fans money has been contributing to the economics of several other counties for over a decade now.. Especially Dublin’s, where Dublin have been granted sacred cow status and apparently can’t ever be moved from their own, defacto home venue, Croke Park, where they don’t even pay for the cutting of the grass for any worthwhile fixture…No problems with going to any other Connacht Venue for any Connacht Championship game, where the greater capicity of those venue’s would be nessary and the Connacht Counties operate on a home and away basis for decades and it works fairly well…So Castlebar could and presumably would benefit from more home Championship fixtures the following year.. Some might say that this is hindsight, but I wrote a post on the blog months ago, saying the same thing..It’s a great shame that this work on Castlebar wasn’t started last Spring and then we would be able to have game’s played next Spring… The year that was in it, no fan’s, or very very few were allowed into venue’s until August, so their wasn’t the need for the capisity of McHale Park in the first place.. When you think of it, the money that was spent on McHale Park redevelopment just over a decade ago, the money that Mayo club’s must pay for the debt on McHale Park presumably on the assumption that McHale Park would be available, and now it will be out of commission for possibly a year, just a decade after redevelopment, it would have you scratching your head to say the least..I wonder was it all worthwhile at all, if you consider this fact, the last Connacht Final played in Castlebar before redevelopment, had an official attendance of over 36,000 one was crushed or anything close to it,.. Make’s you think!

  13. Unlikely to be Sligo as capacity is probably around 10,000 but would suit me as living in the county.

    I would go with Ballina, and definitely not Salthill, Tuam is not much better from a parking perspective. Unlikely to be able to stream as rights are probably centrally controlled, although this is also a good idea.

    Maybe number of fans will be down based on post AIF reaction.

  14. Embarrassing taking it out of the county. So what if capacity in Ballina is 5-6000. Pack the place out. Everyone else can watch on TV. Most of our league games are televised anyway.

    With the musical chairs the county board are playing with positions from within though who is surprised?

  15. Obviously it would be better to keep the games in Mayo but with a capacity of 6000, Ballina isn’t suitable. Remember season ticket holders are guaranteed a ticket for league games, that leaves less than 3000 for remaining mayo supporters and away supporters (of whom their season ticket holders are entitled to a ticket). Therefore a ground with a minimum 10000+ will be required. Are season ticket holders willing to give up their tickets for home games to enable the games be played in Mayo? Highly unlikely.

  16. I think people are missing the point slightly
    Yes we kno the reduced capacity will affect fans and gate revenue,but this also is s chance for mayo gaa to stand by a part of mayo this is seriously neglected on so many fronts and help in a practical way by driving footfall and money ad outside exposure to north mayo and maybe in a small way give the clubs here sum hope for the future.This is just for 3 games this year

  17. Maybe on second taughts the games should be switched to westport,that fits alot beter with the narative that exist both inside and outside the county,isnt there only two important towns in mayo!!!

  18. @North Mayo, I wish we could be sure there was at least two important town’s in Mayo, sometimes I wonder, when I hear the official Mayo or National GAA, they have been so willing for us to travel the highways and byways for game’s that could
    and should have been played at home, or at least near home..In another code, despite their Club name’s.. Bolton Wanderers, or Sligo Rovers prefer to play at home.. Like Crocodile Dundee, we seem to have been on Walkabout allot of the time.

  19. Play the games in Ballina.
    It’s a no brainer on several levels. Look after the season ticket holders. Then Sell out the matches and create a buzz around the town. No other county apart from Dublin would have more than 1000 fans attending including their season ticket holders. So other than the dubs, I don’t see why the games can’t be played in Ballina. Inspire a generation of north Mayo kids. So what if we lose a few quid on gate receipts. Worth it in the long run.

  20. Leantimes,
    The development which took place in MacHale Park something over a decade ago did not involve any work on the pitch. So your point on this is irrelevant. It is also time to stop whinging about that work and the cost of it. It was approved by the Co Board which involves club delegates. Were the club delegates wrong? If they were how many of them were replaced? I’m living outside the county for over 50 years so am out of touch when it comes to these details. If a majority of club delegates were opposed to that work I doubt if it would have gone ahead.
    If there is a belief that James Stephen’s Park needs to be upgraded in any way the initiative, and most of the money, has to come from the Stephenite’s club. I am involved with club whose ground is a secondary county ground and know from past but fairly recent experience in upgrading it that this is how it works.

  21. Gee’s it would be typical to play in our rival counties . “Lovely drive, get parking, smooth trip” said no mayo fan ever after driving to salthill or Sligo to watch Mayo.
    I remember watching Mayo in a league match in Ballina early around 2004ish, great day out after traveling from other end of county. It was my First day out in that town up until then and I’ve been back many times since.
    Lets be realistic 6000 in Ballina supporting mayo gaa and local economy is better than 10k in rival county. Should be a opportunity.

  22. Ballina would get a cert capacity of about 1800 -2000 under current health and safety guidelines.It was 6500 in 2009,Machale Park was 41k in 2009,it’s now down to 25k ( if there’s no minor game) I see Newbridge gets a mention,it was about 25k in 2009 and about 8k now.Almost every stadium in the country has had its capacity slashed in the last decade,not because of the stands getting any smaller but because of health and safety reports on them,how quickly people can get to exits in an emergency etc.Playing league games where we regularly get 10k (sometimes 14 -15k) at a club ground in Mayo simply isn’t feasible, them is the cold hard facts and anything else about a buzz in the town etc (while a nice sentiment)is only noise.
    I mentioned on here about 2 months ago that I had heard we’d be playing in either Tuam or Sligo, @williejoe had to delete the comment as there was no official confirmation of this which was fair enough.
    My preference would be Sligo,it’s a nice ground with a cosy stand and good terraces, we could make a lot of noise there. Having attended a game in Tuam during the summer I can say the new seats are nice but there’s only a few hundred of them and they’re not covered, the rest of the place is falling down and would be grim at that time of year.

  23. @williejoe,my comments keep getting stuck in moderation. I don’t know if it’s relevant but I have a new phone am posting from Oz now.Not sure if any of that is relevant but just a quick heads up! Thanks

  24. You’re not the only one, FW – a few others got snared in the same way overnight but they’re all up now. WordPress can be a bit funny at times, I’m not sure what the issue is.

  25. No problem dealing in cold hard facts
    But let the county board come out and tell us the current capacity of the ground?
    If its 2/3k how can it host da county final?
    And wud it not be of the interest of the county board to keep the game at home?
    I accept a capacity of less than 6k would not be adequate.

  26. @North Mayo,I don’t know,I’m not at home in Mayo at the moment.Is the County final all ticket? How many tickets are there?
    If 6.5k can be squeezed into Ballina I think it would be great and a big novelty. However even if it was 6.5k (which its not now I’m afraid) the County board would be taking a hit of nearly 50% on revenue and that simply isn’t going to happen.

  27. Maybe The Dubs in Ballina, upto 3000 season ticket holders in attendance and the remainder on general sale to be scooped up by the rest of us. 100 or so Jackeens present. Situated near the gate……..

  28. Leantimes are you a Westport man by any chance?. Just asking as a matter of interest.

    As for where the game is played – I’m sure capacity has to be a factor and if the expected attendance is 10000 in Sligo or 6000 in Ballina, then Sligo is where the game would be played.
    I’d agree with looking to give the local towns as much of a lift as possible but that may not be the option given to the county board either by any central fixtures committee or even the financial scenario. Lets face it – Mayo GAA aren’t flush with cash and I expect the financial return of where it is held will be a key aspect of the decision making process.
    Whatever faults people will find with how the county board runs its business – and there are certainly some faults and people will no doubt intimate that there are more – you could not blame them for making that a central consideration.
    If it’s played in Ballina and people can’t get a ticket to go then no doubt there would be complaints then. If it’s played in Sligo, Tuam, Pearse Park or anywhere outside of the county, there will be complaints anyway. If the end result is people complaining no matter where it’s played, then the obvious decision for the County board is to maximise the gate receipt and play wherever gives them the most money. They can’t win so they may as well go for the cash.

  29. lets take 6500 as the capacity of Ballina (in reality its probably less but not more), I think Mayo has around 3700 season ticket holders in total so that leaves 2800 tickets. The Dublin game will be moved to Croke Park no question so dont need to worry about that one. lets say the opposition brings 1000, (Kerry, Tyrone & Donegal could bring more and due to season tickets will be entitled to more) now we are down to 1800. A portion of those will be allocated within county board, clubs, associations, media etc etc the usual, so best case 1500 tickets will go on general sale, in reality it will be less. If everyone is happy with this then by all means play the games in Ballina. But come match day im sure the mood will change when thousands of supporters who travel far and wide to follow Mayo every year cant get a ticket. Id love for the games to be played in Mayo but there simply isnt a ground suitable within the county so they have to be moved.

  30. With the level on animosity and general bad humour on here since the final id say some posters have already typed up their negative responses, one for whichever option the CB go for!

  31. It’s embarrassing but not surprising that this is the turn of events, we could have predicted it months ago.

    The issue isn’t the resurfacing of McHale Park, which is long overdue, it goes right back to the decision to fritter away thousands upon thousands on a ridiculously oversized, soulless white elephant of a ground that is rarely, if ever, used to capacity, to the detriment of the development of clubs and grounds elsewhere in the county. Has there ever been a county with so little affection for its home ground?

    And if such decisions around finance hadn’t been made at the time and since, perhaps we as a county wouldn’t be so strapped for cash that we’d have to be packing our bags and playing home games in another county. But nothing is going to change.

    As an unrelated aside, it was a joy to be in a packed Ballina last Sunday, it was absolutely buzzing, and there is an argument there for taking big club games out of McHale Park and sharing the spoils around the county, but obviously that will never happen.

  32. Play in Ballina and make deal with. Mayo GAA TV in order to minimise losses.
    Having experienced the atmosphere in Ballina on Sunday(cant imagine how Breaffy would have coped), i think it would be a good idea to play club championship sf matches in neutral venues.
    Our record in McHale Park is our problem. If we keep harping on it, nothing surer than it will get into the mindset of some players at least. Such is our fickleness. Playing at home might even become a curse.
    McHale Pk is an outstanding facility well positioned in the county. Get our shit together…

  33. Not lighting
    No floodlights in hyde or sligo either
    Either way they wud be sunday afternoon games.
    Do you think if westport ground was at 6/7k capacity the games would be moved?
    The problem is mot lighting im afraid it runs deeper than that!

  34. Looks like Ballina is out of the question County Board would play it here if they could so we just have to get on with it.We have neglected to have a 2nd Inter County ground like Galway and Kerry have putting all our money into Mchale park over the years.
    Sligo is perfect for the Northern games with Donegal Tyrone, Armagh and Monaghan.
    Tuam stadium is perfect for Kerry and Dublin and Kildare. Both Kerry and Dublin have played Galway in Tuam stadium in recent Division 1 games.
    Pearse stadium should be not even be considered by the County Board , a hell hole to get out off and more mileage for Mayo supporters plus Galway hurlers and footballers will be using it nearly every weekend. Galway footballers tend to only play one home game in Tuam Stadium so it will be free for Mayo most weekends. Also the Salthill Sea breeze will be a pain in the early months

  35. Sligo, Tuam or The Hyde would have to be Sunday afternoon games with no floodlights in those venues. Mayo will definitely be in demand for a few big Saturday night TV games. I can see the Dubs game in Croke Park even if we are the home team.

  36. As someone pointed out already – when the safety people examine Ballina – they are likely to reduce the capacity to 3-4 thousand maximum. As far as I can remember Ballina is all standing with no seats. Entrance to the standing area the far side of the field is on one side only. Look at Newbridge the way the capacity was cut there.
    The person that owns the big hill field at the back of the goal could have a ‘field’ day if a big league game was held in Ballina. He could easily accommodate 500 people at €10 each – a nice days work. Looks like there would be a great view from that field as well!!

  37. Anne Marie, think you comments regarding Mchale Park are way over the top and more than a bit insulting. Soulless white elephant, seriously??? I’m proud of our home ground, proud of its facilities and absolutely love going to games there. From fabulous atmospheres like v donegal to bizzare nights like the foggy dublin to underage games with a handful of spectators, to County quarter double headers, I just can’t get enough of it. I saw it as a privilege to play there in my youth, it was for me, and many mediocre footballers like me, our local croke park. Decades later I still love the place, I still get goosebumps driving to games there. I have nothing but affection for our home ground. And no I’m not from castlebar.
    As for capacity, due to health and safety no ground outside of croke park will ever be allowed realise its actual capacity again.
    As for clubs and grounds elsewhere in the county, maybe visit some and you’ll see the massive improvements made. Not just top senior grounds like knockmore, belmullet, westport or garrymore. See the facilities in places like kilcomman, bonniconlon, kilmeena, davitts, ballyhaunis, tourmakeady etc.
    The development of all club grounds within the county as well as our county ground is a credit to all the people of Mayo both at home and abroad who made and continue to make it happen.

  38. I think Ballina should get more club championship games and underage Mayo games. This may happen in future if they want to spare the new pitch in Castlebar. The atmosphere is far better than MacHale park when there’s only a couple thousand in attendance.

    However, I don’t think it’s suitable for senior intercounty games. I’d be amazed if 6k attendance is allowed, closer to 4k I would think. It’s not worth spending money to increase the capacity either. Castlebar is centrally located for everyone and has better facilities.

  39. Can we get some factual information on the
    1.capacity of ballina
    2.thinking behind proposal to move games ad saftey,central council,money?
    Because its in vacums like this that mis information ect.grows legs

  40. @Ahnow,totally agree.
    I wasn’t a fan of the new MacHale Park originally, theres no need in this day and age for a non cantilever stand.Going to a league game before the redevlopment meant freezing in the rain on a concrete bench with 5 or 600 souls.In recent years its a big event,usually live on telly and national newspaper coverage with 10k – 15k there on the day/night. We have had great days there and the atmosphere can be amazing.Im thinking small attendances in big games like Fermanagh in 16 and Derry in 17 when it was literally the crowd that carried the team.More recently the sell out v Donegal in 19 ,unbelievably passion and noise.
    The dimensions of the pitch are an issue but hopefully we’ve made a small advancement in that front with the new works.
    I for one am a Mayo fan very proud of our home pitch and atmosphere.

  41. FW – the new pitch was to be extended by a few yards by removing concrete benches at the Albany End. From the photos of the new pitch though this does not appeared to have happened..?

    The concrete benches should be removed and replaced with standing barriers. The ground aside from the stand looks like a soviet era stadium. Grey and miserable. Even if the Albany End was painted again it would be a start…

  42. @yew_tree its a thing I’d take a lot of interest in and you’re right,no benches from the Albany end are being taken out,at the same time 5metres are being added to the length of the pitch.At this stage we’ve got to trust the process.
    As regards the soviet look….that’s nearly every GAA gaa ground in the country, a lot of them don’t have a 10k capacity comfortable stand either……like us prior to the new MacHale Park.

  43. FW – if you could run back time the “new” MacHale park should have been built behind the existing stadium away from MaHale Rd. You could have build a lower stand on both sides without poles. This is all hindsight though and the biggest disgrace was the fact our clubs continue to pay levies towards debt repayments. It’s an absolute noose around the neck of every club in the county.

  44. Does anybody know for sure has the pitch been lengthened by 5 metres. I hope it has been. I do not like the idea of moving our home national league games out of Mayo. Would it not be better to play all of our league games away in 2022 and then have them all at home in 2023. It would stop this nonsense of going to Sligo, Galway or Roscommon for HOME league games.

  45. I’m almost certain it has been, Jimbo. Lengthened but not widened.

    New podcast episode, reviewing the weekend’s semi-final action, is now online.

  46. How are you all able to count the number of season ticket holders? Surely, as of now there are no season ticket holders. I know mine has expired and I have not been approached regarding renewal

  47. @Andy D..If your point about the responsibility of the Club delagates in santioning the major redevelopment of McHale Park is relevant today, then my point about the cost to the Mayo Club’s and Mayo Gaels of repaying the debt for a stadium that will now be out of commission for possibly a year is equally relevant today…@FBD..No I’m not actually from Covieland at all..@Ann Marie, your point well made about McHale Park, and you reference a ‘White Elephant’.. Just as a bit of nostalgia, the first two or three years of the new redevloped McHale Park, as you look out to the redevloped, redesigned and rebuild Media Tower, just to the right of which was stationed a big advertising ‘White Elephant’ at least 5 meters in height.. Not joking either!

  48. @wj. Additional width would be far more beneficial, but it is what it is.
    I think some effort should be made to have underage games as curtain raisers to our home league games. Would get supporters in earlier and give young lads an opportunity to perform on bigger stage.
    I know it will not happen either

  49. Ballina or nowhere for me too! I remember going to league games there and Charlestown and possibly Crossmolina. I am nearly dizzy reading all who are going for the top jobs in CB. That’s some manovering! Glad to see some discussions on the debt by other posters – that is the new Chairman’s biggest headache.

  50. In the interest of accuracy, Leantimes, I feel compelled to point out that that particular heffalump wasn’t white. I may be colour-blind but I’m almost sure he was a delicate shade of grey.

  51. I just read JP Kean’s analysis piece on the top table/upcoming Convention on facebook. Could it be shared here WJ for all to read?

  52. No, Goagain, you may not. It’s on Facebook if people want to read it.

    As you well know, my preference is to keep the debate here focused on on-field issues as otherwise the moaning and whining about all the other stuff drowns everything else out. Ululations of that sort belong on social media and it’s there I want to see them stay.

  53. @Jimbo. Couldn’t see that happening, where we play all our league games away one year and all at home the following year.

    To begin with, its us who have decided to seed the pitch so its our problem.

    Secondly. Having all our games at home (say next year), would be seen as us having an unfair advantage over the other teams in the group.

  54. Elverys marketing Dept wouldn’t be too happy that after all these years, people don’t know there’s an elephant on their logo.

  55. Anne-Marie if we had not developed McHale Park we would have even more of a reduced capacity.

    I am proud of McHale Park which I think is the best venue in Connaught . A stand which holds 10000 and seating on all sides. Easy to access.

  56. Its great to see all the people here so passionate about keeping our home league games in the county. Surely something can be done. The local media will have to get behind the push for the home games. Perhaps it could be discussed on the next podcast.

  57. What’s to discuss, Mayolass? It’s play the home games in Ballina with a vastly restricted attendance or play them elsewhere. As someone has already pointed out here, there’ll be people complaining no matter what option is chosen. As I said in the piece, we’re not the only county to find ourselves temporarily in this position due to redevelopment work. But, of course, for the usual naysayers it’s yet another opportunity for hurler on the ditch venting.

  58. Having the games in Ballina would mean we couldn’t sell the full allocation of season tickets. I wonder how people would react after being told sorry, no season ticket for you this year. No doubt there would be a hundred comments on here giving out about it.

  59. If Ballina does not meet capacity requirements then that’s that I suppose. It’s disappointing we can’t stage games within the county but it’s only for one year.

    I guessing we could be given home games against Dublin, Kerry and Armagh…which will be played in our other “home” venue Croke Park 😉

  60. Any hope of season tickets being released before Xmas…….
    and league fixtures
    2 staples of our xmas present lists are the season tickets and a hotel break for an away game.
    My wife is a lucky woman to be looked after so well with those presents 😀

  61. Hi WJ
    My comments keep going into moderation. Not sure if it is something to do with me switching emails around the time of the final fin case anyone wanted to email me at my regular email address?

  62. I can see that, km79, and there’s a fair bit of that about at the minute. I’m afraid there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason – not to me at any rate – as to why it’s happening.

    PS: Km79 – the same happened with your gmail. All a bit head-scratching!

  63. Im definitely with you on that Fiona. Thinking outside the box, but it may be all too much for the powers that be.
    Because other counties were in similar situations and played home away doesnt mean we follow suit

  64. If i owned a business in north mayo that supports da gaa county draws ect..i wud be disscustrd at ehat there proposing.This wud be one of the few times they may get a little back and what do the county board do,take it away!!
    Does anybody kno when the county board will give is the facts?
    Its no longer to hell or to connaught it sound like its to hell or to north mayo!!!

  65. As well as attendance issues, the pitch in Ballina is too heavy for good football to be played. Castlebar was bad, but Ballina is a swamp and would not serve us well.

    The health and safety restrictions will only allow a nominal crowd and so the financial boost is nominal.

    All in all we have a fight to stay up already.

    Any word on season tickets?

  66. 4k supporters for 3 or 4 league games isn’t going to transform Ballina economically. Anyway Ballina already got a club semi final last weekend, they’ll get the county final and probably 1 or 2 Connacht club games for the Mayo teams. None of that would be happening if MacHale park was open.

  67. Wide ball you are correct it wont transform ecomomically but it will help and not only that it will drive footfall and give exposure to north mayo.This is has long since been forgotten by goverments and now by the gaa.That is the point i find hardest to accept but i do agree if its a capacity of less than 5k its a non runner,but who or when will tell us the facts.As for another comment on the pitch wasnt it supposed to have the best surface in mayo?

  68. @Wideball.. Good luck to which ever of Belmullet or Knockmore comes out of Mayo.. However it’s not about throwing Crumbs to Ballina, Crumb’s of a provincial Club game you can’t guarantee for sure the Mayo Champions will be drawn at home… and would Knockmore or Belmullet not want to play a provincial Club game in their own home, of either Knockmore or Belmullet?…..It takes allot of effort for well over a century to create the Mayo County team, and the Mayo County Home Ground, the families, the volunteers and the player’s of the current 48 Club’s, and some now ex Club’s, the generations of fan’s, both home grown and overseas, the sponcership, the local business who have supported the local Clubs,who in turn support and provide the player’s for the County team …I think we should honour our own County, and do what we can for the good..I also think that it’s a shame that so many find so many reasons so often to play Mayo fixtures, elsewhere!

  69. Leantimes, I remember it well, and before the word trolling was ever invented, that was a prime example!

    North Mayo, town was buzzing last Sunday – it really was a great day, and Wide Ball is right, the town has done pretty well out of the resurfacing. It has been such a treat to have a few games on the doorstep too. A league game is probably out of the question, as lovely as it might sound.

    However, it will be interesting to see whether Mayo GAA get the huge attendances at league games they have grown to expect in the past. I suspect that more than a few will take a bit of a step back, though I could be off the mark there. And given the silence from Croke Park, we may not have season tickets to worry about next year either!

    As for being forgotten in these parts, while undoubtedly North Mayo has been starved of attention in the past, there are lots of positive things happening here now, and we have plenty of control over our own destiny. Westport, for example prospered in harder times than these by working hard and working together until they reached a point where they could not be ignored. There is nothing stopping those of us living in North Mayo from adopting the same mindset and appetite for bettering our place, instead of the persistent inferiority complex we have been blessed with for years. Thankfully that is very much becoming the case of late.

  70. Anybody know why the pitch will not be ready ?, surely this should have been know prior to commencing work last Summer where a programme of the works would be included by the Contractor.
    Whatbtype of a surface is to be laid, grass seed or rolls of turf ?
    No shortage of topsoil with the construction of the new Castlebar Bypass.

  71. Leantimes – the draw for the connacht club championship is already made. Knockmore/Belmullet are playing tourlestrane at a Mayo venue, which will be Ballina. They are also due to play the Galway champions at a Mayo venue if they get that far. I’d hardly call them crumbs of fixtures as it would be close to a sell out on both days.

    Anyway, terrible news about Oisín from a selfish point of view.

  72. Ann marie i agree with a lot you are saying but there is no inferiority complex but sadly a true reflection and a factual view on economical and infastructral developments in north mayo v other parts of county( remain nameless)and while good will ect are all well and go sadly without state or goverment backing they will yield little.Hence my view on the county board(gaa)missing this opertunity and will go down as another straw that broke the camels back

  73. @Anne Marie – just wanted to say I really agree with your point about getting rid of the persistent inferiority complex. Never has a truer word been written on this forum. I’m a proud north Mayo person too and the region has so much untapped potential. The defeatist attitudes of some people living in the area drives me crazy at times.
    Now that remote working is becoming more mainstream, all I see are opportunities in North Mayo. Cheaper houses, cheaper land, great people, great scenery, great lifestyle. We just need politicians to back us in and improve road infrastructure into the region. As an erris person, the lift all of us all over the world would get from seeing the Moclair cup spend the winter in the barony cannot be described or understood by people in other parts of the county.

  74. We’re approx 2 and a half months away from league games, surely thats enough time to plan and procure temp seating for Ballina. Lets say we get 2000 seats at approx e100 each, thats 20k, add a set up charge, say e30k .this ups capacity to 8-10k attendance. 3 homes in Ballina easy pays for its self.
    Pros boost for north mayo. Improved ground. Mayo play games at home.
    Cons upfront cost. Slight dip in revenue by not playing in another county venue, but Id assume there would be a fee to other county for use of that venue.
    Correct me if Im wrong but how often has there been more than 8,000 in McHale park for a league game.

  75. @reek climber Seriously? I will have to correct you as you are indeed wrong.How many times has there been more than 8k in machale Park for a league game? The vast majority of league games going back about 5 years.

  76. Reekclimber I think a more pertinent question is how many times has there been less than 8K in McHale for a League match in recent years. Mayo fans would number 8K and more on their own at a league game, with an additional 1 or 2K travelling fans depending on the county.

  77. We are 2/3 days into this anousment and we are still waiting to hear the facts ie.. what is the capacity of the ground,what avenues have been looked at so far.As i said from the outset ballina would need an existing capacity of 6k plus before anything cud be looked at to increase it,to make it remotley viable,yet we still dont kno!!
    On a wider note i agree with all that has been said about north mayo but dont accept that there is a lot of negativity about,i think theres not enough teality about whats been allowed to happen
    1.dual carrageways in parts of county costing 200m + v north mayo not geting a road ad a token replacement of bridge costing 2/3m
    2.other towns geting a SECOND ida unit costing 2/3m v north mayo geting planning permisson for a ida park ad a wall around it ad probally a nice plaque cost 300/400k
    All figures are approx and to highlight the gulf!
    You may ask what has this got to do wit mayo gaa

  78. North Mayo – while I accept where you’re coming from on this, the blog isn’t the place for debate on dual carriageways, IDA units and the like. As I keep saying, the main focus for debate here needs to remain on on-field issues, as that’s the primary focus of the blog.

  79. Point accepted and i hope nobody mentions dublins pouplation advantage,distance they have to travel to training and sponcership money ect..
    I have read all of the above written by people!!
    I hope you get my point!
    Yes i understand but its a point i had to make because in my humble opnion i think there all linked to on field issues.

  80. Our league record in McHale Park is very poor, possibly to do with the narrow pitch and the poor condition of the pitch in winter.
    Away games will be no excuse and hopefully the new pitch will be our fortress.

  81. Sure most people from Achill and Bellmullet work in construction in Dublin or either London for years, and commute to their homes / families at weekends.

    They do this to earn better money what’s the choice, stay in Mayo on the Dole and doing damn all or try and do it elsewhere.

    That’s what you and me did Willie joe.

  82. It’s strange the way the debate turns.

    Re neglected Mayo.
    For whatever reason, most people on this blog were in favour of the Connacht final been pulled out of Connacht and moved to Croke Park. Regardless of whatever reason was put forward I felt and still feel the Connacht final should have been played in Connacht.

    The reason used to back up this move by alot, was the high standard of football we play in Croke Park.

    Just to recap.
    Our second half against Galway was good. First half was shocking.

    Our extra time against Dublin was good and maybe 15 minutes of normal time.
    First 50 minutes very poor.

    Our all Ireland final display against Tyrone was possibly our poorest ever Croke Park performance.

    For those of you who keep hammering this fairytale home, that we play our best football in Croker, can yea please explain why we were again so poor this year and haven’t managed to win an AI final there in over seven decades for a team that loves playing there so much.

    For those of you who sing so loudly about moving Mayo out of the Province to play and agree with these fixtures, I don’t think yea have any gripe, or right to gripe now, regardless of where the venue’s for the league are set.

  83. Cheers Larry Duff. I was just thinking there the other day too that the club football is starting to reflect the changes we are seeing – an all North county final is very welcome and hopefully a good sign of things to come, though obviously there are still major issues with depopulation, that is also a hangover from the crash over a decade ago and we are only really starting to recover (or were, pre Covid). The negative mindset is changing and it is also up to all of us to talk to our politicians and help them to work for us and hopefully we can learn from the lessons of the past too. I see massive, massive opportunities for the Erris region and indeed our own town here if we can just reach out and avail of them. The biggest problem here in these parts at the minute is trying to access housing, there is serious demand and no supply but there is great talent returning to our areas and I feel the future is bright.

    North Mayo, if we want that level of investment it’s also up to us in our communities to do the groundwork to make it feasible and to ensure our politicians are working for us. Investment doesn’t just happen, it’s not bestowed or gifted without the conditions being right or without the right projects in place and that happens in a number of ways – private investors/corporations invest in an attractive, promising location, or communities work together to create projects that can then be funded and developed. It doesn’t come easy and it didn’t come easy to the parts of the county you are referring to – there was a hell of a lot of work done there before the money started appearing. Just like in GAA clubs – a lot of people have to put in the groundwork in a club before the conditions and mindset are right for young talented players to start emerging. That is why relatively small clubs can outperform larger, richer clubs. It’s not always about the money (but it sure does help). And good political representation certainly helps!. Mind you, if we had €200m in these parts I reckon we’d put it to better use …

    Sorry WJ for going slightly off topic!

  84. Ann marie i agree100% on everything ur saying
    But must highlight that both iteams i mentioned are long promised state agency projects or lack of one(ida) and all we get are peace meal offerings!

  85. @Revellino it was perhaps our worst Croke Park performance in a decade but certainly not our worst ever.Im only supporting Mayo since 87 and I expect you have been longer than that.Off the top of my head Donegal 92,Cork 93,Cork 99,kerry 04,kerry 06.

  86. From a selfish point of view if I was James Horan I would push the County Board to play all our Home games in Croke Park.Hardcore Mayo supporters will travel anyways and there’s plenty of Mayo people in Dublin to watch the games. The more playing time there the better.Sometimes in League games in February and March in Provincial venues you can get a false impression of a players ability, but games in Division 1 in Croke Park will tell you if a player is up to it or not.

  87. @TH…if you recall last May I think, the fan’s of the so called European Super Club’s, in England, Spain Germany etc eventually said enough was enough. I recall a Man Utd v Liverpool fixture was cancelled because fans protested on the pitch at Old Trafford.. And indeed the proposed European Super League idea was cancelled, the Billionaire owners of the Super Club’s for once didn’t get their way.. The idea that Mayo should play outside of Mayo’ for all their NFL fixtures…A few things come to mind, and regardless of what many hard core fan’s will do to follow Mayo, it very well might have a bearing on the attendance at venue’s outside of Mayo’..No1..There is allot of ill feelings since the All Ireland final regardless, we almost certainly will not be able to get the 14/15K attendance that we do often enjoyed in Castlebar in Sligo, Roscommon or Tuam..No2.. Because of Covid, the people are out of the habit of traveling to game’s, no guarantee that this will return as it was before either. This is also true for our opposition fan’s as well and must be factored in as to the likely effect on attendance…. For me it would be much better to have a fantastic athmosphere in a thronged Ballina than a less than the capisity of Ballina at a fixture in Sligo, Tuam or Roscommon.. Just think of the good will, for the future, from the people of all Mayo and North Mayo in particular.. The last time, Mayo played Galway in Limerick, absolutely no doubt in my mind, as a money spinning effort by the CCCC, the attendance was less than the capisity of McHale Park, Hyde Park and Pearce Stadium one of which should have been chosen as the venue for the All Connacht fixture..If you also recall the Women of Mayo’ and Galway played the Connacht Final outside of Connacht in the curtain raiser for that game… Now as recall, the Connacht Final played in Croke Park, with a mere 24K didn’t actually sell out in Croke Park….I often wondered when would the men making the decisions as regards Mayo GAA eventually kill the Golden Goose who laid all the Golden Egg’s.. The Golden Goose being the Mayo fan’s and the Golden Eggs being the money paid out.. They have already plucked this particular Golden Goose to within an inch of it’s life in my opinion.. I’m not sure of the same interest as last September from Corporate Ireland and can flog corporate hospitality in at €1K a go for the NFL fixtures!

  88. May I ask this question, was Ballina not the County Town in the recent past rather than Castlebar?
    Maybe there still is this thing in Mayo, its Westport or Castlebar or nowhere.

  89. If we would be guaranteed of the Headage payments being maintained along with a few more environmental type headage payments that may be in the making, my advice to anybody is stay in Mayo, away from the traffic jams, Rat race and crazy cost of living here in Dublin.

  90. Playing games outside Mayo is purely for money and nothing to do with the fans. The CB dont care about fans in my opinion, it’s all about the money, money, money. Ballina should be the only venue for league games. At least we would have an atmosphere. I have attended every single league match in McHale Park in the past 10 year plus, and there never was any atmosphere of note at any game. The club games are even worse. The blog is a fair barometer of the mood on the ground, but fans opinions means absolutely nowt sadly. Will there be an atmosphere in the Hyde? NO.

  91. Mayo88,yes ur correct its a two town county westport and castlebar.No matter what u may read or hear and i live ad work in da county!!

  92. Mayo88,the major towns in the county are divided as follows
    Castlebar for retail,admin,goverment,medical,good infrastructor
    Ballina for unemployment,poor infastructor,forgotten by all part of county
    Westport for exposure,good name,entertainment,outdoor tourism,loved by national medi ad goverment agencies
    Hope that helps

  93. North Mayo – the poor mouth routine of yours is now starting to grate. Enough is enough: this is a site focused on football so please keep your comments on that.

  94. Just to disagree with some posters, there has been an excellent athmosphere in McHale Park, for both league and championship games this last decade, but that is also true of games played in Castlebar before redevelopment, and also true for NFL games played in Ballina..Crossmolina and Charlestown… Don’t think that I have attended a home league game in any other venue in Mayo.. As I see it, just from a financial point of view for the County Board, they would need to be 100% certain of a much bigger attendance (X2) than Ballina could hold to play the games outside of the County…. And I see how they can be that confident of that happening at all…Add to that, they will probably lose good will from a certain amount of Mayo’ supporter’s if they do it.. Despite what many have posted here so often, it is a very well established fact that sport’s team’s are more likely to win at home, in comparison to away or neutral venue… Some might say that in recent years we have lost so many games in Castlebar, no doubt about it but the last decade Dublin has been the barometer to measure yourself against…In Castlebar we were beaten by Dublin, but in Croke Park we were absolutely hammered by Dublin in the league.. Another thing comes to mind where the County Board would be losing out bringing NFL games outside Mayo.. The revenue from pitch side advertising hording would all go to another County Board, and crucially for 2023 or the Championship of 2022, the Mayo County Board would have to find the business to pay for the advertising hording strating from scratch once again.. And if you have been actively taking business away from Mayo, it just might not be as easy to get the local business back on board for the future.. When you weight it all up, there is allot to evaluate!

  95. @Leantimes, to play a very good team early in the year as per the league, one is always better picking a smaller pitch, this is the case in all Gaa levels.

    Alot of teams / coaches make the mistake than some day they may have to play on a very quick surface on a large pitch.
    This is the very reason the Dubs have abandoned Parnell Park for years, forget the excuses of capacity etc.

    Mayo should play their home games in Ballina. Supporters should insist on this.
    Look at the farce that was created by Mayo Board fixing the semi final for Breaffy.

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