Raising the banner

It has to be said that over the past two or three years the increase in colour and flags at Mayo GAA games is very evident. Standing on the Nally terrace last year watching the pre-match parade wind its way towards the Cusack Stand was something I will never forget. The sea of green and red flags that covered the famous stand was truly a sight to marvel at. It was almost like a throwback to the 1990s when bringing a flag to the game was the norm.

Huge credit must go to organisations like Club ’51 who encourage supporters to bring colour and noise to Mayo games. Without their enthusiasm and drive, matches would without doubt be less colourful.

After last year’s All-Ireland final loss a few supporters gathered in this famed county and came together to form ideas as to what could be done to bring colour at Mayo games to the next level. It was evident during both All-Ireland finals last year that there were considerably fewer flags on the terrace than what were in the stands.

This was due to the fact that the Croke Park stewards were taking the sticks off people’s flags as they were entering the terrace. I am not going to go into the politics of this and discuss the health and safety logic behind it, however it must be said that the display of flags on the terrace would be better if the sticks had been allowed in.

After a period of banging heads together and having discussions with several supporters both within and outside the county, we decided to come up with an idea that would create a focal point for supporters on the terraces. We decided to form the Mayo Independent Supporters Club. This is a non-profit, unofficial supporters club whose main aim is to better even further the displays of colour at Mayo games, both home and away.

The club aims to do this by bringing giant flags to Mayo games and passing them over people’s heads before the game starts. There were several calls on this website last year for a giant flag to be brought to games. However, this never materialised. The bringing of a giant flag may not be to everyone’s liking, however it cannot be underestimated what a visual display of colour can do to lift a team on the pitch. At this stage we would try anything to get our lads over the line!

At present the club has four large ‘surfer’ flags, 60ft x 30ft, 54ft x 15ft, 30ft x 18ft and 20ft x 10ft. These have been donated to the club and are there for the use of every Mayo supporter. In addition to this, we have in excess of 100 green and red flags as well as banners that could be given out to supporters on match days. Depending on the health and safety regulations within the ground, this may be a non-runner but we will cross that bridge when it comes into view.

As already mentioned, we are a non-profit group. We will never ask fellow supporters to put their hands in their pockets and donate towards the flags and banners. Going to a game is expensive enough without asking you to do that. All we ask of the Mayo supporters is to get involved and help us out to create the displays. Our largest flag weighs over 50 kgs so you can appreciate that it takes a little bit of effort to get it in and out of a stadium.

It is hoped that the organisation of the club will work as follows. A week or so before a Mayo game we will post our plans on Twitter and on our website. These plans will include picking a spot in the stadium to set up the display as well as times etc. If you are interested in getting involved or would simply like to help out with unfurling the flag then you can send on your interest via Twitter, email or the website before the game.

Here’s to even more noise and colour as another championship campaign following the Green and Red prepares to get going.

The Mayo Independent Supporters club are on Twitter @mayoisc2016, on the web at mayoisc2016.wordpress.com and are contactable on email at mayoisc2016@gmail.com.

42 thoughts on “Raising the banner

  1. More power there – great ideas. Must say, I was really impressed by the flags at the Rugby semi in Lyon – made for a vibe that was evident even on the telly.. A pity this is outlawed here, but good approach there.

  2. I had the biggest Mayo flag in the Nally stand bordering hill 16 at both All Ireland finals last year.

  3. Have mayo gaa any plans for Mayo Day. Surely a great opportunity to bring fans together and raise some funds.

  4. tommyk now that sort of common sense and joined up thinking is not something Mayo GAA would be noted for. Mayo have the largest diaspora of any county. Indeed our falling population proves we co tibie to send our sons and daughters around the world. The amount of untapped potential out there is staggering.

  5. Well in Castlebar this weekend, there will be plenty of flags and banners. The combined French and Irish will be running the English outa town all over again. Brexit Castlebar style? . What’s that gotta to with large banners supporting Mayo, not much you might say, but the people putting on the events are mostly volunteers and like Mayo 51, are interested in the community and would know a thing or two about organising an event with colour and noise. Surely there could be some ‘Synergy’. between the two groups!.. There could be some ‘strange looking, Pikemen, French Officer’s and maybe even General Humbert himself might turn up in McHale Park supporting the Mayo minors versus Galway on Sunday, that will surely put the fear of God into Galway.

  6. Best wishes with that great idea. Cannot wait for the games and the color to begin again.

  7. Are we serious here? Flags , colours ??? The county board told us we looked outnumbered in 2012 v Donegal because green and gold sticks out better than green and red. Really? And you believed that! We were outnumbered not on colour but by a county board that saw a clever distribution of their tickets.

    I put up a post , short, not intending to be insulting but it didn’t make it. My respect for the ard maistear is absolute but I did have a point. Flags and their size doesn’t motivate Kerry or Kilkenny players. History does. Fear of being the only Kerry man to win an All Star alongside Connie Murphy but not an All Ireland medal drove James O Donoghue. Read Tyrells mind set. Are we in that zone?

    Johnny Cullitey the great Kerry keeper cost them an All Ireland final. In Limerick Junction a group of Kerry supporters didn’t spare him on the train. Johnnys reaction? Prove them wrong, suck it in and keep his mouth shut. The Great P Sè, 8 All Ireland medals, manager U21 and 2 Senior AIFs had his collar felt when the magic stopped. Publicly called out in Croker, P knew the reel was up.

    We love our team not too little but too much. We do the same with the players. So keep wrapping them in flags and tweets and slowly we will
    Watch this group slip away into the sunset because we didn’t expose them to the cold feel of steel.

  8. Your shorter one didn’t go up, John, because it was needlessly insulting. This group want to provide more colour at matches – what’s wrong with that? Each to their own.

  9. Absolutely notning wrong with more colour and Mayo flags at Mayo matches I’m sure it does give the lads a lift we all know that what we lack is a killer forward that can kill off teams but I’m a firm believers supporters have to do their but to support the team and encourage them so well done unofficial Mayo supporters group

  10. John Cuffe I have to disagree. Flags and color and love for one’s team did not stop Munster winning two European Cups. Same goes for Liverpool FC back in the 70s and 80s. Dublin fans are very vocal and passionate on the terraces….bring huge color and noise.

    You seem to connect Mayo not winning an All Ireland with fans following them with blind love. Attending a few club games here in the county and you will see mayo players get plenty of it from club players and opposition fans. Do you want a pitch fork gang ready at the border the next time we loose an All Ireland to hurl abuse at players?

    Plenty of Mayo players got abuse down the years including our greatest of the modern era.

    PS – I heard you on Matt Cooper on Tuesday evening and fully intend to buy your book 🙂

  11. Very disappointed with your post John Cuffe. One of the best and most enjoyable contributors to this site but your final sentence is insulting to an exceptional group of players who have lifted the morale of the county for the past number of years.

  12. Wj, I assume you’re calling me John, my point was that bringing a large flag onto the terrace( hill 16) when we are playing certain teams is a recipe for disaster. I seen what happens first hand when the thugs on that particular terrace get a grip of a flag and it’s not nice. That was my point, it took cool heads to avoid a riot.

  13. No, Dave, it wasn’t your comment I was referring to – it was John Cuffe’s as he mentioned another comment that didn’t go up. I’m not enamoured of the use of the ‘s’ word to describe opposing fans and just felt the comment was unnecessarily inflammatory. That was all it was.

  14. Point taken, I won’t use it again. Even if it scarcely describes them. I would be full on for big flags on any other stand bar the hill on certain days.

  15. Can i just say to the Mayo Independent Supporters Club, this is a fantastic idea and well done to you guys for trying to get this off the ground. Long overdue.

    That 60 foot by 30 foot green and red flag passing over the heads of supporters is exactly what our players need to see when the parade is on at 3.20 pm in Croke Park or Pearse Stadium etc. Just seeing it laying there in your photograph above, made the hairs stand up for me. I was one of the ones on here who has been callng for this for years.

    I would leave the tricolour at home. I dont see what that has to do with Mayo and it looks like an Offaly flag or something when viewed from a distance. (just my opinion).

    John Cuffe. You are one of my favourite contributors on here but i have to disagree with you on this one. Again, just my opinion.

  16. It’ll make feck all difference to what happens on the field lads, but theres no harm in it so why not

  17. I’m uncertain on this in terms of overhead passing flags. Not a killjoy but I’d prefer not to have that over me when attending a match. GAA games are mixed in all stands. It would be really annoying as a GAA supporter if this was a regular feature in the stands. In soccer the fans are segregated.

  18. Ah John, that’s a bit harsh to say the least.
    Kerry have that attitude because they have a long tradition of winning regularly. Mayo supporters won’t change and I’d prefer we didn’t. (If we win the thing we’d probably turn into a bunch of fu*#king animals anyway, to paraphrase a legendary no.5.)
    You could even argue the point that it was those very supporters who you criticise who have kept this team going.
    I heard pundits writing them off after ’13, saying the chance had passed. But alas, we had a few chances since and we’ve been written off in some way every subsequent year. And who knows, we might have a chance this year, and you can bet we’ll be written off again.
    I, for one, will be the one of many flying the flag, and I’m certain this approach can only be a good thing.
    By the way, as Fr. Ted would say: “Good luck with the book”. I will certainly be buying it.

  19. I don’t know if I’d like a large flag over my head at a game to be honest.

  20. I would be heavily pro some new kind of flag for supporters minus the stick which is not allowed . Not sure if something in the pipeline.

  21. Dave,
    The Dubs did’nt take or rip my big flag at last years finals in the Nally bordering the hill, they knew better not to touch it, have no fear is my motto !

  22. I’m all for this Whether it effects what happens on the pitch is a matter for debate but it certainly cannot be a negative. We should always be proud to show our colours.

  23. Mayo88, a big mayo flag on certain terraces against certain teams would cause a lot of friction. Fear or no fear, the flag would be shredded.

  24. WJ, don’t put this up if you think I’m overstepping the line in quoting part of an unnamed person’s message to me. Delete the whole post if you have to. I’m too tired to word it any better.

    I think this is a great idea and I would have loved if this group was around last year when I was going through my crazy phase with the chant. (Not promising i won’t get over passionate again esp as now I know I’m capable of it!) Anyway as some of you know, last Aug/ September I reached out to older ex players, young ex players and a current Mayo championship panel member with my idea – to ask for support and get the go ahead from Rochford and players. I didn’t want to do anything that would distract the team (obviously it didn’t get big enough to do that!!). 3 ex older players got on board with public support (TJ Kilgallon being one), one young ex player that is regularly talked about here replied encouraging me and a respected member of this years 2017 championship panel replied saying that he personally thought ‘it was a great idea and that the crowd and atmosphere can have a great impact on the game’. That is enough for me to say players think the crowd support matters esp in big games. Don’t be deterred MISC. I’m sure Mayo people could cope with a big flag for a few mins for a good cause. I’m with you anyway and would be available for flag duty at any match I can escape to. Also I’m sure it would be test run and organised beforehand that so many supporters meet early and get into a section together. I’m sure the lads get enough abuse on nights out too about their lack of AI medals as well as on the field in club matches etc. There will also be the lovely person who does not need alcohol as an excuse to throw a dig. We don’t need to make their lives a misery over an amateur sport.

  25. J Cuffe if having an AI medal is the only prerequisite of deserving respect in the GAA then there are not too many of us who played the sport are deserving of respect. If making a mistake which costs your team a game entitles you to be verbally abused by all and sundry, then most of us should be on the receiving end of abuse. Its always easy to reference the great men and winners from Kerry and Kilkenny they are just 2 from 32 counties. Its very easy to hit out at our own players accusing them of lacking guts and bottle. God knows we hear it often enough from mockers outside Mayo. Personally I have nothing but respect for this team of ours. It takes real guts and resilience to come back year after year failure after failure. Thats real courage. And having a go at supporters for attempting to add a bit of colour and atmosphere is a bit harsh. They too come back year after year to support the county. Soon enough this great team of ours will be gone and we could end up in the dark days like the 1970s when we couldnt even win a bloody Connacht title. The very least our present bunch deserve is respect and support.

  26. Brilliant. Love this and more and more of it is to be welcomed . Different generations have different mindsets obviously. This team has always appreciated vocal colourful support as different players have alluded to many times. And who the bloody hell doesn’t enjoy a carnival type atmosphere v a feckin library type one at a game , a boring drool type person, thast s who. Well get outta my way will you for crikeys sake and let us enjoy and embrace with pride this effort .

    If we get through our games v Sligo and galway and that’s a big ask esp the gakway game , McHale park v Ros should be absolutely rocking with flags and atmosphere . in all reality it could be some of these bucks last Connacht championship ,I really feel we should show them how proud we are of their efforts over the last number of years, its been a fantastic journey .

  27. Mayo88…not sure your flag is as big as Big Bertha…20 years the biggest Mayo flag;) and she flew in the hill the 2nd day… I used a fishing rod as the stick..hit it up my jumper and extended it to approx 8 foot once I got onto the hill.

    I’m all on for colour and flags but if our underage failures continue for much longer we’ll be watching big games in Croker on tv with not a shred of green and red to be seen.

  28. As far as I’m concerned. The book stops with the manager. And the manger looked clueless and motionless when we were getting hammered in our back line he decided to switch our forward line . Then he decided to make more changes bringing new subs bearing in mind that some of the players he took off played minor last year and should not have been taken off . In the future I think think there should be a ruling made unless you been involved with underage teams you should not be eligible for this job.

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