Mayo GAA

Mayo GAA
For more details of Mayo GAA see Mayo Senior Club Football Championship or Mayo Senior Club Hurling Championship.
Mayo GAA
Mayo crest.JPG
Irish: Maigh Eo
Province: Connacht
Nickname(s): The Yew County, The Heather County
County colours: Red and green
Ground(s): McHale Park, Castlebar
Dominant sport: Gaelic football
NFL: Division 1
NHL: Division 3B
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Christy Ring Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie: Do not compete at adult level
Standard kit

The Mayo County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Luthchleas Gael Coiste Maigh Eo) or Mayo GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for Gaelic games in County Mayo and the Mayo inter-county teams.



Though not affiliated through the 1890s, there is strong evidence of GAA activity in Mayo and the rivalry with Galway that brought success to both counties from the 1930s on was already in evidence. This History between Mayo and Galway has produced two of the finest footballing teams in the game. At present both counties have an equal amount of Connacht titles. Mayo have an unequalled number of consecutive National Football League titles having won it in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939.

Gaelic football

Mayo have had past players named on the GAA team of the Millennium. Distinguished players in Mayo's past include Willie Joe Padden, Liam McHale, Tom Langan, Sean Flanagan and Seamus O'Malley.

Early years - Mayo's first All-Ireland

One of the great turning points in GAA history west of the Shannon was the 1935 Connacht Final when 26,000 turned out to see National League Champions Mayo beat the All-Ireland champions Galway in Roscommon. In the 1936 Connacht Final Mayo were leading by a goal in the last minute when Brendan Nestor scored an equalising goal for Galway - he raised the flag himself and caused a riot. However, Mayo won the replay and went on to capture their first All-Ireland Title, beating Laois by 4-11 (23) to 0-5 (5) in the final. The following year, 1937, they were the victim of a Louis Blessing last-minute goal in the All Ireland Semi-Final against Cavan in another match that featured a pitch invasion. It ended Mayo's run of 57 matches without defeat. Mayo dominated the National Football League for six years, but pulled out of the 1939-40 league in a grievance over the 1939 semi-final, a bad-tempered draw and replay with Kerry. Mayo returned to the competition to win their seventh National Football League title in 1941. Unfortunately, due to World War II, the league was suspended for four seasons until 1946, and Mayo were unable to add to these successes.

1940s and 1950s - Mayo's greatest ever team

Following Mayo's 1939 Connacht Final victory, it took the team nine years to emerge from Connacht again, but they narrowly lost the 1948 All-Ireland Final to Cavan and 1949 semi-final to Meath. However, they returned to Croke Park in 1950 to win an extraordinary All-Ireland Title when Louth's Sean Boyle had his kick-out charged down and Mick Flanagan broke through for a freak winning goal, Mayo winning the game by 2-5 (11) to 1-6 (9). In 1951 Mayo retained the All-Ireland Title, winning their third title overall, with three late points from Padraig Carney (known as the flying doctor because he had returned from the United States to play the game) giving Mayo a 2-8 (14) to 0-9 (9) win over Meath. During this period, Mayo also won the National Football League in 1949 and 1954, their eight and ninth titles in this competition. Eight wides and a one point defeat in the replayed 1955 All-Ireland Semi-Final against Dublin brought this particular era to an end.

Mayo went 12 years without winning another Connacht Championship title, however the Mayo team of the late 1960s won the Connacht Championship in 1967 (destroying Galway's 4-in-a-row All-Ireland hopes in the process) and again in 1969. Mayo also added their tenth National League Title to their collection in 1970, beating Down in the final on a scoreline of 4-7 (19) to 0-10 (10). Despite this success, the 1970s was arguably the least successful decade in the history of Mayo football, as the team failed to win a Connacht Championship title throughout the decade, coming closest when losing the 1975 final to Sligo following a replay.

Modern era - Mayo's return to prominence

The 1980s saw a marked improvement in the team's fortunes, with the side winning four Connacht titles (1981, 1985, 1988 and 1989). The 1989 Connacht title winning team, managed by manager John O'Mahony, went on to defeat Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final before going close to winning a shock All-Ireland title in Mayo's first All-Ireland Final appearance in 38 years, eventually losing the game to Cork on a scoreline of 0-17 (17) to 1-11 (14).

Despite winning Connacht titles in 1992 and 1993, the early 1990s was a largely unsuccessful period for Mayo, as Connacht football in general suffered a severe drop in standards between 1990 and 1995. Numerous managers including Brian McDonald, Jack O'Shea and Anthony Egan failed to improve the team's fortunes and in late 1995, following another unsuccessful season which included the team's relegation to Division 3 of the National Football League, former player John Maughan, who had achieved some notable successes as manager of unfancied Clare including a shock 1992 Munster Championship title win, was brought in as manager in an effort to improve the team's standing. The improvements were swift with Mayo winning Division 3 of the National League in 1996 before going on to win their third Connacht title of the decade. Maughan's unfancied side produced their performance of the year in the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Kerry, winning by 2-13 (19) to 1-10 (13), an outstanding lobbed goal from 40 metres by James Horan in the last minute of the game sealing the victory.

In the All-Ireland Final against Meath Ray Dempsey's 45th minute goal gave Mayo a lead of six points, however a remarkable Meath comeback, culminating in a last minute Colm Coyle long range point saw the game end in a draw on a scoreline of 1-9 (12) to 0-12 (12). During a bad-tempered replay - which included an infamous brawl in which Liam McHale, one of Mayo's most influential players, was sent off - Mayo led by four points at half-time only to succumb to a Tommy Dowd goal, losing the game by one point on a scoreline of 2-9 (15) to 1-11 (14).

Mayo retained the Connacht title in 1997, beating Sligo in the final, and went on to reach their second successive All-Ireland Final following a 0-13 to 0-7 victory over the Leinster Champions, Offaly. However Mayo again lost out in the final, losing by 0-13 (13) to 1-7 (10) to Kerry. Mayo returned to Division 1 of the National Football League and another Connacht title (Mayo's fifth of the decade) followed in 1999, however Mayo failed to reach another All-Ireland Final and manager John Maughan resigned.

Under new manager, Pat Holmes, Mayo won their eleventh National Football League title in 2001, beating arch rivals Galway in the final on a scoreline of 0-13 to 0-12 courtesy of a late point from substitute Marty McNicholas, in the only ever national final played between the two western rivals. However, Mayo failed to win a Connacht title under Holmes and his departure at the end of the 2002 season paved the way for John Maughan's return for a second stint as manager of the team. His first season in charge was not particularly successful however, with Mayo eventually falling to Fermanagh in the last 12 of the championship following a Connacht Final defeat to Galway.

In 2004, Mayo regained the Connacht title with ease following facile wins over New York, Galway and Roscommon, with none of these teams able to finish their matches within five points of Mayo. Mayo followed this success with a surprise victory over reigning All-Ireland Champions Tyrone in the All-Ireland Quarter Final (the quarter final staqe having been added to the championship in 2001) on a scoreline of 0-16 (16) to 1-09 (12). However, Mayo's form rapidly deteriorated following this win, and the team struggled to see off surprise semi-finalists Fermanagh following a replay before losing the All-Ireland Final to Kerry by eight points on a scoreline of 1-20 (23) to 2-9 (15). Mayo failed to retain their Connacht title in 2005 and, following a three point All-Ireland Quarter Final defeat to Kerry the same year, Maughan again resigned as manager.

In 2006, Mickey Moran became Mayo's first manager from outside the county since Jack O'Shea managed the team in the early 1990s. Moran guided the team to another Connacht title and, following an unconvincing replay victory over Laois in the All-Ireland Quarter Final, Mayo produced arguably their greatest performance of the modern era to come from seven points behind with 20 minutes remaining to defeat favourites Dublin on a scoreline of 1-16 (19) to 2-12 (18) in the All-Ireland Semi-Final in front of an attendance of 82,300 at Croke Park. Kerry again awaited Mayo in the All Ireland Final and for the third time in 10 years they defeated Mayo, this time on a scoreline of 4-15 (27) to 3-5 (14). Despite the relative success of the 2006 season, rumours persisted of divisions between Moran and the Mayo County Board and Moran was not retained as manager for the 2007 season.

In 2007, John O'Mahony returned as Mayo manager following a 16 year absence during which he had won a Connacht title with Leitrim (1994) as well as two All-Ireland titles with Galway (1998 and 2001) and in his first season led the team to the National League Final, where they were defeated by Donegal. Mayo have retained their Division 1 status to date under O'Mahony, but failed to win a Connacht title or reach the last eight of the All-Ireland Football Championship during the first two years of his tenure. In 2008, the team reached the last 12 of the All Ireland Championship, but were narrowly beaten by Tyrone, who went on to become All Ireland Champions. An injury time point by Peader Gardiner saw Mayo win their first Connacht Title since O'Mahony's return, and their 42nd title overall, when they beat Galway in the 2009 Connacht Final on a scoreline of 2-12 (18) to 1-14 (17).

2010 was a disappointing year for Mayo, despite reaching the National League Final, they were beaten by Cork, and Defeat the Connacht Championship First Round by Sligo was followed up by a humiliating All-Ireland Qualifier Round 1 loss to Longford. John O'Mahony immediately stepped down as Mayo manager to be replaced by James Horan. After suffering a scare in London in the First Round of the 2011 Connacht Championship, Mayo would won that year’s Championship by beating Roscommon in a rain sodden Dt. Hyde Park on July 17th. Mayo were underdogs going into the All-Ireland Quarter Final against reigning Champions Cork, but went on to win by four points, the Championship ended at the Semi Final stage with a nine point defeat to Kerry. [1]

Mayo Football All-Stars

The annual GAA All Stars Awards Team awards the players considered to be the best in their selected positions in the country in any given year. The awards were instituted in 1971 and Mayo's John Carey was among the inaugural selection in that year. Despite winning only two awards in total during their unsuccessful 1970s period, Mayo have been one of the most successful teams nationally in terms of All-Star awards gained overall, with Mayo players winning 24 awards to date. Willie Joe Padden and Dermot Flanagan became the first Mayo players to win multiple awards, both winning their second in 1989. Kenneth Mortimer achieved the same feat in 1997 as did James Horan in 1999 and James Nallen in 2004. Mortimer became the first (and to date only) Mayo player to win back to back awards, winning in both 1996 and 1997. Kenneth and Conor Mortimer became the first Mayo siblings to win awards when Conor won an All-Star in 2006.

Following Mayo's Connacht Championship win in the 2011 National Football League, the finalised 2011 Mayo Gaelic Football Squad for the All-Ireland Football Championship was announced on April 20, 2011 and is listed below. Due to an injury to David Clarke, Robert Hennelly has been called up to the squad as goalkeeping cover, bring the total number of players to 31. Mayo opened their 2011 All-Ireland Championship campaign with a 0-19 (19) to 2-10 (16) win over London at Ruislip,London on May 29, 2011. They followed this up with a 1-12 (15) to 1-6 (9) win over Galway on June 26, 2011 at McHale Park, Castlebar.Mayo regained the Connacht Championship with a 0-13 (13) to 0-11 (11) victory over Roscommon at Dr.Hyde Park,Roscommon on July 17, 2011.Mayo's next game will be an All-Ireland Quarter Final match against Cork on July 31, 2011 at Croke Park, Dublin. The starting team and squad named for that game is listed below.

Mayo Football Squad

  • Manager: James Horan
  • Selectors: Tommy Lyons , Kieran Gallagher
No. Player Position Club
1 Robert Hennelly Goalkeeper Breaffy
2 Tom Cunniffe Right Corner Back Castlebar Mitchels
3 Ger Cafferkey Full Back Ballina Stephenites
4 Keith Higgins Left Corner Back Ballyhaunis
5 Richie Feeney Right Half Back Castlebar Mitchels
6 Donal Vaughan Centre Back Ballinrobe
7 Trevor Mortimer Left Half Back Shrule-Glencorrib
8 Aidan O'Shea Midfield Breaffy
9 Seamus O'Shea Midfield Breaffy
10 Kevin McLoughlin Right Half Forward Knockmore
11 Alan Dillon Centre Forward Ballintubber (Captain)
12 Andy Moran Left Half Forward Ballaghaderreen
13 Enda Varley Right Corner Forward Garrymore
14 Alan Freeman Full Forward Aghamore
15 Cillian O'Connor Left Corner Forward Ballintubber
No. Player Position Club
16 Kenneth O'Malley Substitute Ballinrobe
17 Alan Feeney Substitute Castlebar Mitchels
18 Dermot Geraghty Substitute Shrule-Glencorrib
19 Chris Barrett Substitute Belmullet
20 Lee Keegan Substitute Westport
21 James Kilcullen Substitute Ballaghaderreen
22 Ronan McGarrity Substitute Ballina Stephenites
23 Peadar Gardiner Substitute Crossmolina
24 Aidan Campbell Substitute Swinford
25 Jason Doherty Substitute Burrishoole
26 Mark Ronaldson Substitute Shrule-Glencorrib




Although not a traditional hurling county, hurling is the dominant sport in certain pockets of the county. There are 6 Senior hurling clubs in Mayo, who compete for the TJ Tyrell Senior Hurling Championship each year. These 6 clubs are Tooreen, Ballyhaunis, Castlebar Mitchel's, Westport, Ballina-James Stephens and Belmullet. Ballyhaunis are the reigning Senior Champions and have 6 senior titles, while Tooreen hold the most titles with 26.

These 6 clubs provide the players to the Mayo Senior hurling panel, who take part in the National Hurling League and in the All-Ireland Christy Ring (Tier 2) Cup. Mayo's best performances in the Christy Ring Cup came in 2008 and 2009, when the Mayo side fell at the semi-final stage to Carlow and Down respectively. The Mayo U-21 hurling team compete in the Connacht U-21B hurling championship each year along with Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim.

Hurling at underage level is also expanding in Mayo, with 10 clubs competing in underage leagues and championships in the county. As well as the 6 adult sides named above, 4 other underage clubs have formed in recent years. These clubs are Ballyvary, Moytura, Caiseal Gaels and Claremorris. These 10 clubs provide the players for the Mayo underage hurling development panels. Mayo have development panels at U14, U15, U16 and Minor age-groups, and compete in the All-Ireland 'B' competitions each year.

Mayo's most famous hurlers are Joe Henry (Tooreen), who won Railway Cup medals with Connacht in the 1980s, and current dual player Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis) who played for the Mayo football team in the All-Ireland football final in 2006.

Hurling in Mayo is administered by the Mayo GAA Hurling Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Mayo GAA County Board.



Ladies' Gaelic football


  • All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championships : 4
    • 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003
  • All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Finalists:
    • 2001, 2007
  • All-Ireland Junior Ladies' Football Championships: 1
    • 1987
  • All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies' Football Championships: 1
    • 1993
  • All-Ireland Under-18 Ladies' Football Championships: 1
    • 1987
  • All-Ireland Under-16 Ladies' Football Championships:2
    • 1976,2010
  • All-Ireland Under-14 Ladies' Football Championships:2
    • 1994 , 2010


Mayo contested the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship final of 1959, captained by Josie Ruane from Menulla. Na Brídeoga won the Coiste Chontae an Chláir Shield at Féile na nGael in 2009, Parke (1983) and Ardagh (1988) had previously won divisional honours.

The county hosted the 2007 Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup[3]

Under Camogie’s National Development Plan 2010-2015, “Our Game, Our Passion,”[4] Donegal, Kerry, Mayo and Monaghan are to get a total of 14 new clubs by 2015.[5]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ 2007 Máire Ní Chinnéide Cup report in and Western People
  4. ^ Irish Independent March 29 2010: Final goal for camogie
  5. ^ National Development Plan 2010-2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site

1. [1]


  • Clune, M. A. (1954) Mayo's Football Triumphs. Dublin: Pearse Press
  • Reilly, Terry & Neill, Ivan (1985) The Green Above the Red: a compilation of Mayo's All-Ireland triumphs at all levels. Ballina: Western People

External links

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