Saturday 10 December 2016

All Ireland final: Can Joe's 1951 jersey bring luck to end curse of men from west?

Ryan Nugent

Published 01/10/2016 | 10:15

Michael Dawson with his grandfathers football boots and jersey from the 1951 All Ireland final that Mayo last won. Pictured with (from left) Barry Staunton and Michael McNeill in Leckanvy Co. Mayo.
Michael Dawson with his grandfathers football boots and jersey from the 1951 All Ireland final that Mayo last won. Pictured with (from left) Barry Staunton and Michael McNeill in Leckanvy Co. Mayo.
Dublin fans Mary Fagan with her daughter Maria in Leckanvy Co. Mayo ahead of the All Ireland senior football final on Saturday evening with Mayo
Therese Dawson from Leckanvy Co. Mayo with her fathers 1951 All Ireland medal.

They may have the boots, the jersey and the medal, but the family of All-Ireland hero Joe Staunton insist they are looking forward rather than back to 1951.

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Staunton's pub in the seaside village of Lecanvey is one of the few locations in Mayo where the legacy of 1951 can be seen.

However, it wasn't the green and red that Staunton wore on the day they beat Meath to take Sam Maguire across the Shannon.

Instead, he donned an all-white kit and a pair of steely brown leather boots that look the worse for wear after 65 years.

Joe's daughter, Therese Dawson, who runs the pub her father owned, told the Herald that while the collection of memorabilia is precious to the family, it was never a big deal to Joe while they were growing up.

The collection also includes a match programme and a menu from the post-match banquet signed by all the players,

"Since 1989, Mayo have been in Croke Park so often that it's been a big issue and I suppose the more often they've been and the Sam hasn't come home, the more signif- icant the collection has become," said Therese.

"There's a lot of counties that don't reach the semis or the final. Mayo are there or thereabouts but just haven't clinched the deal. It's the curse."

Preserved

Joe died in 2011, but the collection of memories from Mayo's last All-Ireland victory has been lovingly preserved.

"You can put that down to my mum, she's a good housekeeper," said Therese.

"It's not something we look at every day, we take it for granted, it's just part of the history of the home."

Therese's son, Mikey (16), wore his granddad's jersey when the Herald visited this week, and said he might pull it on again at 5pm today - anything that might provide a bit of luck.

He might even slip his feet into the battered old boots.

"A new pair of laces and I think they'll be fine," he said.

Mikey's cousin, Barry Staunton (32), said the boots would have had to withstand more than just 70 minutes on a pitch.

"Back in the day when these guys were playing, they'd cycle to the matches, they'd play the games and then cycle back home again, so I'm sure those boots got a fair bit of mileage," he said.

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