Monday 5 December 2016

Curse loophole gives Mayo fans new hope ahead of All Ireland final replay

Published 25/09/2016 | 02:30

Andy Moran of Mayo in action against Jonny Cooper of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Andy Moran of Mayo in action against Jonny Cooper of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Divine intervention has often been sought in Mayo's quest to bring Sam Maguire back to the West.

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Yet thousands blame a curse set by an old priest from Foxford as the cause of their 65-year-long All Ireland drought. The legend is that while the boisterous Mayo team were passing through Foxford after All Ireland victory in 1951, the team failed to respect a funeral ceremony. The residing priest consequently put a curse on Mayo football to never win a subsequent All-Ireland final.

But once Cillian O'Connor's point tied up last week's final against Dublin sending the game to a replay, a new line in the curse emerged.

Many believe the curse only stands over finals played in September. This has brought a renewed sense of optimism to Mayo's supporters, because the replay will be played this Saturday, October 1, and falls outside the curse's original time frame.

Supporters have made pilgrimages to Ireland's holiest mountain, Croagh Patrick, hoping to end the curse. Taoiseach Enda Kenny even brought an All Ireland final ticket to Rome four years ago in a effort to bring his team some luck.

According to Fr Padraig Costello, the current parish priest in Foxford, the thought that the curse may now be void "started straight away after last Sunday". He didn't set the jinx, but as he picks up the phone and hears it is the Sunday Independent on the line, his immediate response is: "You want to know about the curse, is it?

"There is no record of it. People remember the '51 team coming back but there is no memory of the curse being set at all.

"You need a bit of luck to win an All Ireland and there is no doubt they have been short of luck, but they haven't been good enough either.

"It's not something I personally give a lot of thought to but people are fascinated by it."

Sunday Independent

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