Heroes of 1951 dismiss 'curse' as Mayo gear up to finally lift Sam
TWO players from Mayo's 1951 All-Ireland-winning side have dismissed the curse that is said to prevent the county from lifting the Sam Maguire cup.
Superstitious fans believe a priest cursed the team for over-celebrating in Foxford on the way home from Dublin 52 years ago.
The priest was angry at the behaviour of the fans while a funeral was taking place, and said the players should have got down from the back of the truck parading them through the town.
But Paddy Prendergast and Padraig Carney, the last men to take Sam Maguire to Mayo, are not convinced that a curse exists – and they insisted they were not aware of any funeral at the time.
"The story goes that the priest said that while any member of this team lives, Mayo will never again win an All-Ireland," Mr Prendergast told a TG4 programme to be aired tomorrow.
"There aren't many of the team left, and we haven't won an All-Ireland since, so I'm beginning to worry about it," he joked.
Mr Carney said: "If enough people believe it, I can see where it could influence certain teams, like 'Here we go again, the curse is on us'."
People in Foxford have cast doubt on whether there was even a funeral in the town that September weekend.
Fr Leo Morahan, the former Mayo county board chairman who can remember as far back as the 1936 final, said the curse is a load of rubbish.
He added: "When the day comes when we win – and I'm certain we will – it'll put an end to all the piseogs (superstition). And then people will say, 'Where are your piseogs now?'"
Players from a more recent era believe James Horan's current team have what it takes to beat Dublin tomorrow week.
"The only people who curse Mayo are from Galway and Roscommon," said Anthony Finnerty, who played in finals in the 1980s and 1990s.
"I think we just haven't had the team since to lift Sam.
"I've never believed the superstitions. This team is equipped to go the whole way."
'Mayo God Help Us' is on TG4 tomorrow at 8pm.