If Mayo triumph over Dublin this Sunday, it will be the first time in 66 years that the Sam Maguire will be in Mayo’s hands.
Although they have come tantalisingly close to winning the All-Ireland several times spanning over six decades, many attribute their lack of success to a curse allegedly placed on the 1951 Mayo GAA team.
The story goes that after winning the All-Ireland, a priest put a vex on the Mayo team for passing a funeral without paying their respects, however many variations of the story exist. Legend says that the curse would not be lifted until all the men on the 1951 Mayo panel had died.
However, Donegal academic Dr Arlene Crampsie disagrees, saying the alleged curse is “contrived nonsense.”
A lecturer at UCD and the chairperson of the Oral History Network of Ireland, Dr Crampsie has addressed the myth in her essay “For the love of the jersey’: An oral history of the GAA in Mayo 1884-2011” in “Mayo: History & Society”.
Dr Crampsie wrote a piece for the Irish Times , stating that due to the fact Mayo have lost out on three All-Ireland finals since 2012, whispers of the curse have begun to circulate again ahead of Sunday’s game.
The fact that the women’s team have won four All-Ireland titled since 1999 is “conveniently left to one side”, says Dr Crampsie.
Over four years (2008-2012) the GAA Oral History Project team decided to look into this curse. Dr Crampsie interviewed Fr Peter Quinn, who played on the 1950 and 1951 teams, who said the events “simply did not happen”. She also interviewed local journalist Terry Reilly who himself had interviewed many of the 1951 squad, however none of his interviewees remembered the curse.
While conducting interviews between 2009 and 2011, Dr Crampsie says that not one person cited the curse as the reason Mayo had not won.
“While many admitted to hearing stories about the curse, every interviewee dismissed it and many remarked on how it was something they had only heard about since the 1990s.
“Thus, rather than forming something of a meta-narrative throughout accounts of Mayo GAA, evidence from oral histories in the period 2009-2011 show just how far beneath the radar the curse was and how it was viewed simply as a superstition and a recently contrived nonsense.
“This highlights the extent to which the curse has grown in stature during Mayo’s recent All-Ireland appearances.
“I would love to hear from anyone who remembers it happening; however in their absence perhaps the oral histories analysed here might go some way to casting doubt on what is increasingly becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
1951 Mayo GAA star Padraig Carney agrees with Dr Crampsie, saying that it’s a load of “nonsense”.
Speaking to The Sun, Padraig Carney said; “I don’t believe that curse talk. On the way home we all went our different ways. Some of us went by train and some went by car but there was no talk of a curse at the time.
“I don’t know how it got started. I don’t believe in curses. Mayo have had some very good teams but something has always seemed to happen towards the end of the game when they could have won about four or five All Irelands.”
We’ll just have to wait and see… who’s your money on?Tags: