1 Jimmy Maughan
v Dublin, 1978
THE 1978 All-Ireland minor final is best remembered for super sub Tom Byrne’s two goals, but Mayo’s other two ‘majors’ were also special. Kieran O’Malley’s strike was ‘first class’, according to Mayo News reporter Geraldine Lyons.
But pride of place goes to Jimmy Maughan’s first-half effort, memorably described by Lyons as ‘surely … one of the most delicious goals ever’.
Despite having his back to goal, Maughan palmed the ball in with ‘a swift, accurate flick of his hand’ following a pass from full-forward Jimmy Lyons.
It’s still fondly remembered, and Ballinrobe’s Pádraig Costello recently recreated it in a special video produced for a Ballinrobe GAA Club 1970s reunion. It was subsequently replayed at the club dinner-dance, and brought the house down.
2 Michael John Mullin
v Cork, 1985
MICHAEL John Mullin got two goals in the 1985 All-Ireland minor final. The first came after Greg Maher found Mullin, who smacked the ball into the net after a 20-yard dribble.
The second remains unforgettable for those who saw it – Mullin had only one boot on as he first-timed the ball to the net after James Gallagher’s effort struck the upright.
“I had the ball in one hand and the boot in the other,” the Kilmaine man recalled. “I don’t know why I didn’t drop the boot, but I kicked the ball into the goal anyway.”
3 David Nestor
v Kerry, 1995
DAVID Nestor had already got one goal in the drawn All-Ireland U-21 final of 1995. But Kerry had moved five points clear when he struck for what this newspaper dubbed the goal of the season.
“He was picked out by Seán Moffatt around 30 yards from goal and near the sideline,” The Mayo News reported.
“He ran at the defenders, soloing with both feet and dummying inside and outside his markers. Three defenders were left in his wake as he cut in and buried the ball into the corner of the net.” Unfortunately, despite the Ballyhaunis man’s heroics, Kerry won the replay.
4 Willie McGee
v Kerry, 1967
FOUR goals against Kerry in the 1967 All-Ireland U-21 final means Willie McGee holds a storied place in Mayo football lore. According to The Mayo News, all his goals were ‘brilliantly executed’ but the last was ‘probably’ the best.
“I remember catching a high ball, turning, selling their full-back a dummy and burying it from a good bit out,” the man himself recalled. McGee’s late father met him with a hug afterwards and ‘four-goal’ Willie wondered why his dad was crying. “I suppose if your son scored four goals in an All-Ireland final, you’d be crying as well!” he says wryly.
5 Cora Staunton
v Kerry, 2008
CORA Staunton has a vast collection of goals but we’ve chosen her sublime effort from the 2008 All-Ireland quarter-final. There were shades of Ricky Villa’s wonder-strike about it, as the Carnacon star squeezed between two Kerry backs, shimmied past a third defender and slipped the ball past goalkeeper Laoise O’Driscoll.
Yet unlike Villa, it wasn’t an entirely individual effort. Mike Finnerty noted that the chance was ‘created by the vision and imagination of Aoife Herbert, who played a neat one-two with Fiona McHale’. The lethal full-forward did the rest. Check it out on YouTube.
6 Ted Webb
v Antrim, 1974
THE late Ted Webb was involved in both of Mayo’s goals in the 1974 All-Ireland U-21 final victory over Antrim. Mayo News reporter Christy Loftus described Webb’s goal as ‘brilliantly taken’, which the Ballyhaunis man ‘blasted’ to the net after Michael Flannery and Richie Bell had done the approach work.
A second goal followed from the resultant kickout. Ger Farragher fielded the ball on the left and passed to Michael ‘Tick’ Higgins. Webb came ‘thundering in’ for the pass and off-loaded to Des McGrath, who wrong-footed his man before shooting into the roof of the net.
7 Diane O’Hora
v Dublin, 2003
ONE minute and 40 seconds remained in the 2003 ladies final. Dublin led 0-5 to 0-4. Then Cora Staunton dropped in a 40-yard free and Diane O’Hora took possession.
Irish Times writer (and proud Dubliner) Mary Hannigan explains what happened next: “‘Maigh Eooooooo’, says TG4 commentator Brian Tyers, with such anticipation, expectation, hope, belief, enthusiasm, passion, zeal and excitement he almost sucked the flippin’ ball into the net. Which is where it ended up.”
O’Hora created half a yard of space, and lashed the ball home. Has a Mayo All-Ireland been won in such dramatic circumstances?
8 Ray McNicholas
v Cork, 1971
RAY McNicholas – starting only his second game of the 1971 Minor Championship – capped an outstanding performance with the clinching goal in the All-Ireland final. The midfielder started and finished the move himself.
“McNicholas took the ball out of his own half, passed through to Mick Gannon and, following up, was on hand to take the perfect pass from John P Kean on the 14-yard line,” Christy Loftus wrote in these pages. “He made no mistake with the angled shot, placing it between goalpost and ’keeper for a great goal.”
9 Shane McHale
v Kerry, 2008
WATCHING the drawn 2008 All-Ireland minor semi-final, Mayo manager Ray Dempsey watched Shane McHale score a 14th minute goal and thought: ‘game on’.
McHale popped a pass into the path of Aidan Walsh in the right corner. He continued his run towards goal, and when Walsh returned an exquisite pass, the Knockmore man buried the ball past Kerry goalkeeper Brian Kelly.
“You knew by the way he ran onto the pass and rammed the ball to the net that McHale suffered no pangs of inferiority,” wrote Seán Rice.
10 Joe Timoney
v Down, 1966
JJ Timoney’s fine first-half goal knocked the wind out of Down’s sails and gave Mayo minors a shot in the arm in the 1966 All-Ireland final.
Twenty-one minutes in, the Ardnaree man gathered the ball 25 yards from the Down goal, about five yards in from the sideline.
“With all the care and precision of a veteran,” Mayo News reporter Damian McHugh noted, he sent the ball towards the Down goal. “The shot wavered in flight and dropped into the goal, just eluding the up-stretched hands of backs and forwards.”