FEW things can stir the soul like old time memories. The heart is always old-fashioned when it comes to human nature. Here is a story that takes us on a journey back the years to a time when Mayo rules the football waves.
Colmán O Raghallaigh from Claremorris, a passionate supporter of the Mayo cause over the years, relates the lovely story behind a pair of train tickets for the All Ireland Final of 1951 that are now among his treasured possessions.
“My uncle Paddy Collins, a native of Glenmask, Tourmakeady and his new bride Margaret Canavan of Brocagh, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, were home from England and spending some of their honeymoon in The Square, Claremorris with my mother, then a widow from her first marriage.
“Paddy had been home to attend the All-Ireland of the previous year and on September 23 1951, he and Margaret duly took the GAA excursion special from Claremorris to Westland Row and were in Croke Park to see Seán Flanagan, the Mayo captain, raise the Sam Maguire after Mayo had won their 2 in-a-row.
“In 2002, following my uncle’s death and while visiting her in London, my aunt Margaret gave me one of those precious train tickets as a present and following Mayo’s disastrous defeat to Kerry in 2006 my cousin Edwina sent me the other, to “cheer you up” as she put it. Needless to add they are two of the most treasured family heirlooms I have!
“Prior to that 2006 final, my aunt, still a loyal Tyrone follower, had written me a beautiful letter reminding me that she and my uncle would have been married 55 years on that 8th of September and also reminding me that “We were there on that glorious day. It’s time for a repeat.” Like so many more she is still waiting but looking at the date on the tickets I note that we are playing this year on the exact date that we last won the title, 23rd September!”