Friday, May 15, 2020

There was a special delivery mailed to a pair of football-crazy Ballina brothers last week.
The national lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic may be depriving Odhrán and Éanna Cloonan from visiting their granddad Jimmy Mhíci O’Gallachóir in Donegal, but Jimmy showed that he’s always thinking about them when posting a treasured piece of memorabilia from Mayo’s All-Ireland SFC Final victory of 1950.

The 91-year old lives in Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal Gaeltacht but it was to see Mayo lift the Sam Maguire Cup for only the second time that Jimmy made his first visit to Croke Park all of 70 years ago. And it was while trawling through the treasure-trove of GAA memorabilia that he has amassed over the years during the current lockdown that he came across a photograph and poem that appeared in the Ballina Herald at the time, celebrating the magnificent achievements of the men in Green and Red.

Needless to say, Odhrán and Éanna, who have inherited their granddad’s love of Gaelic Games, were delighted to receive their little piece of history.
“The speed and skill of our gallant men, won the nineteen-fifty crown. We hope that in the coming years, they’ll never let us down,” wrote the author ‘Late Inspiration’ whose hopes were realised when Mayo retained their crown the following year.

The Champions from Mayo

We salute the gallant players
Who wear the red and green
For their rally in the final
Was the finest ever seen
The Louth men tried to conquer
But were dealt a crushing blow
By the stalwarts trained in Ballina
The champions from Mayo

The ball was thrown in for the game
By the Bishop of Kilmore
And fifteen seconds afterwards
The Wee County got a score
But our boys kept up a pressure
They played with hand and toe
And proved they were a better team
The champions of Mayo

From start to end the game was played
In a spirit clean and grand
And some Irish airs were rendered
By the noted Artane band
Croke Park was bright with colours
And a rousing cheer was given
For the champions of Mayo
All the players’ cheeks aglow

Mayo played with a technique
That Louth could not excel
They’re a credit to their trainers
Carney and Courell
Whenever the ball came bouncing
It was taken high and low
And cleared out of danger
By the champions of Mayo

As Kenny went off, injured
We thought the game was lost
But our boys were bent on winning
No matter what the cost
When O’Hehir announced, in warning
“Fifteen minutes now to go,”
A resurgence was effected
By the champions of Mayo

At one time they seemed defeated
But they never did despair
The Louth men were kept busy
With the ball within their square
When Mick Flanagan got an opening
He sent it hard and low
To get the score that won the game
For the champions from Mayo

The speed and skill of our gallant men
Won the nineteen-fifty crown
We hope that in the coming years
They’ll never let us down
Stars were shining on the Louth team
Men like Markey, Boyle and Roe
But the brightest stars now shining
Are the champions of Mayo

For thirteen years their efforts
Were lamentably in vain
As “the rapture of pursuing, is the prize the vanquished gain”
But the sun of glory sone at last
While a gentle breeze did blow
And the cup and taken to the west
By the champions from Mayo

“Late Inspiration”
in Ballina Herald

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