“I was amazed by the whole lot of it” was the reaction of Kerry native John Evans to the rivalry between Mayo and Roscommon, a period during which he managed the Rossies. Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney talk through their shared history, and highlight some huge moments in this fantastic GAA rivalry. Jerseys available at OrgaRetro.com, with 15% off using promo code ‘OurGame’.
A truly fantastic rivalry that has contributed so much to the Connacht championship over the years.
Mayo and Roscommon share a border, and that’s a big part of the problem here.
The parish of Ballaghaderreen has been central to the strife: a big town in the land of the Rossies, yet their players line out for the green and red.
As Sean Kilbride told Malachy Clerkin in an interview: “There is a resentment in Roscommon that the second biggest town in the county is lost to it in GAA terms, even though the town is administered by Roscommon and in every way is a Roscommon town.”
Andy Moran — who in this video is pitted against Tony McManus — was Footballer of the Year in 2017, and hails from that very town.
He kissed the Mayo crest after scoring against the Rossies in pre-season competition, and was let know about it in matches thereafter.
Seán Flanagan, one of only six men to lift the Sam Maguire twice, remains one of Mayo’s greatest ever players, hailing from Ballaghaderreen.
Sean Moran wrote of the rivalry in 1996: “Everyone agrees that it was the 1989 All Ireland between Mayo and Cork that got the pot boiling. To what precise extent people disagree.
“There is a natural tendency to play down the divisions in the town but Ballaghaderreen became a focal point for Mayo hype.
“The team’s manager of that time, John O’Mahony, is from the town and so are two of the team that started that match seven years ago, Dermot Flanagan and Noel Durkin.
“Some supporters painted the road red and green and together with other flights of enthusiasm, caused Roscommon sympathisers to take umbrage.
“Adding to the delicate situation was the fact that Mayo had beaten Roscommon after a replay in that year’s Connacht final.”
Mayo native Kevin McStay took sole control of Roscommon in 2017 — after parting ways with joint boss Fergal O’Donnell — and was on the end of severe criticism during a rough run of results.
“I do not like to see Mayo men on the sideline for a Roscommon team,” said Gay Sheerin. It was a testing time for the manager, and yet he would deliver Connacht glory that same summer.
Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney talk through the rivalry, some big clashes, and how one incident ended up on Question Of Sport.
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