1984 Centennial Tour Team

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GAA Centennial Tour To Ireland: August 2nd to August 23rd 1984 to Mark The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding Of The GAA
 
History was made on August 2nd 1984 when the New York Mayo Football Team, Officials and supporters boarded a Trans American 747 flight from Kennedy Airport in New York to Shannon Airport on the first ever Mayo Football Club tour to Ireland. After months of planning and organizing, this historical trip became a reality.

 

On arrival at Shannon Airport on the morning of August 3rd, the touring group were met and welcomed by the Mayo GAA Co Board Chairman Paddy Muldoon. After having breakfast at the airport we boarded our tour bus and began what was the beginning of a hectic three weeks of games and events to mark the centenary of the GAA. The Mayo NY touring party included: Club chairman Pat Gavin Aughagower, his sister Bridie and his children Colleen,Dawn and Tierney. Tour chairman John Fitzgerald Irishtown, his wife Helen & children Geraldine and Joseph. Team Captain and banquet chairman Mickey Morley Knock, his wife Ellen & daughters Sarah & Linda, Jimmy & Winnie Joyce Garrymore, Sean & Mary Prendergast Garrymore, Peter & Julia Naughton Kilmaine, Larry Dugan Yonkers NY, John Dunne, Parke, Tony & Pauline Green,Ballyhaunis, Mike & Sheila McDonnell, Balla, Seamus Finnerty, Moygowna, Tom Bennett, Roscommon, Mick Morris, Hollymount, Pat Convery, Maghera, Derry, Mike Ruane, Louisburgh, Joe & Bridget Vaughan, Balla, Eileen Sreridan, Ballinrobe.
 
After catching up with family and friends, our first game was held in Claremorris on Sunday Aug 5th. against the local senior team.  The Mayo NY team lined out as follows: Goal: Austin Lacey, Pat Convery, Padraig Mullins, Mike Ruane, Mickey Morley, Tom Kearney, Mick Morris, Tommy Higgins, Henry Gavin, Tommy O'Malley, Martin Connolly, Tom Bennett, Tony Green, Brendan Morrissey, Seamus Finnerty. Subs: John Finnerty, Billy Diskin.
 
After a very entertaining game the home team came out the winners. After the game the team & officials were treated to a lovely reception of sandwiches and beverages at the club's new sports complex. Seamus (Cooney ) Gallagher, Austin Garvin, Henry Cleary, and other Claremorris officials gave us a rousing welcome and both teams exchanged gifts and enjoyed the afternoon.
 
That evening the Mayo NY group, with family & friends, assembled at Churchfield House Hotel in Knock for a lavish banquet hosted by the Mayo New Yorkers. Also attending were GAA President Elect , Dr Mick Loftus,  Co Board Chairman Paddy Muldoon, Connacht Council President Tom Cunningham, Secretary Connacht Council Johnny Mulvey and from the GAA Youth Board, Fr Paddy Kilcoyne. 
A wonderful evening of friendship and entertainment was enjoyed by all and the celebrations went on into the early morning. 


The next morning Aug 6th some of the brave warriors from the group  were off to Murrisk where they joined other GAA clubs of Ireland to climb the reek at the top of Croagh Patrick, Fr. Leo Morahan, former Mayo Co Board chairman, celebrated a special GAA centenary mass at 2pm. 


The next day was spent with family and on Wed Aug 8th it was on to Ballyhaunis to play the local team in their new field. After an exciting game the New Yorkers came out on top and won the first game of their tour. A reception was hosted by the Ballyhaunis club at the Central Hotel and a great time was had by all. Hugh Rudden, Johnny Biesty, Jerry Lyons, Val Rhattigan, Tony & John Morley extended a warm welcome to the Mayo NY group. Plaques & medals were exchanged to mark the occasion. After dinner the group moved to Val Rhattigan's Bar where the sing song went into the early hours of Thursday morning.


The next evening Aug 9th the group were invited to the Disabled Drivers of Ireland headquarters in Ballindine, for a reception hosted by Martin & Ann Donaghue. Other guests included Fr. Varley PP Ballindine, Paddy Muldoon, Johnny Mulvey,  Bro Lawrence Grimes, Irish Franciscan Bros. Fr. Edward Tuffy, Barnacarrol the"1984 Mayo person of the year." The Mayo NY touring group presented Martin & Ann with a replica of the " Big Apple" as a token of appreciation for their hospitality to the touring group.
 
Sat Aug 8th it was on the bus early and off to Dublin for the weekend. That evening was the ' Big Game" against the Garda Team in the Phoenix Park. The previous year both teams played in Gaelic Park NY for the John Morley Memorial Trophy which the Garda team won. After a fierce battle the New Yorkers won the game by one point  2-9  to 14 pts and captain Mickey Morley was presented with the beautiful trophy. The Mayo NY team that evening was: John Finnerty, Mickey Morley, Tom Burke, Pat Convery, Mick Morris, Frank Noone, Martin Connolly, Tony Morley, Tommy O'Malley, Pat Hehir, Finnian Joyce, Tom Bennett, John Dunne, Tommy Grogan, Seamus  Finnerty. Subs: Mike Ruane, Tony Green, Bobby Miller  Mike McDonnell, Joe Vaughan,John Nally, Tom Connolly.
 
After the battle both teams and officials went to Garda Headquarters on Harrington St, Dublin for a magnificent banquet hosted by the Garda club. It was a wonderful evening celebrating the victory and also the rousing welcome we received from the hosts.

 

Sunday Aug 12th it was up for breakfast and then off to Croke Park to watch the All Ireland football semi finals. Although Mayo were not playing all enjoyed the games. Tipperary minors beat Roscommon and Kerry seniors beat Galway.
 

Monday morning Aug 13th it was on the bus and heading for Mayo and Ballina for the opening ceremonies of  "Welcome Home GAA Week Celebrations." The touring Mayo group took a leading roll in the GAA Parade and the team had the honour of playing the first game of the centennial celebrations against the local Ballina Stephenites. It was fitting that the game ended in a draw and then on to a reception hosted by the Ballina club. The highlight of the evening was when the Central Council  President Paddy Buggy from Kilkenny and Central Council President Elect, Dr Mick Loftus, from Crossmolina addressed the gathering. Plaques and trophies were exchanged and a fantastic evening was had by all.
 
The final game of the tour was against the Castlebar Mitchells at McHale Park on Aug 17th. The New Yorkers got the win after a very close contest. The only negative on the evening was that Mayo captain Mickey Morley broke a bone in his hand and spent most of the evening at the local hospital before joining the group later. Both teams and officials were treated to a reception at the Mitchells clubhouse after the game and it was enjoyed immensely by all the group.


That same evening the 100th  Anniversary Banquet was held in Ballina to honour the countries involved in the "Welcome Home GAA Week." Countries represented were: USA, Australia, Canada, New Zeland and England. Many leading Government and GAA officials were among the capacity crowd in attendance.
 
The last event of the touring NY Mayo Football group was an invitation from Fr. Tuffy Barnacarrol, to attend a special Mass on the 103rd anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady Of Knock Shrine. After mass the group were guests of Fr. Tuffy at a lovely reception in Churchfield House Hotel.
 
The historic tour concluded on Aug 23rd as the group said good bye to Ireland and left with many happy memories of a wonderful trip. After landing at Kennedy Airport in New York, in 90 degree weather, it was back to reality again after a glorious Irish tour.