The Mighty Men

Mayo-Team-1950_edited.jpg

 Ireland Mayo back-to-back All-Ireland winning team of 1950-1

Often called “The Mighty Men” – a catchy alternative nameplate for Mayo football teams, some doubts exist as to the origins of the title. 

Some claim it was used many years ago in the home county and spread to the U.S with the influx of Irish immigrants who steadfastly held onto their GAA traditions as a way of ensuring ties to home, tradition and community. Others assert it evolved from the 1948 All-Ireland final when an Irish sportswriter described Pat McAndrew as “The Mighty Pat McAndrew”.

More logical is the explanation that the name was coined by Hype Igoe, the colorful and innovative Journal American sportswriter. While writing about the 1932 Mayo football team who played New York in a three-game series at the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, Igoe noted their impressive physical outlines, labeling the team “The Mighty Men of Mayo”. Two of the Mayo-New York games were played for the nationally renowned ‘Hearst Milk Fund’ charity, sponsored by the Journal American newspaper, so Hype Igoe would be the publicity front man for the Mayo tour. Bill O’Dwyer later picked up the phrase from Hype Igoe, using it at a social function to welcome the Mayo team. 

Whatever the source, the appellation is fitting – they have been mighty on the football fields of Ireland and New York and their deeds for Gaelic sports everywhere have always matched that rating.