Last week, while in Ireland for a holiday, Dublin and Kerry faced off in the All Ireland semi-finals. It was odd to be in a pub rooting for Kerry. For some reason unknown to me, the people of Mayo would rather have played the historically best team (Kerry with 37 wins) instead of Dublin (with 25 wins). Of course, Dublin won because the people of Mayo never seem to get what they wish for. I got the impression that most of Ireland feels Dublin is like our own New York Yankees. Dubliners feel their shite doesn’t smell and everyone else is beneath them.
Still, I was so confident that Mayo would be victorious that I strolled into a Paddy Power and plopped down 10 quid for them to win.
That evening in the quiet hotel bar, I was chatting with a pleasant gent from Dublin and I teased that I couldn’t wait to collect my winning bet. Then he said, “They’ll never win because of The Curse.”
Curse? What friggin curse? How come no one ever mentioned this curse to me before? I gotta be sitting in a pub in Ireland across from a Dubliner to hear about it? That’s like learning about sex “on the street.” Someone should have told me!
In 1951, the last year Mayo won the All Ireland, the team bus was weaving its way home from Croke Park. When they got to Foxford, the rowdy lads passed a funeral without a single one of them blessing themselves. The priest, upon seeing this, cursed the team, saying, “Mayo football will never win another All Ireland as long as the heart beats in a member of this team.” (Stone cold, Father. Stone cold.)
As of this weekend, two of the team members from 1951 are still alive – Paradigm Carney and Paddy Prendergast. If you thought Bartman had it rough, imagine how these two gentlemen feel. This weekend, if I were them, I’d be afraid to leave my home for fear of a hit-and-run or a poisoned pint!
Still, I’m a White Sox fan, not the Cubs, so curses have no place in my life. I’m hoping to be at Gaelic Park this Sunday morning with my Mayo flag and Paddy Power ticket. I plan to go home a winner!
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