Tyrone GAA: What is the story behind the 'Mayo curse' and will it give Tyrone the All-Ireland?

By Sophie McLaughlin

Tyrone take on Mayo in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in Croke Park and it would seem the whole county has rallied behind the team to show their support.

With every corner of the county being decked out in red and white in the hope that the Sam Maguire makes its journey back to Ulster this weekend, Saturday's match is going to be a nail-biter.

Tyrone last won the trophy back in 2008 but it has been more than 70 years since a Mayo side held the Sam Maguire aloft.

Whether you call it bad luck or something more supernatural is at play, Mayo has made it into the All-Ireland Final 10 times since their last win in 1951 but have not been able to secure the trophy.

Many people believe this misfortune can be linked back to the black mark that was placed on the 1951 winning squad as they returned home from their triumph over Meath.

The story goes that the Mayo team were travelling in the back of a truck from Dublin when they passed a funeral in the town of Foxford without paying their respects or following Irish funeral etiquette by halting and letting it pass.

It is then claimed that the upset priest, or the widower depending on which version of the story has been passed on to you, forced them to stop and put a curse on them that Mayo would never again win Sam Maguire until every member of the current squad had passed.

As probably the most well-known superstitions across the GAA community, Mayo will be determined to prove it's just an old wives tale when they come head to head with Tyrone on Saturday.

One man who definitely doesn't believe in the curse is one of the last surviving players of the 1951 panel, Paddy Prendergast.

The legendary full-back and his wife Irene are confident that their home side can go all the way at Croke Park this weekend, the Irish Mirror reports.

His wife Irene said: “He doesn’t believe in that curse.

“Of course, without doubt, it would give him greater satisfaction to see them do it and I tell you what we will celebrate if they win.

“Paddy has said they are a wonderful team and I’m sure they will make it.

“We talk every day about it and he says, ‘Maybe Mayo will do it this time, they are great footballers and if they are confident and don’t get rattled they can’.

“We are confident they will win on Saturday and of course we will have the champagne ready.”

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