ONE THAT GOT AWAY The Mayo football team of 1925 thought they had won All-Ireland senior medals but they were denied Celtic Crosses in controversial circumstances. Pic: Ray Ryan
A DUBLIN man has asked The Mayo News for help in securing a photograph of the Mayo team that won the All-Ireland title in 1925 — only to be stripped of the honour when beaten subsequently by Galway in the Connacht final of the same competition.
Michael Mullen’s father played at right-half back on that team. His son has been searching for years for a team photo without success, and is wondering if any reader of The Mayo News would have a copy.
It’s a long shot, and a rare request for what was a rare occasion. And if tough luck was considered an exclusive of recent Mayo squads, the team of 1925 had its trials too.
Mayo beat Wexford by 2-4 to 1-4 in that final. In the semi-final Kerry accounted for Cavan by two points. Both were then disqualified for playing illegal players.
According to Michael, the Connacht championship was not completed in time because of a number of draws, and since Mayo had been reigning champions for the previous four or five years, they were nominated to represent the province in the All-Ireland.
Having beaten Wexford, Mayo were declared All-Ireland champions, but on October 31 they lined out against Galway in the Connacht final and lost by 1-5 to 1-3.
“In December the chairman of the Central Council P. Breen from Wexford instructed the secretary to send the All-Ireland medals to Galway. He refused to allow a vote on this.
“In the 1940s due to Foot and Mouth a similar situation took place. In 1941 Cork became All-Ireland hurling champions and later that year Tipperary won the Munster title.”
The Mayo line-out was: J. Murray; John E. McEllin, (capt), Barney Durkan, P. O’Beirne; Michael J. Mullen, F. O’Doherty, J. Regan; Mick Mulderrig, J. Forde; G. Delaney, J.J. Walsh, A. Lohan, G. Williams, Jack Henry, T. Forde.
Michael says that Richard Kelly from Westport, who lives near him in Dun Laoighre and runs a shop in Bray, recommended The Mayo News to him in search of the photograph.
Michael said that in addition to his father, brothers Tom and Edmund also played for Mayo, and for Breaffy and Castlebar Mitchels. Other members of the family were Eugene, Joe and Maura.
“Tom and his wife Mary (Coggins) lived in the teacher’s house in Breaffy from 1894 to 1933. It was later owned by Heneghans,” he explained. “They then moved to Ard na Greine – opposite Breaffy House – which Dad and Tom, refused as ordered to burn in 1920.
“Ard na Greine was owned by Maura and Willie Malone, a Westport man.”
He said his father qualified as a medical doctor, Tom was a T.D. and teacher, Joe and Eugene became priests and Edmund a civil servant.
Maura Malone was Michael Mullen’s aunt, and thus by marriage he was related to the great Liam Hastings of 1951 fame.
“When I was fifteen years of age I used to wait for Liam outside the players’ entrance and he would bring me into the side-line for the games.
“Dad and I went to Croke Park in 1951 to see Mayo and the Dubs play a charity match after the All-Ireland. I have been at the 1950 and ’51 All-Ireland finals, and every final since. A photograph was taken of me at the recent league final in which Mayo beat Kerry”.
Michael says he would appreciate greatly the help of The Mayo News in finding a photograph of that 1925 side.
If you can help, please let us know at (098) 25311 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.