BBC World Service’s new season of Amazing Sport Stories investigates The Curse of County Mayo

Irish-American sports reporter Dave McKenna investigates whether a decades old hex could be what’s behind County Mayo’s Gaelic football failures

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BBC Sounds

In the new season of the BBC World Service's Amazing Sport Stories, we travel to the West Coast of Ireland.

Can failure in sport be caused by a curse? That’s what The Curse of County Mayo is trying to find out. In US baseball, for the Boston Red Sox, there was the so called “Curse of the Bambino”. This is the story of Ireland’s equivalent. Why hasn’t Mayo’s Gaelic football team won the All-Ireland championship since 1951? Some believe it’s because of the Mayo Curse.

On the 23 September 1951, County Mayo’s Gaelic football team had just won the sport’s most prestigious competition: The All Ireland championship. During their celebratory journey home, they passed a funeral and, apparently drunk on their success, forgot to stop and pay their respects – or at least, that’s how the story goes.

Legend has it that the priest presiding over the funeral set a curse on the team as punishment: “As long as you all shall live, County Mayo will never win another All-Ireland!” Over the years, County Mayo’s team would lose final after final - cementing belief in the curse for many. But could this curse really exist?

As the original line up grows smaller year after year, and with the next championship around the corner, an answer might finally be in sight.

In a Message Heard Production for the BBC World Service, join Irish-American sports reporter Dave McKenna as he investigates whether a decades old hex could be what’s behind County Mayo’s Gaelic football failures.

Dave McKenna, presenter, says: “The Curse of County Mayo has been the story of legend for years in the sporting world. The BBC World Service have set the task to investigate this tale, so I’ll bring listeners around the globe the chance to understand the history behind the mystery.”

The Curse of County Mayo will be available as a podcast from Monday 27 November on BBC Sounds and other major podcast platforms. The first episode will air on BBC World Service Radio from Saturday 2 December, and the remaining episodes on 9 December and 16 December.

Series programme information

Episode 1 - So the Story Goes (see below)
Episode 2 - Dr Loftus (see below)
Episode 3 – The Bogeymen (see below)

Presenter: Dave McKenna. Produced by Elle Scott and Lincoln van der Westhuizen.

A Message Heard Production for the BBC World Service.

Source BBC Sounds

November 29, 2023 4:00am ET by Pressparty  

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