It has been described as the greatest Connacht Final of them all. Galway’s titanic battle with Mayo in MacHale Park on July 17, 1966, has lived long in the memory of those who witnessed it.
Over 30,000 people descended on Castlebar on an unforgettable Sunday afternoon when a western showdown ultimately decided the destiny of Sam Maguire. Galway, seeking their third successive All-Ireland, were unquestionably the best team in Ireland, but Mayo could reasonably claim to be the second best. Not since the 1930s had football fans in Connacht enjoyed such heady days.
But the backdrop to this remarkable renaissance in western football was one of mass emigration and economic deprivation. The 1950s laid waste to rural communities as entire families were forced to seek new lives overseas or in other parts of Ireland. Some 40,000 departed Galway and Mayo in the 15 years to 1966 and that great exodus was showing little sign of slowing down, prompting many in the West to believe they were witnessing the death of a way of life.
In this absorbing and multi-layered narrative, award-winning author James Laffey goes beyond the football fields to chronicle a fascinating sporting story in the context of an era of sweeping change. Ballrooms, carnivals, black and white television, Austin A40 cars, JFK in Galway… it’s all here in this entertaining account of a magical decade when the West suddenly found its voice.
At the heart of that reawakening was one of the oldest rivalries in the GAA, a gripping power struggle between neighbours that left everyone asking the same question in the summer of 1966: Will Galway Beat Mayo?
Will Galway Beat Mayo?
- Publisher: James Laffey
- Availability: In Stock