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Monday, June 8, 2020

Mayo Gaelic Football Team Plays Massachusetts All-Stars at Fenway Park, June 6, 1937

The acclaimed Mayo Football Club visited Boston to play against the Massachusetts All Stars at Fenway Park on June 6, 1937.

The Massachusetts team, managed by Mike McKeown, consisted of the best players from the local Boston teams.

On game day, over 6,000 fans were in the stands, to witness Mayo easily defeating the Massachusetts team by a score of 17-8. 

Wrote The Boston Globe’s sports reporter Victor O. Jones, “I’ve looked upon some great athletes and some great teams in my day, but I’ve yet to see a finer body of men than those who wore the Green and Red of Mayo yesterday. 

"Most of them were giants - tall, broad-shouldered, barrel-chested and thick-limbed - but their physical qualifications didn’t stop there.  They were also fast, amazingly so, for such large men, rugged and apparently tireless.  Skillful too, they were nimble with their hands and feet in a game which requires not only power and speed but also fitness."

Jones cited three Mayo players in particular, Paddy McClair, Gerald Courell and Purty Kelly as the stars of the Mayomen, while the Massachusetts players praised included Ned Clancy and Bobby Thompson.  

Celebrity guests at the match included famed wrestlers  Danno O’Mahoney and Steve Casey.

In the days leading up to the match, the team visited the Massachusetts State House, where Lt. Governor Francis Kelly welcomed them, then over to Boston City Hall, where they were well received by Mayor Fred Mansfield.  Afterwards, some of the players went to see the Boston Braves play the Pittsburgh Pirates, while others “visited Suffolk Downs and took a whirl on the ponies,”  according to George Collins of The Boston Globe.  

The night before the match, the team saw “Parnell” at Loew’s State Theatre, then went to Hibernian Hall in Roxbury to meet with the local Mayo Association.

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