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22nd Jun 2017

There’s a short film about the infamous Mayo curse and it’s already winning awards

Coming to a big screen near you.

Conor Heneghan

Mayo curse

66 years and counting since the infamous Mayo curse.

When the Chicago Cubs finally landed the World Series after a 108-year wait in 2016, the Mayo footballers’ long wait for an All-Ireland title became arguably the most famous drought in world sport. The Mayo curse lives on.

Not that you need reminding – especially those of you, like your humble author, who hail from the county – but Mayo haven’t brought Sam Maguire across the Shannon since 1951, failing at the final hurdle on ten separate occasions (including replays) in the time since.

Fanciful as it may seem, there are some who blame Mayo’s failure to land the All-Ireland title on a curse imposed on the 1951 team by a priest in Foxford for what he deemed a failure to pay their proper respects to a funeral when they passed through the town following their victory over Meath.

The curse, it is said, will not be lifted until all members of the 1951 team have passed away; only two members, Paddy Prendergast and Padraig Carney, still survive.

The curse has already been discussed on Countdown, on the BBC and by a tour guide in a German town amongst other places and now it is the subject of a short film that is already attracting rave reviews and picking up awards.

In An Mhallacht, Dr Donal Green has his loyalties tested when, ahead of another All-Ireland Final involving Mayo, he discovers that one of his comatose patients is the last living player from the infamous cursed Mayo team of 1951.

A dark comedy short in Irish with English subtitles, it revolves around two brothers and how the Mayo GAA curse affects their daily lives, pushing them to the point where they go against all they believe to be true.

With a cast including a host of renowned Irish TV actors, An Mhallacht premiered at this year’s Dingle International Film Festival in Kerry, opening for Jim Sheridan’s new film ‘The Secret Scripture’.

It also won the ‘Grand Prix’ award at the Oddalenia Dublin Film Festival and has been chosen as an Official Selection at the upcoming Galway Film Fleadh in July. As well as all that, it has been selected for the Sleeping Giants and Underground Cinema film festivals later in the summer.

Given how famous (or infamous) the Mayo curse is at this stage, the story of An Mhallacht is bound to resonate with GAA fans from Mayo and beyond, particularly if the Green and Red can go close to reaching the summit yet again this summer.

Details of all future screenings and events can be found on the movie’s Facebook page.

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