Kenny insists his role allows him to be partisan

Taoiseach's father Henry was on the very first Mayo team to win an All-Ireland in 1936

Enda shows his true colours

Enda shows his true colours


It’s not easy for Taoiseach Enda Kenny, forever destined to live in the shadows. He comes from a county where Liverpool manager Bill Shankly’s comment about football being “much, much more” important than matters of life or death is considered understatement.

Our Taoiseach is, some would say, better-known in that part of the country as the son of an All-Ireland winner and the father of another.

His father, Henry, was on the very first Mayo team to win an All-Ireland in 1936 .

Just 13 days ago, his son Naoise (17) rubbed salt into the wound by winning an All-Ireland hurling medal with the Mayo Minor C side.

Being president of Islandeady GAA club is all very well, but it hardly cuts the mustard in Mayo when it comes to football, achievement and All-Ireland medals.

Yesterday, when this was put gently to the Taoiseach the response was typically upbeat. “I was born to play on a bigger pitch,” he said. But, deep down, he has to be hurting.

He is optimistic about Sunday. “It’s different this year, from what they tell me. The team is in a different place. They’ve had very strong performances. They have a different psychological approach.”

Outside Dublin “there’s not a county in the country which is not willing Mayo to win”, he said.

Even as Taoiseach for all the Gaels, he feels entitled to be so partisan. “As Taoiseach I am satisfied that this is allowed,” he said, adding, in the direction of the Dubs, that “the Dublin and Mayo supporters are among the best”.

But a Mayo win “has been threatened for so many years”. If such a long-threatening does come to pass on Sunday, “a lot of people will probably get emotional”.

More Mayo understatement.

He will have three special guests with him in Croke Park on Sunday: Fr Peter Quinn, Paddy Prendergast, and Padraig Carney, surviving members of that great 1951 team which last brought glory and Sam Maguire to Mayo.

As for the so-called curse that Mayo wouldn’t win an All-Ireland as long as any member of the 1951 side was alive, he is as dismissive as Foxford parish priest Fr Padraig Costello was this week. It was “nonsense. I don’t believe it at all. I heard it years ago,” the Taoiseach said.

The curse was, supposedly, placed on Mayo football by a priest when the 1951 Mayo team, while celebrating their great victory, failed to pay respects to a funeral procession in Foxford.

This week Fr Costello dismissed the curse as fiction but, to be sure, to be sure, gave the current Mayo team an official blessing at the spot on the bridge over river Moy in Foxford where the alleged curse was allegedly imposed by his predecessor.