About the Mayo LGFA

The Mayo county ladies’ football team represents Mayo in amateur ladies’ Gaelic football. The team competes in inter-county competitions such as the All-Ireland TG4 Senior Ladies Championship and the Lidl Ladies National Football League as a member of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.

Mayo are the fifth most successful team in the championship of all time, with four wins,  and fifth most successful in the League of all time, with three wins. The late 1990s and early 2000s, when Mayo won four All-Ireland Championships in five years, is considered the “golden era” of ladies’ football in Mayo.  Mayo last won a major title in 2007, defeating Galway in Division 1 of the National Football League, and last won silverware in 2016, also defeating Galway in the Connacht championship. 

Though not represented at the founding of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association in 1974, Mayo has been a constant presence in ladies football. The first provincial council for Ladies Football in Connacht was established in 1975 with three counties participating; GalwayRoscommon and Mayo. Losing to Roscommon in the inaugural Connacht championship in 1975, Mayo became the second winners of the Senior Connacht Championship in 1976, defeating Galway.  Connacht played their first inter-provincial match against Leinster in 1976, with six Mayo players representing: Brid Fitzgerald, Ann Burke, Pauleen Finnerty, Mary O, Roseleen Conway and Valerie Collins, a game which Leinster won after a replay, in Ballycumber, Co. Offaly. Mayo went through a period of no trophies in the early to mid-eighties, mainly because the Connacht championship did not take place in the years 1978, 1979, 1982, 1985 and 1986, before clinching the All-Ireland Junior title in 1987, defeating Wexford and officially being graded as a senior team. The junior championship final against Wexford was the first time a team from Connacht had played in Croke Park. Mayo also went on to win the Connacht championship title for 3 consecutive years in 1988,1989 and 1990. Mayo lost to Laois in the semi-final of the All-Ireland championship in 1988, losing by 1-10 to 1-1. 

Pauline Mullen was the first Mayo player to win an All-Star award in 1992. Mayo failed to win silverware again until 1993, where they won the Intermediate Championship or All-Ireland B Final as it was called at the time, defeating Dublin. From 1993 to 2001, the Connacht championship was not played due to a lack of teams being fielded, and Mayo automatically qualified for the semi-final of the All-Ireland Championship each year in these years. The period between 1993 and 1998 however was heartbreak for Mayo as they failed to advance past the semi-finals. In the 1993 semi-final Mayo played Laois in Ballina, Co. Mayo which ended in a draw, with a score line of Mayo 1-10 to Laois’ 0-13. The replay held in Stradbally, Co. Laois resulted in a 3-16 to 2-05 victory for Laois. Despite this, Bernie O’Neill became the second Mayo player to be awarded an All-Star in 1993. Between 1994-1996 Mayo were beaten both in the semi-finals of the championship and in the final of the National League, losing in the league to Monaghan in 1994, Waterford in 1995 and Monaghan again in 1996. Despite this, All-Stars were acquired by Diane O’Hora in 1994, both Bernie O’Neill and Patricia Mullen in 1995, and by Christina Heffernan in 1996. In 1996 Mayo were defeated in the championship semi-final by Laois again with a score line of 3-14 to 0-19 in MacHale Park. It should be noted however that during the same period the youth teams in Mayo dominated the early to mid-90s in Connacht, with the U14’s capturing titles in 94,95,96 and 97, and the U16s winning Connacht championships in 90, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97 and 98. 

In 1997 Mayo were defeated by Monaghan in the championship semi-final, and in 1998 in the semi-final they lost to Waterford in Dungarvan. Christina Heffernan picked up her second All-Star award in 1998. Though Mayo had come agonisingly close to an All-Ireland final appearance throughout the late 80s and most of the 90s, the combination of dual managers John Mullin and Finbar Egan from 1998 onwards and the influx of young Mayo players with a taste for success at underage level would prove to be a winning combination.