It may not be officially sanctioned by the GAA anymore, but come Saturday afternoon in Clonberne when Mayo and Galway meet in the final of the Gaelic Masters Series at 2pm, it will be as hotly contested as any game where the right to be declared the best is down for decision.
Mayo have won two previous masters titles in 2006 and 2009, when the over-40s competition had the backing of the GAA, but those in charge in Croke Park decided to pull their blessing for the competition much to the despair of the players involved who played for the love of the game against players of their own age. Burrishoole’s John Pat Sheridan is the man who has been the leading light in fighting for the GAA to officially sanction the competition again for a number of years, and he will be back involved with Mayo in Sunday’s final alongside a roll call of familiar names on both sides. Kenneth Mortimer, who incidentally was the manager of the Mayo team that last won the sanctioned competition in 2009, will be donning the green and red again, alongside Gary Ruane, Noel Stagg, Anthony McGarry, Noel Ryan, Pat Clarke, and Darren Madden.
While the men in maroon and white who are chasing their third Masters title on the bounce will be backboned by Ollie Hughes, Brian and Seamus Silke, Conor McGurrin, and Trevor Burke. The game itself, along with the shield final between Tyrone and Cavan which will precede it, will be broadcast live on TV this year on Irish TV, so there will be plenty of opportunity for people to catch the action from the veterans. The game throws in at 3.15pm in Clonberne.