Musical border students keep a foot in both GAA camps

Students from Presentation College Headford, making their video.

Presentation College Headford is a mixed secondary school in more ways than one – it draws boys and girls from both Galway and Mayo!

Located just a couple of miles from the Mayo border, in this County Galway co-ed school there is obviously a competitiveness when it comes to the two counties’ respective GAA teams.

There are upwards of 700 pupils in the school, and many of them come from Mayo villages of Shrule, Kilmaine, Cong, Cross and Glencorrib; and the staff are also from both Mayo and Galway.

But rivalries have been put to one side this week as students from Galway and Mayo collaborated in a musical performance of The West’s Awake and The Green and Red of Mayo.

The combination of the two well-loved songs was captured on video, and celebrates the success of Galway’s hurlers, who claimed the All-Ireland senior and minor titles in some style last Sunday week. It also seeks to send good vibes the way of the Mayo senior footballers, who are aiming to emulate the Galway hurlers by making history and winning the Sam Maguire when they take on Dublin in the All-Ireland final this weekend at Croke Park.

Some 110 students – from first years to Leaving Certs and Transition Years predominantly from the music department but also including some with an interest in GAA – were involved in the production, both orchestrally and chorally, explained Ita Cunningham of the music department.

“We are thrilled with it,” said Ms Cunningham, who co-ordinated the music celebration of the GAA culture that permeates Presentation College Headford along with Siobhán Shaughnessy.

The idea for combining the two songs came after they had watched a TG4 documentary of former Galway GAA legend, and former president of the organisation, Joe McDonagh.

“Both of us thought it was just so moving, we wondered if we could combine The West’s Awake with The Green and Red of Mayo. It’s to celebrate the Galway hurlers’ 2017 All-Ireland victory and in anticipation of the Mayo footballers’ outstanding performance this weekend,” she said.

The video can be viewed on

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.