Joe Brolly compares Mayo backroom staff incident to ‘one of the biggest manhunts Ireland has ever seen’

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“Liam Averill had melted into air, into thin air, and was never seen again. The Mayo three were not so lucky.”

Joe Brolly has compared the Mayo incident in Croke Park last month, where three of the backroom staff tried to sneak into the stadium, to an IRA prisoner’s escape in the late 1990s.

Mayo backroom team

Brolly was writing in the Irish Independent over the weekend and used the comparison of Mayo trying to sneak their management team to Liam Averill’s escape from prison in the 1990s.

“Mayo County Board suspended three of the senior team’s management for three months, for the crime of smuggling themselves into Croke Park for the All-Ireland final in the back of the kit van,” he started.

“Apparently, unbeknownst to the driver, they got past the security check by hiding under blankets, then emerging from the van dressed as official kit men.”

CCTV footage

Subsequently, Mayo handed out three-month suspensions to the three members of the backroom team for illegally attending the All-Ireland final.

The county board stated that: “These individuals attended the game without the knowledge of the county board officers and the team manager.”

However, all was going to plan for the three unnamed members of James Horan’s coaching staff before CCTV footage, spotted by a security guard, uncovered the incident.

“Unfortunately, the trio were captured on CCTV clambering out of the back of the van when it stopped,” Brolly continued.

“The eagle-eyed security man reported it to his superiors and the audacious plot was uncovered.”

Liam Averill

The 1993 All-Ireland winner with Derry referenced IRA prisoner Liam Averill’s escape from the Maze prison in 1997. Averill was dressed as a woman.

“Like Toad of Toad Hall, Liam dressed in women’s clothes that had been smuggled into the prison, applied make-up and lipstick, and managed to walk 600 metres in high heels through the highest security prison in all of Europe, navigating three maximum security checkpoints on his way to freedom,” Brolly explained.

“One of the biggest manhunts the country had ever seen followed, with army choppers filling the air like angry wasps, houses ransacked and road blocks everywhere.

“But Averill had melted into air, into thin air, and was never seen again.

“The Mayo three were not so lucky.”

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