Northern Ireland news

Tyrone GAA fans take inspiration from Pope's visit with 'Sam-mobile'

The Sam-mobile has been touring Tyrone ahead of the All Ireland final. Picture by Glendale Limousines

TYRONE GAA supporters have taken inspiration from the Pope's visit to Ireland, hoping that divine intervention will help them towards a fourth All-Ireland win.

A week after Pope Francis toured the streets of Dublin in his popemobile, Red Hand fans have been travelling the county in their very own 'Sam-mobile'.

Last minute preparations are underway across Tyrone before the exodus tomorrow to see Mickey Harte's men take on the might of champions Dublin at Croke Park.

Anything not already flying red and white flags has been decked out in recent days.

Irish Street in Dungannon was among many streets awash with the county colours yesterday, with flags and bunting adorning almost every lamp post and building.

In nearby Cookstown, even the sheep in the fields have been unable to avoid Tyrone fever with animals being painted red ahead of tomorrow's game.

Nigel McCullagh from Omagh, who owns Glendale Limousines, has transformed a Ford Ranger into Tyrone's own version of the popemobile.

Touring towns and villages across the county, the vehicle has been specially fitted with a replica Sam Maguire trophy in anticipation of a Tyrone victory.

Just yesterday Mr McCullagh said he greeted a bride and groom who wanted their photograph taken beside the 'Sam-mobile' ahead of the final.

"We took inspiration from the Pope coming to Ireland last week, that was the idea behind it," he said.

"So instead of the popemobile, Tyrone has the Sam-mobile.

"We previously did the Tyrone Rolls Royce back in 2003 and 2005, so this is our latest one.

"The response to it has been unbelievable, people love the idea. We have been touring the county with it, so many people want to see it.

"We had a bride and groom today who had us come to meet them outside the church with the Sam-mobile."

Mr McCullagh added that he hoped by tomorrow evening, the real Sam Maguire will returning to Tyrone.

"We thought it would be a great for everyone to see, people have enjoyed it," he said,

"Hopefully by Sunday, the Sam Maguire will be on its way back to Tyrone."

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