Pope's visit

Pope Francis signs Mayo GAA shirt - and fans hope 'curse' will be lifted

Audrey Elliott with the signed Co Mayo jersey by Pope Francis at Ireland West Airport, Knock 
Cate McCurry, Press Association

Pope Francis signed a Gaelic football top before boarding a plane from Co Mayo.

The Pontiff, who is on a two-day visit to the Republic, was leaving West Ireland Airport when he signed the green and red Co Mayo Gaelic top.

Audrey Elliott, who works in the marketing team at the airport, handed the football jersey to Francis moments before he boarded the Aer Lingus plane back to Dublin.

Speaking afterwards, the Co Mayo fan said she hopes the "curse" of the team is now gone.

The story of the curse dates back to the team's last All-Ireland football final victory in 1951.

The winning team were travelling back to Mayo with the winning cup, the Sam Maguire, when they passed a funeral in the town of Foxford.

The local priest is said to have cursed the team after they failed to stop and pay their respects.

It is said that the curse will not be lifted until all the members of the 1951 team have died - two members of the original line-up are still alive.

Mayo have reached eight All-Ireland finals but have lost every game.

Ms Elliott, and the rest of Mayo, hope with the Pope's blessing, the curse has been lifted.

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