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Last member of victorious Mayo All-Ireland team dies

Paddy Prendergast

THE last surviving member of the last Mayo team to win the All-Ireland senior football final 70 years ago has died.

Paddy Prendergast, nicknamed the 'Ballet Full-Back', was 95.

The Ballintubber native was full-back on the team that lifted the Sam Maguire Cup in 1950 against Louth and in 1951 against Meath.

A former Garda officer, he spent most of his adult life in Tralee, having been transferred there during the 1960s.

Since the heady days of the 1950s, Mayo has suffered 11 All-Ireland final defeats, including six in the last decade.

Their most recent one came just two weeks ago when they were beaten by Tyrone.

The county's losing streak has been attributed to the Mayo 'curse'.

According to folklore, a priest put a curse on Mayo football after the lorry transporting the winning 1951 players failed to pay proper respects to a funeral cortege in Foxford.

The priest is said to have declared that Mayo would not win another All-Ireland as long as all members of the team were alive.

However, Prendergast's wife Irene told the Irish Mirror earlier this month that he didn't believe in the curse.

She added: “Of course, without doubt it would give him greater satisfaction to see them do it."

Recalling the team in a 2017 interview with AIB's GAA blog, he said:. “I think we had a great team, I don't include myself in that but we had great footballers."

Former GAA president Dr Mick Loftus is the last surviving member of the Mayo panel from 1951, although he did not play in the game against Meath.

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