PADDY PRENDERGAST, the last surviving member of Mayo's 1951 All-Ireland-winning side, has passed away at the age of 95.
The full-back played as Mayo defeated Meath to claim Sam Maguire 70 years ago in their last All-Ireland SFC success.
Prendergast also lifted the trophy a year earlier when Mayo defeated Louth.
Comhbhrón ó chroí le clan Paddy Prendergast ó gach duine i gCumann Lúthchleas Gael Mhaigh Eo. Deepest sympathies to the family of former Mayo footballer Paddy Prendergast who sadly passed away. Paddy was full back for Mayo in 1950 & 1951 All-Ireland. Laoch i measc na naomh pic.twitter.com/O6sYX7qWcq
— Mayo GAA (@MayoGAA) September 26, 2021
A former Garda, he had previously played inter-county football for Donegal when he was stationed there before being called up for his native county.
Former Mayo player Conor Mortimer, who played in the 2004 and 2006 finals, paid tribute to Prendergast, saying praise from him and the legendary team of 1951 fed his ambition.
"One thing that made me proud as a player was men of the '51 All-Ireland team telling me I was a decent player over the years," he tweeted.
Saddened to hear of the loss of paddy prendergast. One thing that made me proud as a player was men of the 51 all Ireland team telling me I was a decent player over the years. Met paddy a few times in Tralee and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Rest easy champ. 🙌
— Conor.mortimer (😷)⚽️ (@Conmort) September 26, 2021
Meanwhile Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh described Prendergast as "an absolute gentleman".
Prendergast's club, Ballintubber, said they were "saddened and heartbroken" at the news.
"As a club we are deeply saddened and heartbroken to learn of the passing of our own Paddy Prendergast," they said in a statement.
"We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Prendergast family at the passing of one of the all-time greats of Mayo football."
Very sorry to hear of the passing of Paddy Prendergast. An absolute gentleman, community man & memory sharer. He gifted my parents & I so much time in #Tralee in 2015. This day 70 years ago, 23rd Sept 1951, he gifted Mayo so much. Forever grateful.💚❤️ #RestWellPaddy pic.twitter.com/kUZjpLrneT
— Maria Walsh MEP (@MariaWalshEU) September 26, 2021
Former GAA President Dr Mick Loftus is the only surviving member of the Mayo panel from 1951, however he didn't feature in the final.
Mayo have reached 11 finals since then, but have failed to add to the county's three titles.
Prendergast also played as Mayo lost the 1948 final to Cavan.