The death took place today of one of Mayo GAA’s best-known supporters, John Durcan.
John, aged 75, of Coguala, Westport was known affectionately, far and wide, as ‘St Patrick’, having attended scores of Mayo games over the years dressed in the regalia of Ireland’s patron saint.
From 2004 on he became renowned as ‘St Patrick’, dressing up in green and red for games involving Mayo mens and womens teams, and in red and black for Westport United’s successful FAI Junior Cup run in 2005.
He also brought colourful banners and slogans everywhere he went.
“St Patrick was never meant to last so long,” John told The Mayo News in 2008.
“The first banner I made was in 2004 and read ‘Holly for Brolly’ in response to Joe Brolly who had been scathing in his criticism of some of the Mayo players.
“The TV cameras and everyone loved it, and leaving MacHale Park after the match that day a woman from Castlebar said ‘you could get great mileage out of that image’ … She convinced me that I should dress up as St Patrick the following week in a parade and raise money for charity … I haven’t looked back since,” he added.
An army veteran, John served in the Irish Army for 36 years. He joined the army in 1960 and shortly afterwards, at the age of 17, he was sent on the first of two six-month tours of duty to the Congo.
He also did four tours to Cyprus and two in the Lebanon.
“I did eight overseas trips – to hell and back stuff, I’ll tell you,” John said in 2008.
Even when ill in recent years, John still dressed up as St Patrick when the opportunity arose.
He had bravely battled ill-health for many years and remained in typically high spirits throughout.