The Mayo GAA jersey signed by Pope Francis before he boarded his return flight to Dublin this morning is to be put on display at Ireland West Airport.

The Pontiff was approached by two staff members just before he climbed the steps to the Aer Lingus plane that was to carry him back to Dublin.

He signed 'Francis' on the jersey and exchanged some brief greetings with airport staff before continuing on his journey.

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Vatican flags bearing the Papal insignia are being flown around Mayo this weekend to coincide with the arrival of Pope Francis in Knock.

They are fluttering alongside the ever present green and red Mayo county flags that are commonplace in the football-mad county.

Mayo footballers last won the Senior All Ireland title in 1951 and despite several close finals in the decades since, have failed to jump the final hurdle to glory.

Local lore has it that the 1951 team was cursed after its victory, but some wags in the county are now claiming that the title famine must surely come to an end, given the Papal approval granted today.

Audrey Elliott with the signed Co Mayo jersey at Ireland West Airport in Knock