A minute's silence will be observed at all GAA games today, including the Allianz National Football League matches, as a mark of respect for Pope John Paul II, who died yesterday.

Flags will also be flown at half mast.

GAA presdient Seán Kelly said that the Pope was "a unique man, a giant of the 20th Century, who has left an indelible legacy for the good of mankind."

Kelly added that the Pope's visit to Ireland in 1979 "began a special relationship with the Irish people and he will forever have a unique place in their hearts."

Meanwhile, Italian Formula One world champions Ferrari will mourn the passing of the Pope by putting special markings on their car in the Bahrain Grand Prix today.

The team had an audience with the Pope before the start of this season which was attended by both drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, team boss Jean Todt and president Luca di Montezemolo.

And, as a mark of respect, both of the scarlet Ferrari cars will carry a symbol of mourning on their nose cones when they compete in this afternoon's race in the Middle East. 

German driver Schumacher, who has been with Ferrari since 1996 and feels a special connection with Italy because of his long service, admitted the feeling within the team is one of sadness. 

"The atmosphere in the team is very strange to all of us and obviously Germans, Italians, they feel very connected to the Pope, as many other countries do," said Schumacher. 

"You can't really explain the words in terms of emotions and feelings that are going on around the team, particularly as we had the visit with the Pope earlier this year and, yes, it is very sad for us." 

It is understood that, for the first time in many years, the race will not be shown live in motorsport-mad Italy with all television channels focusing on mourning the passing of the Pope.

All sport in Italy has, as is traditional after the death of a Pope, been cancelled this weekend.