The best off-beat stories in the world of sport are the ones you can’t make up, and this is one of them.
On Sunday afternoon the Mayo footballer Conor Mortimer scored a crucial goal in his team’s Connacht football final win over Galway in Salthill.
To celebrate his goal, the 26-year-old Mortimer unveiled a t-shirt in honor of the late Michael Jackson. The slogan on the front of his under-garment read “RIP Michael Jackson” while the player had the legend “MJ Mort” inscribed into his boots.
Naturally Mortimer’s unorthodox tribute to Whacko Jacko garnered quite an amount of media attention, and even prompted more than one journalist in Monday’s papers to question if he fell foul of the GAA’s strict rules on playing kit, bringing the association into disrepute and such matters.
Thankfully common sense has prevailed here. Asked about the matter the new GAA PRO Alan Milton, a former journalist of some note with the Sun newspaper, poured scorn on the suggestion and rightly so.
“The GAA is an apolitical organization. It isn’t a Michael Jackson organization,” answered young Milton when pressed on the subject.
Mortimer himself seemed quite proud of his unexpected show of solidarity with Jackson fans everywhere. “It was a bit of craic alright but at the same time, Michael Jackson was a legend,” he said.
“The whole country just stopped when news came through of his death and it showed how much people thought of him. The t-shirt was about showing respect as well.
“I’m not working at the moment so I have been watching the whole thing on television, almost around the clock. I have followed it on the news, on Twitter and so on.
“I wouldn’t be one of his biggest fans in the world but growing up you would always have heard his music. He was one of the greats of the music industry.”
Doubtless Mayo fans will be looking for Mortimer to prove himself something of a Thriller again when their team next takes to the field in the All-Ireland quarterfinals! Sorry but it had to be said…