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Mayo GAA legend dies

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Mayo GAA legend dies


Seán Rice

THE death has taken place of former Mayo and Ballina Stephenites star Tom Acton. A talented forward, he won county senior medals with Ballina in the 1940s, and commenced his county career as half-back on the minor team of 1940.
They reached the All-Ireland final that year but were beaten by Louth after losing three members of their team, including Seán Flanagan, who were refused permission to play by the college authorities where they were clerical students.
Tom made his senior debut for the county in 1943, scoring a goal in his first outing in the Connacht championship, a match which Mayo lost to Galway.
The Ballina man retained his county place throughout the 1940s, and in the renaissance of Mayo football in 1948, Tom scored two goals in the All-Ireland final which Mayo lost by a point controversially to Cavan.
In the league semi-final of 1949, Tom’s great positional sense earned him a goal and two points against Wexford and he was on the mark again in the final with another goal, against Louth.
Perhaps because of injury, he did not figure on the championship side of 1949. He was, however, at corner forward on the championship team of 1950 when Mayo beat Roscommon in the final.
That was his last appearance for Mayo, for while the county went on to win All-Irelands in the following two years, Tom’s career had come to an end.
He will be remembered as a player who contributed hugely to the progress of the Mayo team in those years when they confronted the apathy of the County Board and went on to win two All-Ireland titles in a row, the likes of which has not been emulated 62 years later.
Tom, of Marian Crescent, Ballina, died peacefully at St Augustine’s Nursing Home, Ballina. Reposing at McGowan’s Funeral Home, Ballina this evening (Tuesday) from 5pm with removal at 6.30pm to St Muredach’s Cathedral, Ballina. Mass tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 11am with the funeral proceeding to Leigue Cemetery.
Peace to his gentle soul.

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