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Tributes to man who introduced famous 'John 3:7' sign into GAA

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Frank Hogan was perhaps the most photographed GAA supporter. Photo: Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

Frank Hogan was perhaps the most photographed GAA supporter. Photo: Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

Frank Hogan was perhaps the most photographed GAA supporter. Photo: Damien Eagers/Sportsfile

Tributes are pouring in for Ireland's most famous GAA supporter, Frank Hogan, who has died following an illness.

A sports ground evangelist who spread his gospel message from the terraces, Mr Hogan was often seen gripping his trusted big yellow sign simply reading 'John 3:7'.

Mr Hogan, a born-again Christian and the subject of a TG4 documentary, was perhaps the most photographed GAA supporter.

Come hail, rain, or shine, the Tipperary man and his sign were a familiar target of sports photojournalists.

Mr Hogan spread a message of hope and forgiveness, said friend Gerry Nugent.

Abuse

Some ridiculed him, but most held him in high esteem.

"He would have got terrible abuse at the start because people didn't know what he was, but when people got to know him, they saw he was an incredible person and a man of powerful faith," said Mr Nugent.

"People called him 'John' because of the sign. He was an institution.

"He went to All-Ireland finals with no ticket and never failed to get in," he added.

Mr Hogan and his wife Myrna had separated, and following this he "had a divine encounter, when his life was changed completely on reading a verse from the Bible".

"When Derry won the All-Ireland back in the 90s, he went up to Derry for the homecoming celebrations and he slept in his car.

"He used to have his dinner in my house and many other houses in Thurles. He was an absolute institution," said Mr Nugent.

"I spoke to the man managing Thurles stadium, David Morgan, and Morgan said he stopped Frank one day and said to him, 'If you have any problem getting into Semple Stadium you tell them to ring me'."

And on social media fans from across the country shared their memories of the man they knew as 'John 3:7'.

Although his roots were in Borrisokane, Co Tipperary, he was regarded as a staunch Limerick hurling supporter having moved to Shannonside as a child, and later working as a tailor.

Whenever a sliothar sailed between the posts, or a net was rattled, Hogan's Bible sign, like a moving statue, stood out from the crowd who came to worship their sporting gods.