The sight of a forlorn looking Conor Gormley standing alone in Croke Park as the stadium emptied following Dublin’s win over Tyrone brought back memories of something similar last year. At the end of that particular game it was the sight of a devastated Philip Jordan seemingly taking one last look around that caught the eye. I wondered at the time would that be the last we would see of the Moy wing back. He had decided to retire but was persuaded to come back and give it one more go this year. Unfortunately for Philip and his colleagues this year proved well and truly to be a bridge too far as they were caught in the eye of what appeared to be a perfect Dublin storm.
Conor Gormley, as usual, played the shirt off his back and battled for everything right to the final whistle. It is just what we have come to expect of the Carrickmore man and rarely has he ever let Tyrone down. He gave and took some heavy knocks during the game and as the match wore on had a few tough encounters with several Dublin forwards.
This was not the first time Tyrone have suffered defeat at Croke Park but the manner of this particular defeat will not only hurt for a very long time but will cause much soul searching among the players and management team. There is sure to be much discussion about the future and who may or may not be involved with the county football team next year. Already across various internet forums and in newspapers, TV and radio there has been much written and spoken about what direction the county squad will take after this defeat. Many “shortcomings” will be pointed out and debated but it is amazing how insightful people are after the event.
People should not forget that these lads, such as Conor Gormley are amateur sportsmen who live among us and they do what they do for the love of it and the honour of representing their county. One bad result or poor performance does not make this team or these players poor footballers. They are the same lads who performed so well in the second half against Roscommon or for seventy minutes against Armagh. They deserve a bit more respect and to have whatever decision they make regarding their footballing future respected by one and all.