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All Ireland Finals are where you want to be as a county player or manager and I am sure all concerned will really enjoy the next week as they put plans in place preparing for the most important game of the season. With last Saturday’s result meaning a Ladies All Ireland Final place I began to think of the great opportunity we had missed to make this season truly memorable. Sadly from the men’s point of view it is very much a case of “if only” as far as this year’s chase for The All Ireland Title is concerned. I had tipped Tyrone to win Sam at the start of the year and in spite of some poor displays during the league, I was still confident that we would be making arrangements for staying in Dublin and be part of the celebrations around the All Ireland Senior Football Final.
Indeed following their hugely convincing provincial win over Monaghan I was even more confident that Brian Dooher would be lifting Sam for the third time on the nineteenth of this month.
However the wheels came off the wagon big time against Dublin and we returned from the capital bemused by the display and disappointed by the defeat. It was a match we could have and possibly should have won. There will be plenty of questions and discussion points surrounding the defeat and the manner of it but I was convinced that if we could get past Dublin we would certainly beat Cork.
Watching the subsequent semi final I saw nothing that would have made me change my mind. Dublin were the better team on the day and were most unlucky to lose to a Cork side that does not seem to have improved since last year at all. The Rebels have gotten through to a final without playing any real quality football and if they continue in that vein on Sunday I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive win for Down. Much and all as I hate saying this, Down look much the better side will be favourites to lift the title and for me that will make watching this weekend’s senior final even more difficult.
Had we been lucky enough to make it to Sunday’s showpiece it would have been a novel pairing for the final and having these two Ulster Counties in Croke Park on Sunday would have drawn a massive crowd and brought huge colour and sense of expectancy to the occasion.
Sadly lady luck failed to smile on us and we see something of a reversal of what happened in 08 when we lost to Down in Newry but managed to come back and win The All Ireland. The Mourne County now have the chance to emulate what Tyrone did in that historic year.
Fortunately with our minors still involved we will have more than a passing interest in Sunday’s events. Of course now that the Ladies are through to their final as well, we could well have been in line for creating even more history and the possibility of a unique treble. Well we can dream, but it might be quite a while until we get the chance to do a double again never mind a treble.