This one seemed to hurt the most.
Mayo have had their fair share of finals over the years, since the turn of the millennium they’ve played in:
- 2004 vs Kerry
- 2006 vs Kerry
- 2012 vs Donegal
- 2013 vs Dublin
- 2016 vs Dublin
- 2017 vs Dublin
They all hurt but walking through Drumcondra there was an eerie silence as Mayo fans exited the stadium, what more could they do?
Last year it was two own goals and a missed free, this year there was nothing Mayo could do.
The hurt on the players was evident, they’d been criticised the whole year after a string of poor performances but all the doubters went hiding after emphatic wins over Roscommon and Kerry, maybe they’d do it in the unlikeliest of years.
It wasn’t to be, it never seems to be the year that destiny will come knocking.
In the aftermath of the All-Ireland final, SportsJOE published a piece about Aidan O’Shea having his priorities in order after the final, anyone that follows the Mayo star in Instagram will know exactly why.
O’Shea filled his social media that night with pictures and videos of him and his daughter, the defeat hurt but he was clearly delighted to have his daughter along with him for the journey.
Football is important, it has all the highs and lows that you want but in the end, it is just a game and being able to have your family with you on such a big occasion even if the result isn’t exactly what you wanted.
O’Shea has suffered his fair share of heartbreak he has been involved in plenty of final defeats dating back to 2012 but one man that has been through it all, literally, is Andy Moran.
Moran has been involved in the Mayo set up for years, he played back in the 2004 final against Kerry so this was yet another chink in the armour for the Ballaghaderreen man. They don’t get any easier.
But for the 33-year-old, he like Aidan O’Shea has his priorities in order after yet another devastating loss and sees this bigger picture:
“I’ve a little girl at home so it kind of takes your mind off of it fairly quick ,” Moran told Colm Parkinson on the GAA Hour.
He’s been down this road before but with the help of the Mayo fans the loss hasn’t quite been as tough of a pill to swallow:
“We came home to the homecoming on the Monday we did the gig on Sunday after the match, they’re usually very tough gigs but the Mayo fans have just been unreal, to be honest with you, like more so than any other year.
“Definitely more so that any other year, they made it quite easy.”
And being the elder statesman on the team, Moran knows exactly what the younger lads are going through:
“When I was 25, I remember the feeling from when I was younger I couldn’t get over it for weeks, you’d just keep going until the club scene is over and then you’d probably get into it again and be depressed for another couple of weeks.”
Despite all of this, you can only imagine what it meant to Moran to carry his daughter on the Croke Park pitch after the match.
Even after suffering and at hands of Dublin he gets to provide his daughter with, yet another, priceless memory as they walk around the pitch of the biggest stadium in Ireland on its biggest day. And, even in loss, that’s what it is all about.
You can listen to the full interview below starting from 23’50