"We did what Tyrone teams do" - Mattie Donnelly hails Tyrone's 'defiance' after powerful win
Tyrone 1-15 Kerry 2-9
Darragh Canavan caught a ball in front of Paul Murphy, was pulled down for a free and he knew it, Paul Murphy knew it, everyone knew it, that was the final nail in the Kerry coffin.
Canavan's shirt was ripped from a dust-up that had broke out a few minutes earlier. But as he punched the sky and shouted into the Omagh air, the only thing you could make out was that he didn't care.
When everything calmed down, if only for a second, he handed the ball over to his younger brother Ruairi who, from 35 yards, and for the second time since coming on as a sub, slotted the ball straight over the bar.
The final whistle was blown just seconds later and that was the moment Healy Park erupted.
Tyrone haven't been themselves in recent weeks, they've been sleepy and listless and that's why, coming into this game, they were at the very foot of the Division One table.
This win was a huge because it showed that they haven't gone away yet. But it was also huge in the sense that they're no longer at the foot of the Division One table, and they're no longer in the relegation zone.
The brilliant Mattie Donnelly was named TG4 man-of-the-match at the end of the game, deservedly so, and with a defiance in his voice, he summed up the sentiments that will be floating around the Red Hand in the aftermath of this one.
“We just stuck at it, we dug in and we worked for each other!” 👌👊
Is é Mattie Donnelly Laoch na hImeartha inniu! 🥳🥳
Comhghairdeas leis 👏@TyroneGAALive @GAA_BEO @AllianzIreland
#AllianzLeagues | #GAABEO | #GAA
BEO/LIVE ar @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/wsFDgHcU2y
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) March 5, 2023
"We did what Tyrone teams do," said Donnelly matter-of-factly.
"In the last 18 months, when things were going against us, we probably showed a lack of defiance. That's not what Tyrone teams are built on or are about. That's not what makes Tyrone teams. We restored pride in the Tyrone jersey today.
"In the last few weeks, we unravelled when we conceded a goal and let it get on top of us. But today we stuck at it," he added.
Donnelly was man-of-the-match but he was ably supported by Darragh Canavan, who scored two divine points, including this beauty below. In many ways Frank Burns was the man that epitomised this performance with his gutsy block from a David Clifford pile-driver that, otherwise, was only heading for one place.
Divine is the only word. Go on and take a bow Darragh Canavan 🙇♂️pic.twitter.com/zsG8XM5Ukh
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) March 5, 2023
Hampsey, too, had a brilliant game - Clifford couldn't get away from him - and he hailed his team's determination afterwards.
"Going into the game, our backs were against the wall.
"It's been fine margins in the last couple of games, but we worked harder as a team and as a unit today."
Tyrone - they're still here.