O'Hora and Keegan hammer into each other, both of them only revelling in it
Like ducks and the rain, Lee Keegan thrives in the rough and tumble.
The same could be said for his Mayo team-mate Padraig O'Hora so it's hardly any surprise then that, with one smiling and the other a study of focus and intensity, both men absolutely loved it when they collided during Saturday's Mayo SFC semi-final. Game recognises game and as he came back for a second bite at the Westport man, you only needed to see the steely determination in his eyes to realise that this is what O'Hora plays for. Keegan wheeled away like he was proud of the young bull, like a man who'd seen shades of himself in his plucky challenger.
Both of them took the hit then stayed going and with the crowd roaring, it was clear for all to see that in a windswept and rain-soaked Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan, that these were the type of men you needed. Both teams had plenty of them but on the face of it, the Stephenites were best suited to the dog-eat-dog elements. Spearheaded by their spiritual leader O'Hora, they roared into a 1-5 to 0-5 lead at the break which on paper, had them well-placed to pull off a shock result.
Their dominance extended into the second half too but having lost games like these in recent years, Westport's somehow managed to overturn a two-point deficit in injury time to win by one. Fionn McDonagh and Colm Moran were the match-winners for their side, who now march onto the county semi-finals. On the same note, it will have been a stomach-turner for Ballina to lose but that only underlined the sportsmanship on show when O'Hora stood around to shake hands with and embrace his Westport rivals after the game.
Chief among them was Keegan, who he'd gone toe-to-toe with over the previous hour.
Lee Keegan and Padraig O'Hora couldn't help but share a smile as they collide 👊😂 pic.twitter.com/DjXUGq33xE
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) October 23, 2021
Clip: RTE Sport.
That's the spirit we want our games to be played in and with his blend of ferocity and honour, Keegan is one of the game's great ambassadors. It was only a couple of months ago when in similar circumstances, he crossed paths with John Small only for sportsmanship to win out in the end.
"Do you remember John Small kept going and Lee Keegan came across and burst him with a shoulder onto the ground? Then Keegan landed on top of him, there was a little bit of wrestling but then the two of them just stood up, looked at each other and started laughing," commented Colm Parkinson at the time.