Reception Padraig Hampsey received at Tyrone's post-match banquet was a fitting tribute
A popular choice.
Tyrone went to the well at Croke Park but it was not to be.
0-5 to 0-1 up against Dublin, a four-minute implosion saw them fall 0-5 to 1-3 behind and you could see them deflate; to wilt. They had come out of the red corner swinging haymakers and connecting with a fair spate of them. The Boys in Blue rode the storm and answered with a torrent of their own.
Amid it all, several Tyrone players continued to rage on. Cathal McShane missed a couple of pops at the posts but he kept going; kept putting his hand up. Colm Cavanagh caused trouble, and won a penalty, after going up front for the final 20 minutes. Peter Harte was non-stop. Mark Bradley went out on his shield.
And then there was Padraig Hampsey. At 24, Hampsey is already battle-hardened and a leader within Mickey Harte's team.
Tasked with marking the electric Paul Mannion, the Coalisland native kept him quiet for long spells and restricted him to a sole point from play. In return, he chipped in with a point of his own and was a driving force throughout. We gave Mannion our man of the match award, but that is in large part to his winning, and scoring, a penalty and chasing back to prevent a Rory Brennan goal.
Hampsey was one of only two Tyrone players named in both the SportsJOE and Sunday Game teams of the year and he finished his championship summer in the form of his life.
Having witnessed his performance in the semi-final win over Monaghan, from Hill 16, our Conan Doherty wrote:
"Hampsey was strong and quick, he was smart and disciplined and, wearing number nine on his back, he gave a masterclass of a full back performance.
"He's starred in midfield, he's kept Michael Murphy under wraps and, in Croke Park, he wrestled with the beast to take Tyrone to a first All-Ireland final in a decade."
Hampsey and Mannion bothy gave it their all and both could leave the pitch with their head held high. It was a pleasure to see them going at it, full tilt.
There was a small, yet significant, consolation for Hampsey at Tyrone's post-match banquet when he was named the team's man of the match. The accolade was decided upon by Peter Canavan, Fergal Logan and Enda McGinley, with Canavan doing the presentation.
"It might not mean much at the minute," Canavan said, "but in the years to come, the fact that you were awarded man of the match for your county in an All-Ireland final... I'm sure this man will think something of it, as will everybody here.
"The man of the match - and he's had to endure a very hard week - is Padraig Hampsey."
The room rose as one to salute the defender for his game, championship and years' endeavour.
The standing ovation is a measure of his regard within the county and by his peers.
Our expert panel - Peter Canavan, Enda McGinley and Fergal Logan - has named Padraig Hampsey as the Tyrone Man of the Match. pic.twitter.com/np3uoBAL3I
— Tyrone GAA (@TyroneGAALive) September 2, 2018
Not the way he wanted his evening to end but, as Canavan says, you hope he looks back with pride on his performance in years to come.