"The way Tipperary approached this game, I thought it was refreshing"
Tipperary died but at least they didn't die wondering.
Against Cork, Tipperary took their chances. Against Mayo, they didn't.
You can complicate it, confuse it, conclude it that maybe Tipperary aren't up to this level all you like, but if Michael Quinlivan had done what he usually does, and if Conor Sweeney had done what he usually does, then Tipperary would have been in this All-Ireland semi-final.
It really is as simple as that.
With an early goal or two setting them up, David Power's team could have settled into this game. They wouldn't have had to make as many kamikaze decisions coming out of defence because they wouldn't have been chasing their tail. Mayo would have had something to think about and it would have been game on
But at least Tipperary know. At least they know that they're able to create chances against the best teams and at least they know they had a cut at it.
"I have to say, the way Tipperary approached this game, I thought it was refreshing," said Colm Parkinson on Monday's GAA Hour.
"They could have had three goals inside the first ten minutes which is what any underdog wants to do. They went and attacked Mayo and the one thing I will say, based off both Tipp and Cavan's performances - Dublin will thank Tipperary. Thank them for asking questions of Mayo. Mayo won't thank Cavan one little bit."
"From a tactical perspective," added Cian Ward, "there's not much I would change about Tipperary's approach to the game. They created their chances early in the game and they just didn't take them. Quinlivan will still wonder how he missed that one. Sweeney's one was a little bit more difficult, but still, in an All-Ireland semi-final - you need to take them and you would have fancied him.
"They shot themselves in the foot. David Power was saying that they conceded 3-6 from first half turn-overs, I mean, that's why they lost the game. That's nothing to do with their tactical approach, it's the fundamentals of the game - taking it into contact and getting turned over. Having gotten such a body blow early on, kicking themselves about missed chances and those mistakes - for them to face that down at half-time with the massive deficit, knowing it was gone, and just to restore and to play with significant pride in the second half - I think they deserve credit for that...."
Conor Sweeney played a captain's role for the Tipperary footballers this year. pic.twitter.com/Oxv7Q1dkGt
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) December 7, 2020
There was a narrative out there that this was a gross mis-match and that Tipperary should have been hockeyed even more. But teams don't make All-Ireland semi-finals by chance, and lightning certainly doesn't strike twice in the space of five years.
"You couldn't fault their attacking game-plan, they scored 3-13 and should have had six more goals," added Parkinson.
"The three first half goal chances came from long diagonal balls. Even something as simple as Quinlivan getting the ball on the right and thinking, 'do you know what, I'll just lob this across 50:50 onto Conor Sweeney, taking the chance that he'll beat Chris Barrett in the air - given his aerial advantage. Even Tipp's set-up, they had Quinlivan and Sweeney inside - marked by Barrett and Keegan and they had Coleman Kennedy holding the 45. It's almost exactly what we discuss here on the show, from an attacking game-plan point of view - based on getting it in early to the two best players on the team..."
Defensively, it wasn't as pretty for Tipperary. David Power's side committed some errors that you just won't get away with at this level. But Mayo's brilliance played a role in that too.
"They just simply weren't allowed to work the ball out of defence because of Mayo's manic press," added Conan Doherty, "you call that an unforced error, but I'd say James Horan and the boys are calling that a forced error."
Tipperary are a good team. On their day, they are one of the best. On this day, they ran into Mayo and Cillian O'Connor at full steam - to date, Dublin are the only team who can beat that.
You can listen to Monday's GAA Hour with Colm Parkinson, Cian Ward and Conan Doherty.