Penalty pain and big upsets - reflection time for teams dumped from football championship

Tyrone, Cork and Mayo suffered shock defeats to end their 2024 season.

MixCollage-24-Jun-2024-06-21-PM-2853 There was disappointment for Aidan O'Shea, Ian Maguire and Darragh Canavan at the weekend.


The expectation was that a home tie against a Derry side who had lost three of their championship games would give Mayo a strong claim for a place in the quarter-finals. But as Conor Doherty’s penalty slipped past Colm Reape to see Derry advance after extra-time, and a shootout, Mayo found themselves in the familiar House of Pain surroundings.

Manager Kevin McStay lamented his side’s woes with closing out games after the defeat in MacHale Park. Mayo were one point ahead on the hour mark when Reape missed a free which would have extended their advantage. Matthew Ruane saw his goal-bound shot saved shortly after although Ryan O’Donoghue did send the rebound over the bar. Sam Callinan also spurned a chance to put Mayo two points in front when his fisted effort tailed wide during the four minutes of added time. O’Donoghue converted a penalty in normal time but saw his effort saved in the shootout, along with Paul Towey.

Crucial wins against Dublin [Group game] and Galway [Connacht final] also eluded Mayo due to lack of composure in the closing minutes. Having just taken the lead against Dublin in Hyde Park with a 73rd minute free from Ryan O’Donoghue, they conceded a Cormac Costello equaliser which ensured Dublin earned a draw to progress directly to the quarter-finals as group winners. Against Galway, they gave away the last two scores of the game. The second of those was the result of Galway pressure on a Mayo kickout which allowed goalkeeper Conor Gleeson seal victory for the Tribesmen with a long range free.

McStay was correct with his diagnosis.


Roscommon at home in Healy Park certainly favoured a Tyrone win on paper. But the 2021 All-Ireland champions failed to make use of their home comforts and stumbled into a six-point deficit by half-time. A second-half revival brought them back to within one after Michael McKernan’s point, but Daire Cregg swung over the insurance score to deliver Roscommon’s first-ever championship win against the Red Hand county.

It was a surprising result given Roscommon’s relegation from Division 1 and uninspiring run of championship results [three losses, one win]. They squeezed into this tie after defeating Cavan to ensure their survival with their only win of the group phase.

Tyrone, by contrast, had just completed back-to-back championship wins [over Cavan and Cork] for the first time since 2021. But they were unable to build on that momentum as they relinquished opportunities with seven wides in the first half. And their second half fightback was insufficient in stopping Roscommon from picking up just their second win in 11 games.

Inconsistent form condemns them to an abrupt exit.

sam-mulroy-celebrates-scoring-a-free-to-put-his-side-into-the-lead-in-the-last-minute Sam Mulroy after scoring the winning free for Louth against Cork. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO


Cork were the ones to pick up the tab for the cost of Louth’s admittance to a first-ever All-Ireland quarter-final. Lateral, laboured, ponderous play seemed to be the blueprint of Cork’s gameplan, retaining possession for large periods without any product. They failed to score for 15 minutes in the first half, and 17 minutes in the second half. At one stage in the second half, they held the ball for almost four minutes before a speculative Colm O’Callaghan shot allowed Louth to regain control.

Their encouraging display against Kerry in the Munster semi-final, and stunning victory over Donegal in the All-Ireland group stage, seem like a distant memory at this point. The 3-9 they posted that day against a resurgent Donegal who had just captured the Ulster title was built on an attacking approach that harvested goals from Mattie Taylor, Seán Powter and Rory Maguire. There was no such incision in how they played against Louth which will haunt them when the review the opportunities they didn’t take.


Manager Vinny Corey has said today that he will take time to consider his future with Monaghan after a difficult season which sums up the grim reality of their year. After a decade spent in Division 1, Monaghan were relegated earlier this year while their time in the Ulster championship was short lived after conceding three goals against Cavan in the preliminary round. That outcome did not seem likely after opening their campaign with a win against Dublin in Croke Park.

They were overwhelmed by Kerry in their All-Ireland group opener but seemed to restore themselves with a second-half rally of five points to earn a draw against Louth. They followed that up with a three-point win over Meath to enjoy their first competitive triumph in almost five months. Along with the uncertainty around Corey’s plans, the future of star forward Conor McManus also remains unknown as Monaghan look to recover and regroup through the winter.

brian-cox-dejected-after-the-game A disappointed Brian Cox after Sligo's Tailteann Cup semi-final defeat to Down. Tom Maher / INPHO Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO


Sligo will look back on their 2024 season positively. They brought Galway to the verge of heart failure with a valiant display in the Connacht semi-final. Rob Finnerty’s goal late goal rescued Pádraic Joyce’s side from defeat.

They scored seven goals in the Tailteann Cup as they progressed from the group phase with two wins from two before crushing Limerick to book their place in the semi-finals. Down needed a penalty in extra-time to shake off the stiff challenge of Tony McEntee’s charges who lost Nathan Mullen to a red card.


Goals were the undoing of Antrim in their Tailteann Cup semi-final loss to Laois. But similar to Justin McNulty’s side, they also built up a hefty account of goals throughout the competition, lifting nine green flags on the way to the semi-final. They scored four of those goals in their opening round win over Tipperary.

It was their second year in-a-row to fall at the penultimate stage of the competition after losing out to last year’s eventual champions Meath, meaning they will be disappointed not to surpass that step this time around.

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