Red Hand rule

Tyrone crowned All-Ireland champions with key second-half goals taking them past Mayo

The Ulster winners finished with five points to spare in Croke Park.

Tyrone 2-14

Mayo 0-15 

THE TEAM THAT looked on the verge of withdrawing from the championship four weeks ago, have been crowned the best football side in the land as the 2021 season draws to a close.

aidan-oshea-competes-in-the-air-with-brian-kennedy Aidan O'Shea competes in the air with Brian Kennedy. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Tyrone’s fourth Sam Maguire triumph, their first since 2008, has arrived after a remarkable revival this summer. They were too clinical and ruthless in this decider for Mayo, second-half goals from Cathal McShane and Darren McCury proving critical in swinging the game their way.

It was another harrowing final experience for Mayo, all the more so due to the bunch of goal opportunities that they failed to convert, Ryan O’Donoghue seeing his second-half penalty brush against the upright before going wide, at a juncture when they trailed 0-10 to 0-8.

padraig-hamspey-lifts-the-sam-maguire-cup Padraig Hampsey lifts the Sam Maguire. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Robbie Hennelly banged over a free shortly after in the 44th minute to cut the gap to one, a Kevin McLoughlin score in the 57th minute left them two adrift. Mayo were within touching distance during that second half but could not get close enough to land a telling blow on Tyrone.

In contrast the Ulster champions pounced for goals when it mattered most. They responded to that Hennelly point with Cathal McShane, fresh on the pitch, punching a perfectly-judged delivery from Conor Meyler to the net.

Then after that McLoughlin score, they registered their second goal. Conor McKenna cut through the rearguard and played a fist pass across for Darren McCurry to palm to the net. They were 2-10 to 0-11 clear in the 58th minute, a commanding position that this Tyrone team were in no mood to relinquish and that was the advantage they held on the scoreboard when Joe McQuillan blew the final whistle.

Mayo’s woes were compounded when Matthew Ruane was shown a red card late on. They pounded the Tyrone defence in the last quarter yet the goal they craved never arrived and they had spurned too many chances earlier in the match.

Tyrone edged the first-half exchanges, creating a 0-10 to 0-8 advantage by the interval. That was founded on the back of their second quarter control, the teams tied at 0-5 apiece by the 21st minute before the Ulster champions outscored Mayo by 0-5 to 0-3 for the remainder of the half.

Darren McCurry was a thorn in the side of the Mayo rearguard, picking off 0-3 and causing problems with his sharp movement. They also registered points from play that were from the top drawer – Pádraig Hampsey, Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden and Kieran McGeary all splitting the posts in style into the Davin End.

Mayo were left to rue a glaring lack of poise in front of goal. They had three clearcut chances in the first half to hit the net. Bryan Walsh was thwarted by Niall Morgan in the 15th minute, Conor Loftus saw his rebound effort diverted on the line by Sludden and then in the 26th minute Aidan O’Shea was prevented from netting by a diving lunge from Ronan McNamee.

They were thankful at the other end though for Hennelly sticking out his boot to deny McCurry from adding a goal to his scoring collection. Ryan O’Donoghue’s free-taking was impressive early on as he weighed in with 0-5.

tyrone-celebrate-with-the-trophy Tyrone players celebrate with the trophy.

Mayo needed an injection of hope early in the second half but saw a Tommy Conroy shot for goal flash wide and then O’Donoghue’s penalty brought no reward. Tyrone didn’t score with regularity in the second half but the timing of their goals were critical.

Despite the outstanding Lee Keegan trying hard to rouse Mayo, there were points for Tyrone from Peter Harte, Darragh Canavan, McCurry and Niall Morgan in the finale as they stayed in the ascendancy.

A remarkable All-Ireland triumph for Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan’s men, but more final misery for James Horan’s charges.

aidan-oshea-dejected-after-the-game A dejected Aidan O'Shea after the game. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry 1-4 (0-2f), Cathal McShane 1-0, Niall Morgan 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Niall Sludden 0-2, Pádraig Hampsey, Peter Harte (0-1 mark), Kieran McGeary, Mattie Donnelly, Darragh Canavan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Mayo: Ryan O’Donoghue 0-8 (0-7f), Tommy Conroy 0-2, Robbie Hennelly (0-1f), Lee Keegan, Patrick Durcan, Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin 0-1 each.


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Michael McKernan (Coalisland), 3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran), 4. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland – captain).

6. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán), 7. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy), 5. Frank Burns (Pomeroy)

8. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan), 9. Conn Kilpatrick (Edendork)

12. Niall Sludden (Dromore), 11. Michael O’Neill (Ardboe), 10. Conor Meyler (Omagh)

13. Darren McCurry (Edendork), 14. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick), 15. Conor McKenna (Eglish).


24. Cathal McShane (Eoghan Roe O’Neills) for Donnelly (44)

18. Darragh Canavan (Errigal Ciarán) for O’Neill (53)

22. Ben McDonnell (Errigal Ciarán) for Kennedy (56)

19. Paul Donaghy (Dungannon) for McKenna (66)

21. Tiarnan McCann (Killyclogher) for Kilpatrick (73)


1. Rob Hennelly (Breaffy)

2. Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), 6. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), 3. Lee Keegan (Westport)

5. Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), 19. Oisín Mullen (Kilmaine), 4. Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber)

8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), 10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)

12. Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber), 13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), 9. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina)

15. Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet), 11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy – captain), 14. Tommy Conroy (The Neale)


7. Enda Hession (Garrymore) for Plunkett (half-time)

21. Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina) for O’Hora (52)

24. Darren Coen (Hollymount-Carramore) for Walsh (58)

25. Aidan Orme (Knockmore) for Loftus (65)

26. James Carr (Ardagh) for McLoughlin (74) 

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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