Families beckoned them over to the edge of the stand for photos to remember this day for ever, tears of joy were being wiped from eyes as the Mayo players tried to take in what had just happened on the field of battle.
Kenney Feeney was the man who really came through good for Mayo on the scoreboard when they needed it down the stretch and he was a little lost for words telling us, “I can’t believe it, it hasn’t sunk in yet, we were three points down for most of the second half and I don’t know, its brilliant it makes it all worthwhile.
“I said we’d finish the game strong, I knew it if we were turned in no one would beat us and we finished well, we dropped in the middle a bit, but we’re champions and we don’t care.”
When the game was in the melting pot, Feeney took a bit hit out on the Cusack Stand side of the field tight enough to the sideline and out past the 65m line, but after getting a bit of treatment he nailed the resulting free for a point. Looking back on that moment, he said “My back is still killing me, I don’t care. I’ve all year to rest it now, but no, we’ve got another big test coming up again next weekend and we’ve got to get ready for that and we will. I know we wanted to win this and it was our number one aim, but we need to win next week to get back to where we belong and that’s it.”
The man who made the speech on the top of the steps in the Hogan Stand, Mayo captain Brian Hunt was just ecstatic when when spoke on the the field after the game, “Sensational, that’s the things you dream of when you’re younger walking up the steps of Hogan Stand. I didn’t think I’d be the first Ballyhaunis man to do it, I thought Keith might have gotten there before me but it’s the way it happend, It’s serious, I just don’t know how to put it into words.”
The never say die spirit in this team is something that Hunt is particularly proud of. “This teams has shown serious character this year, from Tyrone the first day, down at half time, a man down, but fought back to win the game convincingly, no different today, we knew if we got going at all we’d put them away. Kenny got the goal and it all ticked on from there. Sean Regan massive work rate up and down the wing in the second half and they are all just a credit to themselves and their families.”
There is one more name to cross of Hunt’s list though and that’ll come around next weekend. “Derry next weekend, straight focus now on that, that’s the game we’ve targeted all year, we want to be back up in Christy Ring, we don’t want to be here next year, we want to be back there today taking on the Meath’s and the Antrim’s.”