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Tyrone will not end Mayo's Sam Maguire dream: Moran

By John Campbell

Nine years ago Mayo captain Andy Moran cut a forlorn figure in the tunnel area of Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan as he waited to congratulate Armagh skipper Ciaran McKeever following his team's victory in the All-Ireland U21 Final between the counties.

On that occasion, Moran predicted that Armagh would go on to even better things which they duly did by winning four Ulster titles between 2004 and 2008.

But for Moran himself there has only been heartbreak with Mayo in an All-Ireland context, his frustration compounded by a serious injury sustained in last year's final defeat to Donegal.

Now, having regained full fitness, Moran is preparing to face another Ulster county in a much different environment and on a journey to a much bigger prize.

"Tyrone are a very strong team who will always stick in there particularly when they play at Croke Park. When Monaghan went ahead in the quarter-final on Saturday, Tyrone were led by Sean Cavanagh and Joe McMahon in pulling through," says Moran.

"The big thing with them now is that they have young players coming through and that's something we will have to watch."

Mayo are renowned for their meticulous preparations for championship games although Moran plays down the notion that they will be burning the midnight oil prior to confronting Mickey Harte's side on August 25.

"We prepare for every championship match in the same manner – it does not matter whether it is London or Tyrone we are meeting. We will be starting our homework from now and hopefully we will be coming back in three weeks to put on a performance," adds Moran.

His team's total demolition of Donegal has shortened the odds on the possibility of the Sam Maguire Cup returning to Mayo for the first time since 1951 but his familiarity with heartbreak ensures Moran remains grounded.

"While we had hoped to put on a performance like the one against Donegal, you never quite expect this to happen. As things turned out everything went our way.

"Movement off the ball by players like Keith Higgins, Alan Dillon and others created a lot of space for our inside forwards," points out the Mayo skipper.

"We like to attack from most places and while it was heartening to see this come off against Donegal, Tyrone will be very aware of this.

"Don't forget that Donegal caught us out with two sucker punches at the start of last year's All-Ireland final and now we have managed to do that to them. But you cannot take anything for granted going forward."

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