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New system looks truly Super away from confines of Croke Park

Mixing it: Dublin and Tyrone fans
Mixing it: Dublin and Tyrone fans
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Last Saturday night, the floodlights in Healy Park remained on long after the Lord Mayor's Show had finished.

Dublin's senior footballers had come to Healy Park and done their thing. Excellent, methodical - yes, somewhat predictable, but nonetheless admirable in their greatness.

Remaining on the pitch, sucking up the last bit of goodness of an incredible day, were Tyrone's die-hard fans. The ones that never miss a game and see a day at a Red Hands clash as the best possible way to spend their time.

One of them was bubbling with the excitement and talked 10 to the dozen of the scenes earlier on Main Street, a manufactured alleyway of Omagh that on a hot day, you could forget yourself and believe you were in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Around midday, Dublin fans located it and set up home. The street was choked with supporters and they went through their repertoire of songs, including 'Molly Malone' and the terrace favourite of 'C'mon you Boys in Blue'.

This is exactly the kind of effect the Super 8s was meant to have. The Dubs were welcomed, beginning with the banner strung across the A5 at Ballygawley roundabout proclaiming 'Gaelic Tyrone welcomes Gaelic Dublin'. The visitors provided a lovely mid-summer boost to the local economy.

The following day, Kerry finally got to taste what a Championship summer feels like in Clones.

Their fans mingled with the locals in the string of bars and fast food outlets all around the Square, and a game for the ages unfolded in St Tiernach's Park.

It was capped by one of the most phenomenal footballers of our time, Kieran Donaghy, executing an amazing tap down to the most phenomenal footballer of the present and future, David Clifford, to slot home a seemingly impossible shot and rescue the Kingdom once again.

This was all after a Galway and Kildare game that was simply end to end all day long.

In this day of hot takes, the scorn for football was clear for all to see after the first weekend of the new Super 8s system, which featured a drab series of tussles in Croke Park. The more doom-laden the better, it would seem for some.

There is no sport in the world that bellyaches and pronounces dead their own games as Gaelic football. Yet in one week, the outlook was flipped on its head - once Croke Park was taken out of the equation.

Belfast Telegraph


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