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Gormley rises above the ugly fisticuffs

By Declan Bogue

Coming off the pitch at half-time against Monaghan, Tyrone's Conor Gormley and Martin Penrose became involved in a dispute with Dessie Mone that was captured by the television cameras.

Gormley appeared to shove Mone before Penrose delivered a mindless and blatant punch under the gaze of the matchday officials. When referee Cormac Reilly emerged for the second half, he issued a straight red card to Penrose, with many agreeing that Gormley was lucky to remain on the field.

When asked about the incident afterwards, Red Hands manager Mickey Harte responded: "It's a worry that there is so much focus on the little things that happen in a game. I would like to think that if you really forensically examine the whole game you might find other things that would be of the same nature as you are speaking about, so I wish you would talk about the good game that we had and stop delving into this negativity."

Gormley's performance was typical of Tyrone's overall display. With a significant share of their key men playing just below average, they still managed to find a way to win.

With the team bus inching away, looking to exit the tunnels underneath Croke Park after the game, Gormley kept them waiting as he articulated the level of belief that courses through this Tyrone team.

"We were confident enough in our own ability. We have some good young players and some experience too. We're confident in this team no matter who we're playing."

When told of the now-famous reaction of Joe Brolly to Sean Cavanagh's desperate hauling down of Conor McManus, Gormley injected some levity into proceedings, smirking as he asked: "Who is? Who are you talking about? Ah, it doesn't matter to us. Those people up there are getting paid for saying that stuff, we're not worrying about that. We're worried about our own circle and it doesn't worry us."

Moving on to the otherwise almost flawless performance by the Moy midfielder, Gormley's admiration shone through.

"Big Sean really stepped up. He is a mighty, mighty man. He's been criticised unfairly down through the years but he has stepped up these last two weeks and showed the player he is.

"He is absolutely amazing I think."

Without him, Tyrone wouldn't be in an All-Ireland semi-final. Perhaps because of him, the team came off the pitch to the soundtrack of loud booing.

"We'll not worry about that," was Gormley's assessment. "We're sitting in an All-Ireland semi-final (for the first time in four years) and that's the place to be."

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