Tyrone manager Mickey Harte wore a wry smile after his side beat Kerry by 14 points to 13 to completely turn the early season projections on the Red Hands.
The game was switched from Omagh to the Edendork club in Dungannon yesterday morning and, despite the best efforts of Storm Ciara, went off without a hitch with the much-heralded return to action of Cathal McShane, who seemed bound for a career in Australian Rules Football just last week.
Darren McCurry took the limelight on his home pitch with six points, but Harte was clear in his delight that the GAA managed to hold onto one of its brightest stars in McShane.
"I don't want to get into political rows with another football organisation but enough to say that I like players playing Gaelic football and there is no payback for us from the AFL," said Harte.
"It's a win-win for them if they get Gaelic players.
"I don't know why we would create a warm market for that drain.
"I have always said if people choose to go that is their own prerogative but we should not be in cahoots with an organisation that loves our players."
Harte paid tribute to the business community in Tyrone that helped convince McShane that his future lay in working in the county and playing Gaelic football.
“Unless there are good people there who offer an alternative to people who have got an offer out there to a professional sport, that’s what’s going to happen, we’re going to lose our players,” he explained.
“But that said, we in the GAA as a whole should be guarding our players to keep them for the public here because that is what we want to see, to see our top Gaelic football athletes playing Gaelic football.
“The biggest problem, as I have said before, is that scouts don’t come from Australia and act anonymous anymore. They are actually people who have a GAA background.”
Tyrone had a poor outing in the league last weekend against Monaghan and were looking vulnerable ahead of the visit of Kerry. Harte said he was delighted with the response of the players.
“You do expect that but you don’t always get what you expect in life,” he said. “We could have expected that, we could have told ourselves that we would go out and do that and maybe not be able to achieve it.
“The fact that they followed through on what they went and asked themselves this week at training and asked of this game today, that’s always very comforting to know that that kind of determination and steel is there among a group of players. It is only a one off, it doesn’t tell you that you are going to be great across a season.
“It tells you that you can be great on any given day.”
Kerry manager Peter Keane was rather phlegmatic in his response to defeat.
“Three points out of a possible six and we have two of the long journeys out of the way. That’s a big factor, being on the road and having to travel,” he said.
“I’ve said all the time that we are a young team and that we will make mistakes and we have to tidy them up as we go along.
“The league is for learning and we take it one game at a time. That’s something I’m saying every day but that is the truth of it.”