When we found ourselves in a bit of a hole at half-time in yesterday’s game, we had several people to thank for their efforts in digging us out. Off the field, of course, James Horan had a major part to play in the team’s second half transformation.
Out on the field after the break we had prominent performers all over the place. Robbie’s restarts fizzed and zinged, Swanny put in a performance that catapulted him to fans’ favourite status, Oisín oozed class and confidence, Paddy drove us onwards, Kevin Mc pulled the strings like a puppet master, Conor quietly did what he does so well, Tommy was reborn, Aidan spread panic in their backline and Ryan was trickery and bravery combined.
Primus inter pares, though, was midfield maestro Mattie Ruane. Back in 2019 when he first burst on the scene it was evident that this lad is a special talent but injury stalled his progress for a time then. Last year saw him back and growing in influence all the while but this year he’s stepped it up several notches. Cora Staunton wasn’t exaggerating at all when she declared yesterday that the Breaffy man is developing into one of the best midfielders in the game right now.
He won the Man of the Match award on RTÉ, he’s on the shortlist for the GAA’s Footballer of the Week (but so too is Shane Walsh – I know these shortlists can make no sense at times but that one just takes the biscuit) and he’s on their Team of the Week as well. And, of course, he’s also won the vote on here for MOTM, polling 31% of the vote.
All those name-checked above also attracted strong support in the vote, in particular Padraig O’Hora (19%), Oisín Mullin (15%), Ryan O’Donoghue (12%) and Kevin McLoughlin (6%). Well done to them all, as well as to all the other lads, who all played their role in yesterday’s Croke Park victory.