Thursday 22 August 2019

Relentless Dubs march on as fans enjoy 'mini holiday' beyond M50

Big day: Brian O’Reilly, Thomas O’Reilly (6), Tom Byrne, Sam O’Reilly (7) and Paddy O’Reilly from Kilbarrack and Coolock. PHOTOS: STEVE HUMPHREYS
Big day: Brian O’Reilly, Thomas O’Reilly (6), Tom Byrne, Sam O’Reilly (7) and Paddy O’Reilly from Kilbarrack and Coolock. PHOTOS: STEVE HUMPHREYS
Noel and MIchelle McDonald from Summerhill, Dublin. PHOTOS: STEVE HUMPHREYS
Kieran McKillion with daughter Siobhan Kinsella and her daughter Mairead Hill from Dublin and Tyrone. PHOTOS: STEVE HUMPHREYS

Laura Lynott in Omagh

The all-conquering Dubs have marched onwards in their relentless drive for five after comfortably dispatching Tyrone on the Ulster men's home turf.

It means the renewal of that old rivalry between Dublin and Mayo as the two face off yet again in the All-Ireland semi-final this Saturday in Croke Park.

The Blue Army travelled in their droves to Healy Park in Omagh, putting to bed the notion they are loath to travel beyond the M50.

There were to be no upsets and the Dubs dutifully delivered a six-point win in a match that was seldom nail-biting.

As some wags pointed out on Twitter, this was the "coma in Omagh".

However it was notable for the return of Diarmuid Connolly. Fans were delighted to see Connolly back and he played well in this, his first Championship match in two years after a hiatus in Boston.

Siobhán Kinsella (28), donned her blue jersey despite her daughter Máiread (4), and her father Kieran McKillion (62), both wearing Tyrone colours.

"I was born in Finglas," she explained. "So despite being brought up in Northern Ireland - we live in Dungannon, Co Tyrone - I am still and always will be a die hard Dublin fan. My allegiances will always be to Dublin.

"My mum, Margaret, was from Finglas too and she was a massive Dublin fan - the team were everything to her.

"She passed away 16 years ago and I came to live in Northern Ireland but I made sure to carry on supporting the team.

"Dublin are a really important part of my life. And it's great to be here today, to see them win in Tyrone. Next stop, the All-Ireland final."

Despite the county divides within the family, Mr McKillion said they never row and any GAA talk is "only a bit of banter". "We are one big GAA family," he said.

Meanwhile Sam O'Reilly (7) - named after the Sam Maguire Cup - was thrilled with his first ever away Championship game which he attended with his brother Thomas (6), father Paddy Maguire from Kilbarrack, and uncle Tom Byrne.

"This was such an important game, especially for Sam due to his name and the fact neither of the boys have been away to Championship games before," said Mr Maguire.

"It's been a really exciting day for the boys. And next we're looking forward to winning the All-Ireland.

"What a time to be a Dublin fan and to be a child and see how good the team is," he added.

Noel McDonald and his girlfriend Michelle Moran travelled up by coach with other Dublin fans and the couple not only enjoyed the result of the game but the atmosphere in Omagh.

Mr McDonald, from Summerhill, said: "It's great to have Diarmuid Connolly back. And Dublin are playing just amazing.

"Tyrone were never going to be a match and this game was really just a preparation for the All-Ireland.

"We've had a great day. Other fans think Dublin fans don't want to travel, that we just want to watch games in Croke Park but today everyone can see that isn't true at all.

"Dublin fans love travelling to other parts of the country. We want to travel more. This has been a fantastic day out.

"The atmosphere has been amazing and everyone has been so friendly. It's been like a mini holiday."

Irish Independent

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