McManamons provide Mayo's twin engine
Mayo twins Ciara and Clodagh McManamon both played massive parts in the county's victory over Donegal a fortnight ago, but on the bus home there was a massive shock in store as their next opponents were unveiled.
Cavan's win over Armagh in the opening game of Group 1 looked to have sealed their progress to the last eight, but watching TG4's live stream on their mobile phones, the Mayo girls were stunned to see Cork turned over by Armagh, which sent the Orchard County through instead.
Mayo and Armagh meet today at 1pm at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford, as part one of a double-header that features Galway and Waterford on the same bill.
The two winners will meet in the TG4 All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park on August 25, and no doubt the Mayo squad will be tuned in again on the way home to see if there's another shock.
"None of us could believe what was happening," said Clodagh. "But they are a brilliant team. They have the Mackin sisters, Caroline O'Hanlon, we know they are a great team. When Cavan beat them, in our heads we thought we would surely have Cavan. But we have Armagh and it's going to be a tough one."
Although the McManamons are identical twins, there will always be a small distance between them. The 15 minutes that separated their arrival 27 years ago means Clodagh is the younger of the two.
The Burrishoole natives have never been away from some sort of ball game. Both sisters represented Ireland on the racquetball courts, while Clodagh later had a particular interest in handball which saw her take a year away from football to play at the 2015 World Championships in Canada.
Positioned in the No 6 and No 8 jerseys for Mayo, the McManamons continue to have each other's backs, but this year is turning into a very special one for the duo.
"We have played together since day one so we are used to each other at this stage," said Clodagh, who is usually stationed at midfield.
"It is great to have someone else there from the same house. Going to training together and all that. She understands what I am going through. It is someone there to talk to as well."
The McManamons will be central to Mayo's chances of reaching the final four for the first time since 2017.
"It's going to be a good game. The two teams are going in off two great wins.
"They are after beating Cork which are one of the two top teams in the country. They will probably be favourites.
"We will just have to see what happens," she added.