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Even In Defeat, One Mayo Man Won The Hearts Of Many Tonight

Even In Defeat, One Mayo Man Won The Hearts Of Many Tonight
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated

After all the furore surrounding the destination of this evening's third round qualifier, Kildare came out on top in Newbridge against a Mayo side that bows out of the Championship at an unusually early stage.

Although the commanding narrative of this surprise win will centre around Kildare and how they delivered a performance after demonstrating their determination during the week, for Mayo, all the talk has unquestionably been about one man; Diarmuid O'Connor.

In the unforgiving heat, O'Connor never once stopped. Against a Kildare side determined to put their early exit from the Leinster Championship at the hands of Carlow behind them, O'Connor was emblematic of all that Mayo needed to be.

Consistently said to have 'emptied the tank', O'Connor's efforts told late on. Still running as hard as he could to help Mayo find a way back into contention, O'Connor made one last surge up the field, winning a free in the dying embers of the game. Both his legs seized up with cramp but he didn't want to delay the game by receiving treatment. He made his way off the field to get treatment, except there was the slight issue of him not being able to stand up.

In what amounted to a crazy scene, with mind remained firmly on the task at hand - getting Mayo back into the game - O'Connor dragged himself with his arms, across the sideline.

Generating an incredible show of plaudits for one that ended up on the losing side tonight, Mayo fans will certainly have some positives to mull over before considering their assault on next year's Championship.

See Also: Incredible Scenes As Superb Kildare Dump Mayo Out Of The Championship

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