Darragh Ó Sé shadows Graham Canty in the Munster semi-final replay in 2009. It was a game in which Kerry failed to match Cork’s tempo – but they were to regain their momentum in the qualifiers. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Replays are all about the head. Kerry and Cork wouldn’t have been able to do a whole pile of innovation between the drawn game and this weekend. Wi(...)

Alan O’Connor put in a towering performance in the centre of the pitch  last Sunday and as the game wore on, his self-belief got stronger and stronger. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

It gets harder and harder to know who to believe. Never mind that: it gets harder and harder to be believed, full stop. In the run-up to the Munster f(...)

The easy thing to say watching Westmeath making that comeback against Meath would be that they had great team spirit. If team spirit was so important, where was it when they were getting beaten out the gate in the first half? Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

At the end of the Westmeath game on Sunday, fellas were hugging and crying and roaring together. You could see how much it meant to beat Meath – not j(...)

Rory Gallagher and Donegal have been getting the best out of Michael Murphy by playing him in the middle of the park. Photograph: Inpho

We can talk about systems all we like but football is about players. The whole point of any system is to make the players you have more effective and (...)

Galway’s Michael Lundy and Mayo’s Lee Keegan wrestle before the ball is thrown in. “The distance between club and county is light years. You never realise it until it happens to you.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

There comes a point in every player’s life when you realise that you aren’t just the superstar you thought you were. It isn’t that you don’t have the (...)

Galway’s Greg Higgins and Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea: Mayo beat Galway by 17 points two years ago, but the gap has been narrowing. Photograph: Inpho

For the first time in a long time, I think Mayo really need to win the Connacht championship. In each of the last few years, they arrived at this week(...)

Being congratulated by Páidí Ó Sé after the 2002 All-Ireland semi-final. When Páidí managed Kerry, he knew exactly what to do to me. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

We talk a lot about managers in football. We look at Eamonn Fitzmaurice bringing an All-Ireland to Kerry when nobody expected one and wonder how he di(...)

Monaghan’s Karl O’Connell, seen here battling for possession with James McEnroe, showed a brilliant burst of power and pace to break through the Cavan defence and score a point. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

So that’s it, I suppose? No more sledging. All sorted. The Cavan v Monaghan game on Sunday passed by without any incident. Nothing on camera, no compl(...)

Tempers flare between Donegal and Tyrone players during Sunday’s intense Ulster Championship match. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

In Ventry last weekend, they had a big crowd down to unveil a statue of P Ó Sé himself. A rake of his old teammates were there, plenty of locals, p(...)

Kerry’s Aidan O’Mahony clashes with Donegal’s Michael Murphy during last Sunday’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

First things first. Our man up the tree. I’ve been talking to everyone I can about it and we’ve all reached a theory that we’re happy enough with. We (...)