Kevin McStay: Did Kerry expect Tyrone to line up as they had in Killarney?

It is not fair to be pointing the finger at Tyrone at their lack of transparency

Tyrone’s Conor Meyler, Padraig Hamspey, Ronan McNamee and Michael McKernan tackle Adrian Spillane of Kerry - It appeared as if Kerry hadn’t considered the advent of a blanket defence. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tyrone’s Conor Meyler, Padraig Hamspey, Ronan McNamee and Michael McKernan tackle Adrian Spillane of Kerry - It appeared as if Kerry hadn’t considered the advent of a blanket defence. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Just like that, all has changed. As I watched the scenes in Croke Park at the final whistle on Saturday - Tyrone ecstasy, Kerry dazed - I thought back to the way both counties shuffled off the stage last winter. I was there when both Tyrone and Kerry made their exits from the All-Ireland in 2020: cold, dark and very dreary days at opposite ends of Ireland. Every town shuttered.

Tyrone’s leaving remains sharp in my memory. To begin with, I got absolutely soaked to the skin in Ballybofey. And it was cold rain. There was a river running through the player’s tunnel. Everyone was freezing. The place was empty and echoing and the world felt strange as Donegal held Tyrone at bay in an edgy, truly Ulster game.

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