Kevin McStay: Regret of missing out on All-Ireland glory can linger for a lifetime

Beaten semi-finalists Mayo and Tyrone know they must start from the bottom of the hill again

A dejected Conor Meyler following Tyrone’s defeat by Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

A dejected Conor Meyler following Tyrone’s defeat by Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

It’s hard to overstate the crashing low that the losers of All-Ireland football semi-finals go through each year. For those who lose those games, the Sunday evening through to the Wednesday morning leave a regret that can stay with you for good.

That’s not to be melodramatic: it doesn’t ruin your life or anything. But it follows you. Semi-finals are peculiar in that they leave two losing sides and both Tyrone and Mayo will have shared this hollow feeling through the early days of last week. It remains true that there is nothing worse than losing an All-Ireland final but the dull ache of a semi-final is significant as well.

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