They haven’t gone away, you know. Mayo have heard all the protests before. That their best chance of an All-Ireland has passed. That they don’t have the legs any longer. That they don’t quite have the firepower. All the usual. And yes, they were relegated in the league. They were blitzed by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final last year in a 10-minute second-half blitz. They shrug it off and they get back on those fields out west. And then they turn up again.
"I thought the pressure we put on maybe after about five or six minutes of the first half, I thought our pressure, particularly up front, was very good," said James Horan.
“That gave us a platform for being able to keep pressure on them. We won a huge amount of turnovers in the first half and that was the platform for the victory really. It got us in the lead and we just saw it out from there.”
If Horan was alarmed by the sight of Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney, two of the sharpest shooters in the country, lining up for close-range shots at David Clarke' s goal in the opening minutes of the game, he disguised it.
“Yeah, that’s what goalies do,” he said.
Mayo could easily have coughed up big scores before they settled.
“They were very poor from our point of view, those high balls in, but even the goal they got was a terrible goal to give away from our point of view.
“So we’ll look at that for sure. Yeah, in the second half as well, the game was gone and maybe we got a little bit lackadaisical for a while and gave away a few goal chances.
“It’s hard to know what type of game, and it’s hard to know what Tipperary were going to bring. We saw them obviously in the Munster Championship, we very much focused on what we could bring and what we could do, and our strengths. We got a lot of those right today, kind of won us the game ultimately. But with that we’ve a huge amount defensively I think that we’ll have a look at, try tighten up a little bit, I’m pretty sure we can do that though.”
The potential for Dublin to go to town on such defensive openness will fill the air time for the next two weeks. That will suit Mayo fine. They surge back into an All-Ireland final dauntless as ever.
For Tipperary, the mission now is to ensure that 2020 does not become some kind of dream-time: that they can build on the brilliant Munster Championship campaign and on the vitality they displayed in the second half: 3-13 is no poor score in an All-Ireland semi-final. What now?
"I think it will be huge for Tipperary football in terms of the goodwill that has been out there, seeing all of the children in different schools wearing the Tipp jersey," said David Power.
“I think young people will want to start playing football for Tipperary. So I think that is going to be massive. As a group we can get stronger, we can improve. Already the players are setting their targets. Ultimately that is what it is all about. We need to improve because it would be an awful shame to go backwards.”
Their salute to the Tipperary team who played here 100 years ago was a poignant way to bow out of the championship. Throughout this campaign, Power succeeded in keeping the emotive pull of Tipp’s role in Bloody Sunday at bay. But it was a fitting closing act.
“That was a thing I spoke with the County Board, we only told the players during the week. We didn’t make a big deal out of it because again we just wanted to concentrate on the game.The players have been fantastic, I want to thank the GAA: it was great to have the 41 players there today for them. They have trained so hard over the last two months. The last six, seven weeks has been a great journey for Tipperary football. The big thing for Tipp football is we have a habit of going back, we need to go forward now.”