McGarrity says the tackle was 'too much'

Mayo v Dublin: Gavin Cummiskey talks to the Mayo midfielder about the injury he received in Sunday's clash with Dublin

Mayo v Dublin: Gavin Cummiskey talks to the Mayo midfielder about the injury he received in Sunday's clash with Dublin

Ronan McGarrity was on the verge of producing the dream performance of his short career as a top-level Gaelic footballer. Next thing he was actually dreaming. Out cold in fact. In the early exchanges of Sunday's All-Ireland football semi-final against Dublin the Ballina point guard was lording it over Ciarán Whelan in an epic midfield duel.

Fielding ball for fun before laying it off as a tide of Mayo players descended on the Canal End - 0-5 to 0-1. 19 minutes on the clock. McGarrity was the primary source of possession. When he scampered cross field, two yards ahead of Whelan, for yet another clean take the arrival back to earth coincided with a desperately late hit from the Dublin midfielder. Right on the jaw. Paddy Russell flashed a yellow card.

McGarrity eventually got to his feet but by the half-hour mark the effects of concussion had taken hold. In the dressingroom at half-time he protested he had returned to full health but Dr Fergal Ruane overruled him.


"I saw the incident later that night on television. The tackle was a bit too much for this game. It rang the bell in my head all right. I was very disappointed with him (Whelan).

"He has had a stormer of a season and I love playing against a player rated so highly in the game. You want to test yourself against the likes of Ciarán Whelan and Darragh Ó Sé. To come up against these players is a dream.

"The real shame is the game was still young when I had to come off so I cannot judge how I fared.

"Barry Moran and David Brady dampened Whelan's spirit when they came on. He didn't have one of his best games. But those two were immense."

Restricted to a seat in the Hogan Stand, McGarrity watched Dublin re-emerge for the second half and post an unanswered 1-4 that included one of the goals of the championship. We waited for the usual Mayo collapse.

"I thought we had blown it early in the second half but there's a character in this team. But yeah, watching, I really thought we were gone.

"But we've been in situations like that since 2004 and lost. We've learned from that. The defeats were the Mayo of old. This team has been to an All-Ireland final so we know when you find yourself in those sort of situations to just keep on playing.

"This team has experienced every high and low. This is our second All-Ireland in three years. To say we are inexperienced is a load of crap. We will be ready for the extra trappings that come in the weeks leading up to the final. We will be able to concentrate more on the football side of things."

The mild concussion will clear up this week and soon he'll be back training.

Like Kerry's latest sensation Kieran Donaghy, McGarrity brings that infectious enthusiasm that comes so naturally to basketball players.

The two crossed paths once before, during the Superleague last season when Ballina played the Tralee Tigers. How can Mayo stop Donaghy repeating the devastation already experienced by Longford, Francie Bellew and Derek Kavanagh?

"David Heaney is an All Star full back. He just hasn't got the nod yet. He is a tough competitor so from a spectator's point of view it will be a great battle." There is also the option of letting the two basketballers go one on one. Just a thought.