Padraig Hampsey should take heart from exploits

The autumnal All-Star bash in Dublin provides a bittersweet return to the capital for beaten All-Ireland finalists.

Padraig Hampsey should take heart from exploits

By Francis Mooney

The autumnal All-Star bash in Dublin provides a bittersweet return to the capital for beaten All-Ireland finalists.

It will be scant consolation for the Tyrone players who get the nod from those who have studied and analysed their performances since February, but a massive honour nonetheless.

The 2018 selection is likely to dominated by members of the all-conquering Dublin machine, but it will be a huge surprise if they are not joined by Padraig Hampsey, one of the outstanding personalities of this season’s championship.

The Coalisland man earned a nomination last year, and his displays this summer have outshone all that he achieved in that campaign.

But awards are far from Hampsey’s mind this week as he continued to reflect with regret on an All-Ireland final that didn’t go to plan.

He is, however, happy to chisel out the positives from a six-point defeat to the Dubs, and views it as an experience that will be of massive benefit to a young team with vast potential and untold ambition.

“It’s a great starting point for next season, we showed great heart and belief, never gave up, and this is one to build on for next season,” he said.

With youth on their side, the Red Hands’ mission remains the same and continues on track, and a seamless transition to the 2009 season, with no defections from management or playing resources, should be achievable.

“Collie (Cavanagh) is the only man who had played in a final, back in ’08, so we’ll use this experience and we’ll bounce back, and we’ll give next year a good rattle as well.”

Dublin’s fourth All-Ireland title in a row confirmed their place in history last Sunday, and Hampsey is in full agreement with the general consensus about their quality.

“They’re definitely one of the best teams that ever played the game, they are pure class, they’re up there with the best.”

Hampsey, who has operated in defence and at midfield this season, also executing vital man-marking briefs with distinction, felt victory was within Tyrone’s grasp when they raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead in their first All-Ireland final appearance in ten years.

“It was a great start, but I thought the penalty was a tough decision. Moments like that brought them back into the game.

“But we battled hard to the end and never gave up, which is a deadly thing for the lads, they never do give up or throw in the towel.”

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