Northern Ireland news

Excitement building in Tyrone ahead of All-Ireland final

Bertilla McAliskey, mother of Tyrone player Connor McAliskey, 'lines out' in support of Tyrone
Áine Quinn

EXCITEMENT is building in Co Tyrone as the Red Hand army prepare for their first All-Ireland final in a decade.

Towns and villages across the county are now bedecked in red and white ahead of the eagerly-awaited clash with champions Dublin.

In Clonoe, Bertilla McAliskey, mother of senior star Connor McAliskey, hasn't been to Croke Park since Tyrone beat Armagh in 2003 but she will be returning on Sunday to see her son line out for the county team.

"Our family has always supported Tyrone, but it's a bit more special now Connor is part of it," she said.

"This is his first all-Ireland. I think he's more nervous than excited about it. But he always loved football, it has always driven him. If you play gaelic it's just your dream.

"I always tell them the football comes through my side of the family, I claim it anyway," she joked.

Vincent Daly in his taxi

Meanwile, Moy's devotion to Mickey Harte's men is clear to see as the village on the Armagh border has been transformed into a sea of red and white, with bunting and flags flying everywhere.

Vincent Daly, who owns The Ryandale Inn, has put his painted taxi on display in the town centre and said he is planning to travel to Croke Park in it at the weekend.

"The taxi was around in ’03, ’05 and ’08 so we took it back out again for this one. I’ll be taking her up to Dublin on Saturday, just in case she breaks down," he said.

"It’ll be a hard game to win, I think, but we’re hopeful."

Raymond Donaghey in the Tyrone Shop picture by Hugh Russell.

A retailer also said there is a "clear buzz" as people stock up on flags, bunting, t-shirts and scarves ahead of Sunday's game.

Raymond Donaghey and a business partner have set up a "one-stop shop" in Coalisland.

"The buzz that it creates is fantastic. We do it for the enjoyment and I'm a fan of Tyrone, obviously, as well."

He believes the shop, which was also open when Tyrone made it to the final in other years, is more popular now than it has ever been.

"Because it's been 10 years there are new faces as well as the old faces that are back again.

"I definitely think that it is ramping up much more than the likes of the two-year gap, with the '03 and the '05. I do believe it has been busier than other years as we go for the fourth Sam Maguire.

"From now on, you'll see car flags throughout the county and the momentum will build. It's always the last week when people get themselves organised."

Fans cheer for Tyrone ahead of Sunday's final

Moy has been transformed into a sea of red and white

The Moy Larder waitress Sophie Fox and owner Sheena Kelly get ready for the All-Ireland final

Moy has been transformed into a sea of red and white

Taxi for Sam in The Moy. Picture by Hugh Russell

Good Luck Uncle Connor banner in the Moy. Picture by Hugh Russell





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