Northern Ireland news

Tyrone GAA call to supporters to 'let your voices be heard' ahead of All-Ireland football final

Tyrone player Michael Conroy with pupils of St John's PS, Moy ahead of the All-Ireland football final. Picture by Hugh Russell

TYRONE GAA last night issued a rallying call to supporters to "let your voices be heard" as the county prepares to face Mayo in the All-Ireland senior football final.

The Tyrone exodus takes place today as fans travel to Dublin in the hope of seeing the Red Hand county lift the Sam Maguire Cup.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions meaning Croke Park can only be at 50 per cent capacity of 41,150, buses and countless cars will make the journey to proudly cheer on their county as the squad go in search of All Ireland football glory.

In a message to fans last night, Tyrone GAA said: "Our two leaders Brian (Dooher) and Feargal (Logan) march us into into Croke Park to face the men from the west.

"Tyrone Gaels from all parts of Ireland and further afield will converge in the capital and raise their voices high as they cheer on the O'Neill county.

"Let your voices be heard."

For weeks, the county colours have appeared in more and more abundance around towns and villages in Tyrone as supporters embraced the build-up to the final.

The Tyrone town of Strabane ready for Saturday's All Ireland Final with Tyrone playing Mayo at Croke Park. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

After securing their place in dramatic fashion with a semi-final win over Kerry, that quest for glory has intensified with flags and bunting festooned on lamp posts and posters adorning many shops and houses.

One sports shop in Dungannon has been the port of call for many fans wanting to stock up on Tyrone souvenirs, flags and kit. With just one day to go before the final, there were queues outside Begley Sports yesterday amid a demand for jerseys.

Co-owner Daragh Begley said at least 20 people were waiting to get into the shop from after 7am yesterday, two hours before it was due to open.

"We had just received a delivery of jerseys, so the demand has been high for them and we are completely sold out again," he said.

"There's also been big demand for anything with the county colours, from accessories to bunting and flags.

"Everything has been flying out.

"It has been a great lift to everybody, particularly after the last year, it has given everybody something to smile about.

"From Tyrone got through to the final two weeks ago, it's been crazy - but it's been great to see."

In Strabane, the All Ireland frenzy has also taken hold with the town's iconic 'Tinnies' sculpture adorned in a Tyrone kit.

The Tinnies sculpture in Strabane adorned with the Tyrone kit. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Numerous cars in the town have also been painted in the county colours with large banners erected, including one that states 'Bring home Sam number 4'.

The Tyrone town of Strabane ready for Saturday's All Ireland Final with Tyrone playing Mayo at Croke Park. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 9-9-2021.

Schools have also been getting in on the All Ireland fever with some pupils lucky enough to receive a visit from Tyrone players yesterday.

Red Hands captain Padraig Hampsey made a visit to Primate Dixon School in Coalisland, while in the Moy, pupils at St John's Primary School were buzzing with excitement when player Michael Conroy, whose sister attends the school, arrived.

Tyrone player Michael Conroy at St John's PS, Moy ahead of the All Ireland football final, pictured with his sister Sarah. Picture by Hugh Russell

Getting in some last minute football practice at Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland ahead of Tyrone's All-Ireland final in Dublin. Picture by Hugh Russell

Pupils at Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland. Picture by Hugh Russell

Like many other schools across the county, children in the Moy were allowed to ditch their uniforms for the day, with most turning up in red and white.The special 'Tyrone non-uniform day' was also an opportunity to visit 'Taxi for Maguire', a vehicle bearing the county colours which has been a centre of attention in the village.

Preparations ahead of the All Ireland football final. Picture by Hugh Russell

In a message to the team, the school said: "We wish the Tyrone panel the best of luck and every success on Saturday and extend our particular best wishes to Michael Conroy, who represents Moy GAA on the panel".

Principal Louise McKnight said the pupils had an unforgettable day and can't wait to see their heroes take to the field.

"The children had a ball - the excitement and the noise and the enthusiasm for Tyrone was just wonderful to see," she said.

Tyrone player Michael Conroy at St John's PS, Moy ahead of the All-Ireland football final. Picture by Hugh Russell.

"There is such a strong attachment with the local club and the previous All-Ireland winners from the school and a lot of the families will be travelling down today.

"The whole school really embraced the day and are so excited about the team reaching the final."

Come on Tyrone at St Patrick's PS, Dungannon. Picture by Hugh Russell

With hopes high that Tyrone can defeat Mayo and be crowned All-Ireland champions today, towns and villages across the county could be celebrating for days after the final whistle has blown.

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