OBSERVE the sons of Ulster floored on an afternoon of Croke Park tumult when Mayo, Fermanagh and football itself were the All Ireland quarter-final winners.

The widely-anticipated repeat of last year's All Ireland decider will not be taking place later this month. Rather than Tyrone doing battle with Armagh again, it is Fermanagh who'll be meeting Mayo in the first of the semifinals on 22 August.

On any other day, Mayo's ambush of the reigning champions would have demanded banner headlines. But not on the day that Fermanagh reached the All Ireland semifinal. Charlie Mulgrew's side, rank outsiders against Armagh, started slowly and conceded the first four points of the game in the opening six minutes before rallying strongly to lead by two ? 0-8 to 0-6 ? at the interval.

In a tight and tense second half, the 2002 All Ireland champions hit the front on three occasions. Three times Fermanagh pegged them back. The game was in the fourth and final minute of injury-time when Tom Brewster, a first-half substitute for Ciaran O'Reilly, kicked a historic winner. Cue green and white delirium.

After that, the evening's showpiece fixture could only have been an anticlimax. To their credit, Tyrone and Mayo produced an absorbing game, which Mayo led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break. A wonder goal by Stephen O'Neill brought the holders of Sam back into it, but John Maughan's charges, brighter and sharper throughout, kept their nerve to close out the match and record a deserved 0-16 to 1-9 success.

Outsiders with the bookies yesterday morning, they and Fermanagh are 70 minutes from an appearance at Croke Park in September. That's one of the reasons why the bookies are wealthier than the rest of us.