TOTAL faith. Tyrone had it last year. Mayo had it yesterday.

"I said there beforehand that we would win the game today, " John Maughan declared afterwards. "Now that's not being cocky or arrogant, there are no guarantees in sport. But the self-belief was there in the team.

"I honestly felt we were a better team than Tyrone. I'm not being disrespectful to them in any way. They've been fantastic champions. But we were better than them today." Tyrone accepted their defeat with an equanimity to be expected of a team who know only too well that football may be important ? but not that important.

Mickey Harte has had few finer moments than he had when addressing the media after the final whistle yesterday.

"I think we met a hungrier side, a side who were well prepared and wanted to reach the semi-final. We just didn't have the energy there today to win the match." Referring to Tyrone's "traumatic" year, Harte admitted that losing yesterday was a "significant blow to us in sporting terms. But put in the context of what happened to us in March of this year, it pales into insignificance.

"That's not to say we didn't want to win the All Ireland again. Of course we did. But there are more important things in life, and we know that too well. Cormac McAnallen is the most important thing in our lives this year, and will be for a long time to come." Perhaps, Harte added, Tyrone can win another All Ireland at some stage in the future and honour McAnallen's memory by so doing.

Citing Mayo's energy, their regular bursts upfield and the way "they never seemed to be in doubt of themselves", Harte theorised that last week's outing against Laois had in hindsight not done Tyrone any good. "We didn't really get much of a testing that day. But you have to deal with these things, and we didn't deal well with them yesterday."