Tyrone won their first Anglo-Celt Cup since 2003 with a hard-fought 1-15 to 1-13 victory over Monaghan in Clones, however, this was a different type of day in Ulster on Sunday or more specifically Monaghan, writes RTÉ'S Marty Morrissey.
First of all, the sun shone through the clouds which was the first shock to any man, woman or child.
Was this a sign perhaps that the summer was back in Ireland or was it an indication that the gods were favouring the home side?
Maybe we discovered the former was true but definitely not the latter.
The first Ulster Final in Clones since 2003 drew a capacity attendance of 33,823 to St Tiernach’s Park and all were thoroughly entertained.
Monaghan hadn’t reached an Ulster Final in 19 years and all over the county blue flags and buntings could be seen.
Would they pull off the shock of the year? Not today at least.
In the sixth minute Philip Jordan, the Tyrone number seven went on a penetrating, incisive run combining with Davy Harte and Ger Cavlan en route in a beautiful one–two-three to be there at the end to touch the ball into the Monaghan net.
It took Monaghan a further 15 minutes to recover but showing a great hunger and self belief they only trailed at half time by 1-08 to 0-07.
Monaghan moved Vincent Corey from full-back to full forward in a dramatic move at half-time primarily because he was already on a yellow card and a tick from the referee.
It seemed daft at the time but it worked as he provided a perfect target for the long ball strategy.
However, just like the first half Tyrone started brilliantly and dominated in the crucial areas of centre-field and half-back.
Conor Gormley was masterful at full-back despite being named at centre-half.
Sean Cavanagh was equally impressive in midfield and his scores off both left and right foot were just some of the memories that will linger from this final.
At one stage, Tyrone led by seven points but then Monaghan, displaying unbelievable spirit and skill, fought back to within three points after Vincery Corey caught a long, high ball in the square and laid it off to Thomas Freeman to crash home a great goal.
It set up an exciting finish, with Monaghan laying siege to the Tyrone goal. One fantastic sweeping Monaghan move should have ended with a Corey goal only to be denied by a brilliant save by Tyrone goalkeeper John Devine.
Within three minutes, Tyrone had crashed the ball off the Monaghan crossbar so in terms of chances created and not taken it was even enough.
At the end of 73 minutes played, Tyrone had won their 11th Ulster Title on a score line of Tyrone 1-15 to Monaghan’s 1-13.
This was a really enjoyable game of football and while Tyrone took the Anglo-Celt Cup home, the people of Monaghan can be rightly proud of their players who gave it everything and almost pulled it off against one of the country’s best squad of footballers.
Nobody will want Monaghan in the Qualifiers.
Nobody will want Tyrone in the quarter-finals either because these boys that Mickey Harte has put together can play quality football.
Make no mistake about it, Tyrone are real contenders for Sam especially when you consider that Brian McGuigan, Stephen O’Neill and Enda McGinley have been unable to contribute much due to injury.
By the way, depending on the draw, don’t rule out Monaghan having a say in the All-Ireland Championship.
They might not win it but whoever gets them will realise that Seamus Mc Enaney is putting together a squad of footballers that have no fear, see no danger and believe their time is coming fast along the winning tracks.
Al least now I can honestly say I told you so.
TYRONE: J Devine; R McMenamin, C Gourley, D Carlin (0-01); D Harte (0-01), C Gormley, P Jordan (1-00); J McMahon, S Cavanagh (0-04); B Dooher (capt), R Mulgrew, G Cavlan (0-01); C McCullagh (0-05, 0-04f), K Hughes, O Mulligan (0-03, 0-2f).
Subs used: S O'Neill for Cavlan, Justin McMahon for Harte, E McGinley for Mulgrew, M Penrose for McCullagh, D McCaul for Carlin.
MONAGHAN: S Duffy; D Mone, V Corey (0-01), D McArdle; D Morgan, G McQuaid, D Freeman (capt); E Lennon, JP Mone; D Clerkin (0-01), P Finlay (0-05, 0-04f), S Gollogly (0-01); C Hanratty (0-01), R Woods (0-01), T Freeman (1-03, 0-01f).
Subs used: C McManus for Hanratty, C Flanagan for Morgan, P Meegan for Gollogly, S Smith for JP Mone.
Referee: Derek Fahy (Longford)