With 12 teams left in the running for the Sam Maguire Cup, we take stock after what was an absorbing weekend of gaelic football action.
Top teams flex muscle
Tyrone and Dublin were expected to cruise through their provincial finals, and while they both won with somewhat comfort by the looks of the scoreboard, neither had it all their own way for large parts of the day.
However, they were forced to dig deep as they march on to an All-Ireland quarter-final.
Both found an extra gear as they turn their attention to a crack at the All-Ireland.
It was a good day for the GAA’s bank accounts. As 66,666 and WW filed into Croke Park and St Tiernach’s Park, Clones respectively.
Add in vibrant atmospheres in Carlow and Thurles yesterday, and interest in the 2017 Championship is as high as ever.
Hope for Kildare
Cian O’Neill’s side were being talked up following their comprehensive win over Meath, and rightly so. However, stopping this Dublin team in a Leinster final was always going to be a big ask.
Today was by no means a bad result for Kildare football as a whole, as they look to build a team that can topple the Dubs in the coming years.
However, they have a more immediate agenda, and that is to rebuild and reach an All-Ireland quarter-final, as they face Monaghan or Armagh in the qualifiers.
Con O’Callaghan comes of age
The Cuala forward has had a remarkable 2017 to date, helping the Dalkey club to an All-Ireland hurling title on St Patrick’s Day, as well as leading the Dublin u-21 footballers to victory.
Winning the confidence of Jim Gavin, O’Callaghan looked dangerous against Carlow and Westmeath, but today gave a statement performance.
0-12, with six points coming from play, is a stunning contribution.
Down to face familiar opposition
Down beat Armagh and Monaghan to reach an Ulster final which nobody expected them to be a part of. Despite a strong showing in the first half, they were overcome after the break.
However, it will be a sesne of deja vu for the Mourne men, as they must face the Farney or the Orchard once again in the qualifiers.
All will be revealed on Monday morning’s draw.