PIC: This one photo is the reason why we absolutely adore the magic of the GAA
Fast forward a few years...
The photo below is from 13 years ago. Alan Dillon had just broken onto the Mayo team and was a star in their 2004 campaign where they threw reigning champions, Tyrone out at the Quarter-Final stage.
Mayo came across Kerry in the finals and were beaten convincingly. Although they came out of that game battered and bruised, there were a few young players that were impressing not only Mayo fans but GAA fans alike.
One of those was Alan Dillon.
Dillon would go on to win two All Stars playing with Mayo but despite an illustrious thirteen-year career, he has yet to get his hands on the silverware he desires the most.
Taken in 2004, the photo shows a fresh faced Alan Dillon with his arm on the back of an even fresher faced young Ballintubber player.
That player is Diarmuid O'Connor...
— Helen O Shea (@Helenos77) September 14, 2016
Little did Dillon know at the time but not only would he end up playing alongside DOC at club level, he would also be by his side at county level too.
In fact, DOC now wears the coveted number 12 shirt that Dillon wore throughout most of his career and in particular the 2006 and 2012 seasons when he brought two special player awards back to the west of Mayo.
That's what we love about the GAA. Even the littlest thing like a photo at a club awards or a club outing might mean nothing at the time but fast forward ten years and that 4ft nothing kid could end up being the next big county star.
It's one thing to get a photo standing beside your idol, it's another game of ball entirely when you're able to line out beside that person a decade later.
It could have been the photo that spurred DOC on that extra bit, to tell himself 'I want to play beside him, I want to take his place.'
But hey, at the time, it was just a photo.