Owen Mulligan details his battles with Francie Bellew

Mulligan vs Bellew. A match up that defined the rivalry Armagh and Tyrone shared during the early noughties.

Speaking on the GAA Social Podcast, Mulligan detailed what it was like to mark the Crossmaglen defender in the 2003 All-Ireland final.

“The whole Francie Bellew thing, I got involved with him and I shouldn’t have got involved. I knew to myself ‘I’m going to keep out of this man’s road and keep on the move’ and I didn’t.

“I got involved in the first half in a complete battle of grabbing each other, pulling each other, nipping each other and I just lost all control of the game.

“I didn’t feature hardly in the game, I won a couple of free kicks off him, but he got the better of me in that final. I’m not afraid to say that.

“He played me. I remember Peter (Canavan) coming into the dressing room saying ‘what are you doing, what are you doing? You’re focusing on him instead of the team.’ He was right.

Owen Mulligan v Francie Bellew

2005 semi-final

While Bellew got the better of Mulligan, the Cookstown attacker felt he got his own back two years later.

“He did a job on me in the (2003) final, he was class in the final. It wasn’t jersey, it was skin. When the ball’s there he’ll take the ball. He’ll take absolutely everything along with it as well and I was on the other end of that.

“But in 2005 in the semi-final, at that early age I didn’t really watch videos back. But I studied the 2003 final and I studied other games he was marking men in.

“So, I knew in 2005, I never stopped running. I never stopped running, even when the ball was up (at the other end), I just kept going back and forward and keeping on the move. I’d say I did okay that day.”