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How the stats prove it's very hard for a Division 2 side to win the All-Ireland

Dessie Farrell

Dessie Farrell

Sean McGoldrick

Tyrone, the defending All-Ireland champions, are fourth in the betting market at 9/1 in the 2022 title race, which begins in 34 days’ time when they face Fermanagh in the Ulster championship.

Dublin, meanwhile, who haven’t won a competitive game since the 2021 Leinster final on August 1 are second favourites at 3/1.

So, as far as the bookies are concerned, it is still advantage Dublin when it comes to the competition that matters this year.

The market, of course, takes the long view, not to mention the amount of money wagered on the respective counties.

This afternoon at Healy Park more mundane issues will occupy Dublin and Tyrone. For the visitors the need is greater – if they lose their fifth league tie on the spin, Division 2 beckons.

Having set numerous record on their way to winning an unprecedented six All-Irelands in a row, Dublin appear destined to set nearly as many unwanted records on the descent.

When losing to Kildare in round 4 they equalled their worst ever run of successive league losses in a season, which had stood since 1972-1973 – when they lost to Offaly, Galway, Longford and Cork.

Historically, this was not their worst league run: they lost five on the spin spread over the 1931-1932 and 1932-33 seasons.

Two other statistics will preoccupy the fans as the journey to Omagh. The Tyrone fans will take solace from the fact that in the last 20 years only one county – Donegal in 2013 – has been relegated as All-Ireland champions.

But a more sombre statistic is that it’s more than a quarter of a century since any relegated team went on to win that year’s All-Ireland final.

Dublin achieved that feat in 1995, when they fashioned a controversial win over Tyrone.

Though Dublin and Tyrone didn’t meet for the first time until the 1975 league semi-final and only clashed four times before their 1995 All-Ireland final showdown, today’s game marks their 35th encounter in league and championship.

Dublin boast 18 wins; Tyrone have 13, with three drawn encounters.

But there is a major disparity in terms of league and championship. Whereas Tyrone have only won two of their 11 championship encounters against the Dubs; they have 11 league wins, compared to ten for Dublin.

Games between the counties are rarely dull. Today we reflect on five of the more memorable encounters.

1995 All-Ireland final

Dublin 1-10 Tyrone 0-12

Having lost two finals and a semi-final in the previous three years, an ageing Dublin team were in last chance saloon territory against the Ulster champions.

Charlie Redmond scored what proved the winning goal before being sent off – it took a second intervention from referee Paddy Russell before he actually left. Tyrone had an equalising point disallowed after Peter Canavan, who scored 0-10, was penalised for picking the ball off the ground in the build-up.

2005 All-Ireland

Quarter-final Replay

Tyrone 2-18 Dublin 1-14

Slightly fortunate to earn a draw first day out after Ciarán Whelan dominated the skies in the first half, Tyrone ran the show in the replay, with Owen Mulligan scoring 1-5 from play. Tyrone had come through the back door, but this win propelled them on to their second All-Ireland title in three years.

2006 NFL

Dublin 1-9 Tyrone 1-6

Mickey Harte acknowledged afterwards that Paddy Russell who had contemplated abandoning the game faced an impossible task. “If he had been God Almighty he couldn’t have refereed that game,” said Harte.

Dublin’s Alan Brogan and Denis Bastick were sent off along with Tyrone’s Colin Holmes and Stephen O’Neill. Seven others were banned followed an investigation, but all the suspensions were quashed on appeal. The fiasco forced the GAA to reform its disciplinary procedures.

2010 All-Ireland Q- final

Dublin 1-15 Tyrone 0-13

A watershed moment in the development of Pat Gilroy’s side. They had beaten Tyrone in the league a few month earlier – a result which sent Tyrone into Division 2. The loss brought the curtain down on the Tyrone squad which had won three All-Ireland titles, while Dublin would go on to win eight All-Irelands between 2011 and 2020.

2018 All-Ireland Final

Dublin 2-17 Tyrone 1-14

Dublin chalked up their fourth All-Ireland. A penalty goal from Paul Mannion transformed Dublin’s fortunes, and they led 2-7 to 0-6 at the break.

A second-half penalty from Peter Harte suggested a comeback, but the contest just petered out.

It was to be Mickey Harte’s last appearance as boss of Tyrone in an All-Ireland decider.


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