All for the love of the club: five memorable football finals
15 March 2017
A brilliant banner from the Caltra fans for the 2004 All-Ireland club final against An Ghaeltacht.
The All-Ireland Club SFC holds a special place in the hearts and minds of gaelic football fans throughout the country and, as the countdown to this Friday's clash of Dr Crokes versus Slaughtneil continues to gather pace, we take a look back at some Andy Merrigan Cup final highlights from down through the years...
1989/90 – Baltinglass (Wicklow) v Clann na nGael (Roscommon)
Baltinglass of Wicklow didn't suffer from an inferiority complex when they squared up to the mighty Clann na nGael of Roscommon 27 years ago. Rated as one of the biggest shocks in the club competition's history, the Kevin O'Brien inspired side prevailed on a scoreline of 2-7 to 0-7. O'Brien, who would be honoured with All-Star recognition later that year, helped to create the two decisive first-half goals which were scored by Con Murphy.
2000/01 – Crossmolina Deel Rovers (Mayo) v Nemo Rangers (Cork)
All-Ireland football finals traditionally don't end well for Mayo teams but Crossmolina was an exception to the rule when they defeated Nemo Rangers. With Ciaran McDonald hitting seven points and current Mayo manager Stephen Rochford lining out at right corner-back, the Deel Rovers enjoyed a 0-16 to 1-12 win. The Cork men gained revenge two years later when the sides renewed acquaintances in the Andy Merrigan Cup decider.
2003/04 - Caltra (Galway) v An Ghaeltacht (Kerry)
When news of Michael Meehan's decision to come out of inter-county retirement broke recently there were plenty of reports recalling his six point exploits against An Ghaeltact 13 years ago. Along with his brothers Declan and Noel, the then 19-year-old put one over another great gaelic football dynasty – the Ó Sés of Kerry. In front of 38,500 spectators, the Galway champions scraped home by 0-13 to 0-12.
2009/10 – St Gall's (Antrim) v Salthill-Knochnacarra (Galway)
There was certainly a novel feel to the St Patrick's Day showpiece seven years ago. St Gall's had lost out to Salthill-Knocknacarra in 2006 but went one step further when edging Clare's finest, Kilmurry-Ibrickane by 0-13 to 1-5. It won't be remembered as one of the best club football finals entertainment wise but it was a fairytale come through for the west Belfast club who had current Donegal manager Rory Gallagher (left corner-forward) in their starting 15.
2012/13 – St Brigid's (Roscommon) v Ballymun Kikchams (Dublin)
Unlike the aforementioned final, the clash of St Brigid's and Ballymun four years ago will go down as one of the best. Boosted by goals from Dublin duo Dean Rock and Philly McMahon, the Paul Curran managed Ballymun raced into an eight lead after just 10 minutes. But, with Kevin McStay at the helm, the team in green and red battled back and their never-say-die attitude was rewarded with a 2-11 to 2-10 win after Frankie Dolan sent over a late winner.