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20 years of the All-Ireland Qualifiers: How Ulster’s nine counties have fared

By Niall McCoy

IN June 2001, the first-ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifier match was played.

The great Mick O’Dwyer turned 65 on the day the first-ever games of the new format were played, although the backdoor wouldn’t come into his thinking for a month yet as he spent his big day preparing his Kildare side for their upcoming Leinster clash with Meath.

The answer to the quiz question ever likely to make it to the sports round is Tipperary and Louth – those were the two counties to play in the first All-Ireland Football Qualifiers. It was the Wee county who would prevail with Mark Stanfield hitting six points in a 0-13 to 1-8 win in Clonmel.

The first weekend started with a ripple rather than a bang with even the headline act of Armagh’s win over Down failing to raise any real pulses. The Mourne county hit two goals midway through the second half through Benny Coulter and Mickey Linden, but Brian McAlinden and Brian Canavan’s side always looked in control. Three other Ulster teams were involved in that opening round. Antrim struggled past Leitrim in Belfast while 20 years ago yesterday, Donegal were comfortable winners over Fermanagh.

So here two decades on, interrupted by last year’s knock-out format and Antrim spending a spell in the Tommy Murphy Cup, is a look at how Ulster’s nine counties have fared in the backdoor.

ANTRIM

Games played

24

Win percentage

29%

High point

The 2012 one-point win over Galway. The Saffron players felt they were a bit disrespected by their Connacht opponents that day, but they had the last laugh as Deaghlan O’Hagan’s point in additional time sealed a famous win.

Low point

Letting Meath in for five goals in 2005 was pretty demoralising. Underdogs yes, but they let Sean Boylan’s side ease through the Belfast experience with four coming in the first half. Sean Kelly did at least offer some resistance.

Most common opponents

Louth – three occasions.

2001

R1 Antrim 0-13 Leitrim 1-8

R2 Antrim 0-7 Derry 0-10

2002

R1: Antrim 1-10 Westmeath 0-14

2003

R2: Antrim 0-12 Armagh 0-15

2004

R1: Antrim 0-14 Louth 2-13

2005

R1: Antrim 0-13 Meath 5-12

2006

R1: Antrim 2-9 Clare 1-13

2009

R4: Antrim 1-10 Kerry 2-12

2010

R1: Antrim 0-9 Kildare 1-15

2011

R1: Antrim 0-16 Westmeath 1-7

R2: Antrim 1-13 Carlow 2-9

R3: Antrim 0-10 Down 3-13

2012

R1: Antrim 2-11 London 2-9

R2: Antrim 0-11 Galway 0-10

R3: Antrim 0-8 Tipperary 0-10

2013

R1: Antrim 1-11 Louth 1-17

2014

R2: Antrim 0-15 Limerick 3-11

2015

R1: Antrim 2-15 Laois 1-16

R2: Antrim 0-11 Fermanagh 1-21

2016

R1: Antrim 0-9 Limerick 2-6

2017

R1: Antrim 3-7 Sligo 0-22

2018

R1: Antrim 1-15 Offaly 2-20

2019

R1: Antrim 2-16 Louth 1-11

R2: Antrim 0-14 Kildare 1-25

ARMAGH

Games played

36

Win percentage

64%

High point

Kildare in Croke Park in 2017 may seem the obvious choice, but the honour goes to the 2014 victory over Tyrone in Omagh seven years ago. A lot of Orchard players had taken some stick heading into the fixture, but an early shemozzle seemed to upset the Red Hands more than them and they managed to upset the odds.

Low point

The 2007 one-point loss to Derry brought the Joe Kernan era to an end. Collie Devlin kicked the winner but so few Oakleaf fans had made the trip that the roar was nowhere near as big as it should have been. Armagh were expected to saunter through, instead their most successful manager ever stepped aside.

Most common opponents

Wicklow – four occasions.

2001

R1: Armagh 1-13 Down 2-4

R2: Armagh 2-12 Monaghan 0-10

R3: Armagh 0-12 Galway 0-13

2003

R1: Armagh 2-21 Waterford 0-8

R2: Armagh 0-15 Antrim 0-12

R3: Armagh 0-15 Dublin 0-11

R4: Armagh 4-10 Limerick 0-11

2007

R1: Armagh 0-9 Derry 0-10

2009

R1: Armagh 0-12 Monaghan 0-13

2010

R1: Armagh 2-14 Donegal 0-11

R2: Armagh 0-11 Fermanagh 0-7

R3: Armagh 0-11 Dublin 0-14

2011

R2: Armagh 2-13 Wicklow 0-19

R2 replay: Armagh 2-9 Wicklow 0-10

R3: Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 2-13

2012

R1: Armagh 1-9 Roscommon 1-11

2013

R1: Armagh 2-21 Wicklow 0-2

R2: Armagh 8-13 Leitrim 0-10

R3: Armagh 0-9 Galway 1-11

2014

R2: Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 0-10

R3: Armagh 1-17 Roscommon 1-12

R4: Armagh 0-18 Meath 0-13

2015

R1: Armagh 2-17 Wicklow 2-4

R2: Armagh 0-12 Galway 1-12

2016

R1: Armagh 0-10 Laois 1-10 (match voided)

R1 replay: Armagh 1-10 Laois 1-11

2017

R1: Armagh 0-20 Fermanagh 0-11

R2: Armagh 1-12 Westmeath 1-7

R3: Armagh 1-17 Tipperary 1-15

R4: Armagh 1-17 Kildare 0-17

2018

R1: Armagh 3-16 Westmeath 1-11

R2: Armagh 1-19 Sligo 1-13

R3: Armagh 2-16 Clare 1-15

R4: Armagh 1-19 Roscommon 2-22

2019

R2: Armagh 2-17 Monaghan 1-12

R3: Armagh 1-15 Mayo 2-13

CAVAN

Games played

33

Win percentage

42%

High point

The 1-22 to 0-20 win over Derry was an example of all that can be good about the Qualifiers. The sun was out and a huge Breffni crowd made their way to Celtic Park for an exhilarating 80 minutes of football. Damien Reilly saved them in normal time before Cian Mackey hit a late goal to send the visiting fans away happy.

Low point

Easy, the 2009 defeat to Wicklow. The game wasn’t even close and it later came out that a number of Cavan players had been at Oxegen the night before. The side certainly played with a hangover but it was an utterly embarrassing episode for the county.

Most common opponents

Derry – four occasions.

2001

R4: Cavan 2-7 Derry 1-14

2002

R1: Cavan 2-12 Limerick 1-15

R1 replay: Cavan 0-11 Limerick 2-8

2003

R1: Cavan 1-12 Louth 2-7

R2: Cavan 1-10 Fermanagh 0-16

2004

R2: Cavan 2-9 Derry 0-25

2005

R2: Cavan 1-11 Donegal 1-10

R3: Cavan 1-8 Meath 0-6

R4: Cavan 0-8 Mayo 0-11

2006

R1: Cavan 1-13 Kildare 1-18

2007

R1: Cavan 3-7 Mayo 1-19

2008

R1: Cavan 1-15 Kildare 1-16

2009

R2: Cavan 0-8 Wicklow 1-12

2010

R1: Cavan 0-15 Wicklow 2-8

R2: Cavan 0-4 Cork 1-19

2011

R1: Cavan 0-11 Longford 2-16

2012

R1: Cavan 3-13 Fermanagh 1-15

R2: Cavan 1-9 Kildare 3-20

2013

R2: Cavan 1-14 Fermanagh 0-10

R3: Cavan 1-22 Derry 0-20

R4: Cavan 1-17 London 1-8

2014

R1: Cavan 1-15 Westmeath 1-14

R2: Cavan 0-5 Roscommon 0-16

2015

R1: Cavan 2-22 London 0-11

R2: Cavan 1-16 Roscommon 3-17

2016

R2: Cavan 2-13 Carlow 0-12

R3: Cavan 0-18 Derry 1-17

2017

R1: Cavan 1-17 Offaly 0-16

R2: Cavan 0-18 Tipperary 2-15

2018

R1: Cavan 2-16 Wicklow 1-5

R2: Cavan 1-14 Down 0-15

R3: Cavan 1-12 Tyrone 0-18

2019

R4: Cavan 0-7 Tyrone 1-20

DERRY

Games played

42

Win percentage

62%

High point

The 2007 round one victory over Armagh in Clones. Nobody gave them a hope, but the edged the contest and went on to beat Mayo and Laois to reach the last eight of the All-Ireland. They put up a fine show there too, only to lose narrowly to Dublin.

Low point

The 2016 loss to Tipperary at Kingspan Breffni was massively frustrating. The side had built up real momentum with wins over Louth, Meath and Cavan but they fell against the Premier county. Tipp would go on to reach the last four.

Most common opponents

Cavan, Laois, Longford, Wexford and Kildare – all four occasions.

2001

R2: Derry 0-10 Antrim 0-7

R3: Derry 1-8 Laois 0-8

R4: Derry 1-14 Cavan 2-7

2002

R2: Derry 2-13 Longford 0-9

R3: Derry 1-12 Tyrone 1-17

2003

R1: Derry 3-10 Wexford 0-9

R2: Derry 1-9 Dublin 3-9

2004

R1: Derry 1-15 Wicklow 1-10

R2: Derry 0-25 Cavan 2-9

R3: Derry 2-16 Wexford 0-5

R4: Derry 0-10 Limerick 0-7

2005

R2: Derry 3-8 Down 2-9

R3: Derry 0-13 Limerick 0-9

R4: Derry 0-11 Laois 1-11

2006

R2: Derry 1-17 Kildare 0-11

R3: Derry 2-12 Longford 1-16

2007

R1: Derry 0-10 Armagh 0-9

R2: Derry 2-13 Mayo 1-6

R3: Derry 1-18 Laois 2-11

2008

R1: Derry 1-12 Monaghan 1-13

2009

R2: Derry 3-16 Monaghan 0-20

R3: Derry 0-18 Donegal 2-13

2010

R1: Derry 1-18 Carlow 2-9

R2: Derry 0-13 Westmeath 1-7

R3: Derry 1-9 Kildare 2-17

2011

R4: Derry 0-13 Kildare 0-19

2012

R1: Derry 2-8 Longford 0-17

2013

R1: Derry 0-15 Sligo 0-8

R2: Derry 0-13 Down 1-5

R3: Derry 0-20 Cavan 1-22

2014

R1: Derry 2-14 Longford 2-16

2015

R2: Derry 1-16 Wexford 0-10

R3: Derry 0-8 Galway 1-11

2016

R1: Derry 1-18 Louth 2-10

R2: Derry 1-14 Meath 1-11

R3: Derry 1-17 Cavan 0-18

R4: Derry 2-17 Tipperary 1-21

2017

R1: Derry 1-17 Waterford 0-13

R2: Derry 1-13 Mayo 2-21

2018

R1: Derry 2-14 Kildare 2-22

2019

R1: Derry 4-16 Wexford 0-10

R2: Derry 0-12 Laois 1-13

DONEGAL

Games played

27

Win percentage

70%

High point

A real Qualifier clash unfolded when Donegal met Derry in Ballybofey in 2009. It was a real thriller with Kevin Cassidy’s extra-time goal winning the derby day for the men in green and gold. Michael Murphy was also outstanding – what a surprise.

Low point

Donegal’s last Qualifier game – the 2017 trouncing at the hands of Galway – was a rude awakening, but the honour goes to that day in Crossmaglen when Armagh made boys of John Joe Doherty’s side. It was painfully one-sided but the next season Jim McGuinness came in and Donegal football changed forever.

Most common opponents

Fermanagh and Galway – both three occasions.

2001

R1: Donegal 0-15 Fermanagh 1-6

R2: Donegal 1-16 Kildare 1-17

2002

R4: Donegal 1-13 Meath 0-14

2003

R1: Donegal 1-17 Longford 1-11

R2: Donegal 0-16 Sligo 0-11

R3: Donegal 2-19 Tipperary 0-15

R4: Donegal 3-15 Down 2-10

2004

R4: Donegal 0-12 Fermanagh 1-10

2005

R1: Donegal 0-16 Wicklow 0-12

R2: Donegal 1-10 Cavan 1-11

2006

R4: Donegal 0-11 Fermanagh 0-8

2007:

R1: Donegal 1-14 Leitrim 1-12

R2: Donegal 1-13 Westmeath 1-8

R3: Donegal 1-7 Monaghan 2-12

2008

R1: Donegal 3-11 Roscommon 1-9

R2: Donegal 0-15 Monaghan 0-16

2009

R1: Donegal 2-13 Carlow 1-6

R2: Donegal 0-13 Clare 1-7

R3: Donegal 2-13 Derry 0-18

R4: Donegal 0-13 Galway 0-14

2010

R1: Donegal 0-11 Armagh 2-14

2013

R4: Donegal 0-14 Laois 0-8

2015

R4: Donegal 3-12 Galway 0-11

2016

R4: Donegal 0-21 Cork 1-15

2017

R2: Donegal 0-12 Longford 0-7

R3: Donegal 1-15 Meath 1-14

R4: Donegal 0-14 Galway 4-17

DOWN

Games played

32

Win percentage

44%

High point

Down haven’t really had the greatest relationship with the Qualifiers. They’ve lost a lot of games they were expected to win and haven’t really taken down a kingpin. The round four hammering of Sligo did take them into an All-Ireland quarter-final, but Kerry would be too strong there, right?

Low point

The 0-4 tally against Sligo in 2006. Some Mourne players left Markievicz Park and headed straight to Lacey’s Nightclub where they had to take some abuse from Armagh supporters. A bad day all round.

Most common opponents

Longford – three occasions.

2001

R1 Down 2-4 Armagh 1-13

2002

R1: Down 0-14 Longford 1-16

2003

R4: Down 2-10 Donegal 3-15

2004

R1: Down 1-19 Carlow 1-13

R2: Down 0-10 Tyrone 1-15

2005

R1: Down 1-11 Fermanagh 0-7

R2: Down 2-9 Derry 3-8

2006

R1: Down 0-4 Sligo 1-7

2007

R1: Down 0-8 Meath 1-10

2008

R1: Down 5-19 Offaly 2-10

R2: Down 2-14 Laois 1-15

R3: Down 0-12 Wexford 2-13

2009

R1: Down 1-16 London 1-7

R2: Down 2-9 Laois 0-7

R3: Down 0-17 Wicklow 1-15

2010

R2: Down 1-14 Longford 1-10

R3: Down 1-12 Offaly 1-10

R4: Down 3-20 Sligo 0-10

2011

R1: Down 1-13 Clare 1-12

R2: Down 1-16 Leitrim 1-8

R3: Down 3-13 Antrim 0-10

R4: Down 0-14 Cork 2-20

2012

R4: Down 1-13 Tipperary 0-11

2013

R2: Down 1-5 Derry 0-13

2014

R1: Down 4-18 Leitrim 0-9

R2: Down 0-11 Kildare 1-18

2015

R1: Down 2-11 Wexford 2-16

2016

R1: Down 3-17 Longford 2-24

2017

R4: Down 1-16 Monaghan 1-24

2018

R2: Down 0-15 Cavan 1-14

2019

R1: Down 1-13 Tipperary 1-10

R2: Down 1-11 Mayo 1-16

FERMANAGH

Games played

32

Win percentage

44%

High point

The 2004 defeat of Donegal that secured entry to the All-Ireland stage for the first time in the county’s history. Charlie Murlgrew’s side edged it after extra-time on a day when cards were handed out like confetti.

Low point

London 0-15 Fermanagh 0-9 will take some beating. ‘Rock Bottom,’ the Fermanagh Herald screamed, and it was hard to argue with that.

Most common opponents

Donegal, Westmeath, Cavan, Meath and Wexford – all three occasions.

2001

R1: Fermanagh 1-6 Donegal 0-15

2002

R2: Fermanagh 0-14 Westmeath 0-7

R3: Fermanagh 0-4 Kerry 2-15

2003

R2: Fermanagh 0-16 Cavan 1-10

R3: Fermanagh 1-12 Meath 0-9

R4: Fermanagh 0-12 Mayo 1-8

2004

R1: Fermanagh WO Tipperary DNF

R2: Fermanagh 0-19 Meath 2-12

R3: Fermanagh 0-18 Cork 0-11

R4: Fermanagh 1-10 Donegal 0-12

2005

R1: Fermanagh 0-7 Down 1-11

2006

R2: Fermanagh 0-15 Clare 0-10

R3: Fermanagh 2-12 Wexford 0-11

R4: Fermanagh 0-8 Donegal 0-11

2007

R1: Fermanagh 1-12 Wexford 1-8

R2: Fermanagh 0-9 Meath 0-11

2008

R3: Fermanagh 0-5 Kildare 0-11

2009

R1: Fermanagh 1-11 Wicklow 0-17

2010

R2: Fermanagh 0-7 Armagh 0-11

2011

R1: Fermanagh 0-9 London 0-15

2012

R1: Fermanagh 0-15 Cavan 3-13

2013

R1: Fermanagh 3-10 Westmeath 1-15

R2: Fermanagh 0-10 Cavan 1-14

2014

R1: Fermanagh 2-15 Laois 1-19

2015

R2: Fermanagh 1-21 Antrim 0-11

R3: Fermanagh 1-14 Roscommon 0-16

R4: Fermanagh 1-13 Westmeath 0-7

2016

R1: Fermanagh 0-19 Wexford 1-11

R2: Fermanagh 1-12 Mayo 2-14

2017

R1: Fermanagh 0-11 Armagh 0-20

2018

R4: Fermanagh 0-18 Kildare 3-20

2019

R1: Fermanagh 1-6 Monaghan 1-10

MONAGHAN

Games played

30

Win percentage

57%

High point

Dumping out reigning Ulster champions Armagh in 2009 was very much enjoyed by the Oriel faithful. It was a nasty old game that went to extra-time, and Monaghan came up trumps by the minimum.

Low point

The 2016 loss to Longford on home soil. The Leinster side are Qualifier specialists, or certainly were in the early days, but Monaghan had won their second Ulster title in three years in 2015 and had their eyes set on at least an All-Ireland semi-final.

Most common opponents

Armagh and Wexford – both three occasions.

2001

R2: Monaghan 0-10 Armagh 2-12

2002

R1: Monaghan 1-8 Louth 2-11

2003:

R1: Monaghan 0-14 Westmeath 0-9

R2: Monaghan 0-12 Meath 2-10

2004

R1: Monaghan 1-16 Longford 4-15

2005

R1: Monaghan 2-18 London 1-9

R2: Monaghan 0-17 Wexford 0-12

R3: Monaghan 1-12 Louth 0-14

R4: Monaghan 1-7 Tyrone 2-14

2006

R1: Monaghan 2-19 Wicklow 3-6

R2: Monaghan 0-6 Wexford 0-8

2007

R3: Monaghan 2-12 Donegal 1-7

2008

R1: Monaghan 1-13 Derry 1-12

R2: Monaghan 0-16 Donegal 0-15

R3: Monaghan 0-13 Kerry 1-13

2009

R1: Monaghan 0-13 Armagh 0-12

R2: Monaghan 0-20 Derry 3-16

2010

R4: Monaghan 1-11 Kildare 1-15

2011

R1: Monaghan 1-10 Offaly 1-18

2012

R2: Monaghan 0-12 Laois 2-12

2014

R4: Monaghan 2-16 Kildare 2-14

2016

R2: Monaghan 1-13 Longford 2-13

2017

R2: Monaghan 3-23 Wexford 1-11

R3: Monaghan 1-12 Carlow 1-7

R4: Monaghan 1-24 Down 1-16

2018

R2: Monaghan 5-21 Waterford 0-9

R3: Monaghan 1-19 Leitrim 0-9

R4: Monaghan 0-19 Laois 1-11

2019

R1: Monaghan 1-10 Fermanagh 1-6

R2: Monaghan 1-12 Armagh 2-17

TYRONE

Games played

36

Win percentage

86%

High point

Tyrone have been utterly ruthless in the Qualifiers but there are very few games that they wouldn’t have expected to win. For great displays of football, their 2018 3-20 to 0-13 win over Cork is right up there. The Rebels were awful in the heat, but Tyrone were scintillating.

Low point

Two stand out – the 2014 loss to Armagh on home soil or finally coming unstuck against Kerry down there in 2012. It’s probably the latter for two reasons. One, they were hammered and two, the home support went crazy throughout.

2002

R1: Tyrone 1-9 Wexford 0-10

R2: Tyrone 1-22 Leitrim 0-7

R3: Tyrone 1-17 Derry 1-12

R4: Sligo 1-14 Tyrone 0-12

2004

R2: Tyrone 1-15 Down 0-10

R3: Tyrone 1-16 Galway 0-11

R4: Tyrone 3-15 Laois 2-4

2005

R4: Tyrone 2-14 Monaghan 1-7

2006

R1: Tyrone 2-16 Louth 2-16

R1 replay: Tyrone 1-12 Louth 1-7

R2: Laois 0-9 Tyrone 0-6

2008

R1: Tyrone 1-18 Louth 1-10

R2: Tyrone 0-14 Westmeath 1-7

R3: Tyrone 0-13 Mayo 1-9

2011

R2: Tyrone 1-17 Longford 0-15

R3: Tyrone 2-13 Armagh 0-13

R4: Tyrone 3-19 Roscommon 1-14

2012

R2: Tyrone 1-16 Roscommon 0-8

R3: Tyrone 1-6 Kerry 1-16

2013

R1: Tyrone 1-27 Offaly 0-8

R2: Tyrone 0-12 Roscommon 1-7

R3: Tyrone 1-11 Kildare 0-12

R4: Tyrone 0-17 Meath 2-9

2014

R1: Tyrone 2-21 Louth 0-10

R2: Tyrone 0-10 Armagh 0-13

2015

R1: Tyrone 1-14 Limerick 0-8

R2: Tyrone 1-10 Meath 0-11

R3: Tyrone 0-19 Tipperary 0-7

R4: Tyrone 0-21 Sligo 0-14

2018

R1: Tyrone 2-14 Meath 0-19

R2: Tyrone 3-14 Carlow 1-10

R3: Tyrone 0-18 Cavan 1-12

R4: Tyrone 3-20 Cork 0-13

2019

R2: Tyrone 2-15 Longford 1-14

R3: Tyrone 2-22 Kildare 1-15

R4: Tyrone 1-20 Cavan 0-7

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