A league of their own

2022: Kerry 3-19 Mayo 0-13

A SIGN of things to come, you might say. Kerry completed the league and championship double last season, and while they were pushed all the way by Galway in the All-Ireland final, they had a much easier time of it at Croke Park against Mayo. David Clifford led the rout with an individual tally of 1-6 including a sublime individual goal in the second half where he skinned Padraig O’Hora. The 15-point drubbing marked Jack O’Connor’s fourth National League title as Kerry manager.


l 2021 – Dublin and Kerry shared the title due to the condensed season

l 2020 – Kerry were awarded the title having finished top of the table in Division One


2019: Mayo 3-11 Kerry 2-10


A NATIONAL title for Mayo at Croke Park! This was an entertaining game of football culminating in Mayo’s first national title since 2001. It was a well-earned victory as James Horan’s side trailed by four points at half-time but whatever the manager said at the break certainly had the desired effect. On the stroke of 65 minutes they landed the knock-out blow with a goal from Diarmuid O’Connor, while Ciaran Treacy sealed victory with a last-minute goal.


2018: Dublin 0-18 Galway 0-14


A FIFTH Division One title in six seasons from Jim Gavin’s Dublin (no harm to them but their dominance in both league and championship was starting to wear thin…). On this occasion they held out for their 13th title despite playing the final 20 minutes with 14 men. The sides were deadlocked at the break but they pushed on in the third quarter and try as they might, the Tribesmen couldn’t reel them in. Dean Rock finished as the game’s top scorer with seven points, including five frees and a 45.


2017: Kerry 0–20 Dublin 1–16


KERRY were delighted with this one as they ended Dublin’s history-making 36-game unbeaten run across league and championship in a dramatic final at Croke Park. Dublin led by a point at half-time, but paid the price for poor discipline as Paul Geaney converted four frees between the 44th and 50th minutes to push Kerry into a 0-15 to 0-10 lead. Predictably, Dublin played their way back into the contest but Dean Rock missed a late free which would have sent the game into extra-time. Relief for Kerry but it was still the Dubs who landed the big one in September.


2016: Dublin 2-18 Kerry 0-13


THE Dubs were well and truly in their pomp in this era and they ended up cruising to the title with a resounding victory over Kerry. The Kingdom’s challenge began to falter when long-serving defender Aidan O’Mahony was sent off in the 50th minute for an off the ball challenge on Johnny Cooper, and the result meant that Dublin became the first team to win four league titles in a row since Kerry in the early seventies. Dublin closed the game out with 2-3 without replay on a day to forget for the men from Munster.


2015: Dublin 1-21 Cork 2-7


A WALK in the park for Dublin. This was a brutally one-sided affair with the Dubs never in any danger of relinquishing their crown. The Rebels failed to score a single point from play in the opening 35 minutes, and Dublin basically put the game beyond reach when Diarmuid Connolly slotted a penalty to make it 1-9 to 0-5 at half time. The second-half was a procession with Dean Rock finishing as the game’s top scorer with 10 points.


2014: Dublin 3-19 Derry 1-10

DERRY, playing in their first Division One final since 2008, were torn asunder in another mismatch at Croke Park. Dublin were well in control at half-time and second-half goals from Bernard Brogan, Kevin McManamon and Diarmuid Connolly turned the game into a complete rout. It wasn’t the only hammering dished out by Dublin that year, but they were undone by a Donegal masterclass in the All-Ireland semi-final.


2013: Dublin 0-18 Tyrone 0-17


ONE of the more entertaining league finals of the last decade, Tyrone were gutted to lose this one. Martin Penrose’s 67th-minute free had edged the Red Hands ahead by 0-16 to 0-15, but Dean Rock responded with two stunning scores to put Dublin back into the lead and they saw the game out. Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan finished with a remarkable five points in addition to making a couple of smart saves and was named man of the match.

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