The clean sweep

Niall Gartland takes a look at the counties who have completed a clean sweep of league, provincial and All-Ireland titles in the one year

Kerry (nine times)

KERRY are the most decorated county when it comes to winning Sam Maguire titles having won the competition a record 38 times. On nine of those occasions, they have won the National League, Munster Championship and All-Ireland title all in the same year. They achieved the feat in their most recent All-Ireland winning year of 2022. They finished top of the league on points before hammering Mayo in the Division One final on a scoreline of 3-19 to 0-13, a game most remembered for David Clifford’s roasting of Padraig O’Hora. They also completed a clean sweep of titles in 1929, 1931, 1932, 1959, 1969, 1984 (the GAA’s centenary year), 1997 and 2004.

Dublin (six times)

THE only other county to achieve the distinction of winning all three titles more than twice, Dublin picked up all the big titles on offer in 1958, 1976, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. They dominated the intercounty scene throughout the Jim Gavin years and it’s fair to say they didn’t take the league for granted, winning Division One titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Indeed it was something of a shock when they came out second best in the league final of 2014, losing by a single point to Kerry, but they still came out on top later in the year when they edged an all-time classic All-Ireland final against Mayo.

Down (twice)

DOWN won a perfect treble in 1960 and 1968. In 1960 – the first time a team from the six counties brought Sam across the border – the trailblazers from the Mourne County also won the league in memorable fashion as they overcame Cavan in an all-Ulster final in front of a record crowd of nearly 50,000 people at Croke Park. That paved the way for a brilliant championship campaign and they repeated the trick in 1968, winning the league title, Ulster Championship and All-Ireland SFC title.

Mayo (once)

POOR beleaguered Mayo and all that, but whatever about the repeated heartache in recent decades, they’ve still picked up three All-Ireland titles in the county’s history. Their maiden success was all the way back in 1936, and in the very same year they claimed league and provincial honours. And just so you know, they were a serious force on the league front in those days, winning six consecutive National League titles between 1934 to 1939, a record that has never been bettered and probably never will be.

Cavan (once)

THE Breffni County have won five All-Irelands, 40 Ulster Championships and the National League once, all the way back in 1948. That same year they clinched the back-to-back in the race for the All-Ireland, with a one-point win over Mayo. They reached their third successive final in 1949 but were denied a famous three in-a-row by Meath, losing by four points. The curious thing about their league success in 1948 was that they played out a draw against Cork in the cusp of the championship in June, and the replay was played four months later with Cavan claiming a 5-9 to 2-8 victory at Croke Park.

Galway (once)

GALWAY won three All-Ireland titles on the trot in the mid-sixties and on one of those occasions – 1965 – they emerged triumphant in both league and championship. The National Football League was a wee bit different in those days and Galway won the so-called ‘home’ final with a 1-7 to 0-8 over Kerry in Croke Park. Then they headed stateside for a two-legged final against New York at the Gaelic Grounds. They lost on their first day out by a point but won on aggregate having come out on top by 3-8 to 0-9 in the replay. They also defeated Kerry in the All-Ireland final that year.

Cork (once)

THE Rebel County claimed their fifth All-Ireland SFC title in 1989 with victory over Mayo in one of the more entertaining finals of its era. A couple of months earlier, they defeated a past-their-peak Kerry side in the Munster final, and before that they claimed the Division One title with a 0-15 to 0-12 win over Dublin. It was a brilliant time to be a Cork fan and they retained their All-Ireland title in 1990.

Tyrone (once)

TYRONE reached the Promised Land at All-Ireland level for the first time in their history with victory over Armagh in September 2003. While it paled into comparison with their Sam Maguire success, Mickey Harte’s side also won the league title that year, stuffing Laois in the final. They claimed provincial honours as well with a replay win over Down and after that – well the rest is history as they marched to All-Ireland glory with victories over Fermanagh, Kerry and then their neighbours across the Blackwater, Armagh.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW