December Road: Dublin players can emulate Jack Lynch

Dubs looking to maintain their championship clean sheet, Mayo must reverse trend

Taoiseach Jack Lynch, who won six All-Ireland medals in a row, at the Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland final at Croke Park in 1979. Photo: Independent News and Media/Getty Images

Taoiseach Jack Lynch, who won six All-Ireland medals in a row, at the Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland final at Croke Park in 1979. Photo: Independent News and Media/Getty Images

 

The Dublin football team may be looking to extend their own piece of championship history by winning a sixth successive All-Ireland football title, never done before in either football or hurling.

At the same time several members of the team also get the chance to equal Jack Lynch’s long standing record with Cork of six All-Ireland medals in a row, won between hurling 1941-44, football 1945, and then hurling 1946, the famous dual player who went on to serve as Taoiseach from 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979.

Lynch also captured a sixth Munster hurling medal in 1947, before going on to play in his seventh All-Ireland hurling final in less than a decade; in that game against Kilkenny, often described as the greatest All-Ireland final ever played, Lynch ended up on the losing side by a single point, the seven in a row there proving elusive.

Now, 15 Dublin players have the chance to equal this feat (including appearances as replacements).

Revolutionary road

Limerick’s second All-Ireland in three years is a good starting point for a TG4’s hurling documentary Reabhlóid GAA (GAA Revolution), which screens on Wednesday at 9.30.

The new champions’ achievement is the first time a team from outside the traditional top three counties has won two All-Irelands since the 1990s.

“In March and April when all matches were off we felt it was important to keep production companies engaged and in fairness to Loosehorse, they came to us with the proposal,” according to TG4 head of sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha.

The idea was that the company, which in a previous incarnation produced Breaking Ball, the GAA magazine programme from the 1990s and 2000s, and a number of other similar series, would use their extensive archive of interviews to look back at the era, which became known as hurling’s Revolution Years after the definitive book on the subject by Denis Walsh.

For over a century, the hurling spoils had been shared among the traditional big three superpowers of Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary. As the decade began, there was no sign of the aristocracy being overthrown.

In the middle of the decade three of the non-top-table counties, Offaly, Clare and Wexford, reeled off five All-Ireland wins between them. On the night that Clare had relieved his Offaly team of the All-Ireland in 1995, Johnny Pilkington visited the winners’ hotel and, referring to hurling’s big three counties, urged Clare to “keep the bastards down”.

Pilkington himself features in the archive interviews with, among others, Davy Fitzgerald, Ger Loughnane, Brian Whelahan, Johnny Dooley, Johnny Pilkington, Liam Griffin and Martin Storey. Former Wexford hurler and broadcaster Diarmuid Lyng narrates.

Communicating results

News that eir are to equip Croke Park with 5G, which will be a boon for supporters whenever they get back into the stadium, is the GAA’s latest step along the path of technological progress.

Back in 1912, the news of Kilkenny’s 2-1 to 1-3 win in the All-Ireland hurling final was received in Kilkenny by telegram “through the kindness of the ‘Kilkenny People’”.

When telegram arrived shortly after five o’clock, according to the account in the People “its contents were immediately announced to the impatient throng. The news of victory was received with prolonged cheering. From the coming of the welcome news, preparations were begun for the reception of the All-Ireland champions and the streets were gaily illuminated and tar barrels burned at every corner in the city”.

One way traffic

Mayo are seeking their first win over Dublin since the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final, during James Horan’s previous spell as manager. The counties have met 15 times since then, with Dublin winning 11 and drawing three. Dublin’s wins were in the 2013 and 2016 All-Ireland finals, the 2015 semi-final replay, the Allianz League in 2013 (twice), 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and earlier this year.

The draws were in the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final, the following year’s All-Ireland final and the 2014 League.

Saturday will be the fourth All-Ireland final meeting in eight years and as a pairing it has only been surpassed by Dublin’s great 1970s rivalry with Kerry which produced four finals in five years, 1975, ‘76, ‘78 and ‘79.

By the numbers

0: The amount of goals Dublin have conceded in the four games that have taken them into a sixth successive All-Ireland final, seeking another record of a sixth All-Ireland; their 1-24 and 15-point semi-final win over Cavan brings to 6-90 their score in those four games, and winning those four matches by a combined total of 69 points.

Word of mouth

“You would have expected with the way the games are coming at you thick and fast that we’d be picking up some injuries along the way, particularly at the latter stage of the competition, that we would have some casualties. but we don’t thankfully, touch wood,” – Dublin manager Dessie Farrell on the absence of injury in his panel, despite fears the pandemic winter might take an added toll.

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