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Thursday’s Top Ten – Dublin’s Leinster Championship Games In The New Croke Park

2002 saw the real opening of what can be classified as the ‘new’ Croke Park when works were finally completed on the Canal End and the Hogan Stand.  Since then Gaelic Games has had a number of great occasions in one of the world’s finest stadiums.

Last weekend saw the Dublin footballers get their Leinster campaign underway against Longford. A lot of the recent media coverage has surrounded Dublin’s overuse of Croke Park and how it is becoming a major advantage to them.

This writer fully supports the idea that they should be forced out of Croke Park. Were they to be drawn away from home, we feel it is time to put a more positive perspective on a number of good occasions involving the Dubs in Croke Park during the Leinster Championship.

Here are our Top Ten games involving Dublin in the Leinster football championship at Croke Park since 2002, in no particular order.

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1. 2007 Leinster Football Semi-Final

Dublin 1-11 Meath 0-14

There was a draw and a replay between Dublin and Meath in the 2007 season. Obviously, it was not as good as the epic four game series in 1991 but they were two outstanding games.

The drawn game was a classic, best remembered for the impact of Meath substitute Cian Ward, who came on to kick the final scores to earn a draw for the Royal men.

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2. 2007 Leinster Football Semi-Final Replay

Dublin 0-16 Meath 0-12

The replay was equally as good as the first game. It was not the most open affair but it was a tight, aggressive championship football contest. It also restored some great memories of the Meath and Dublin rivalry that had gone a bit stale.

Mark Vaughan was the hero that day, and looked like he may have been the Hill’s new poster boy for years to come. Unfortunately, for the Kilmacud Crokes man, that was not the case.

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3. 2005 Leinster Football Final

Dublin 0-14 Laois 0-13

There were plenty of thrillers between Laois and Dublin in the early noughties as Mick O’Dwyer led a Laois revival in Leinster. This game epitomised the serious competitveness between Laois and Dublin back then.

Dublin were forced to dig very deep, and in the end, had Mossy Quinn to thank for securing victory. For so long, Dublin lacked a reliable free taker, but that day Quinn delivered with a late 45 to secure the Leinster title for the Boys in Blue.

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4. 2002 Leinster Football Final

Dublin 2-13 Kildare 2-11

Dublin had always been a well-supported team but 2002 seemed to bring things to a new level. The redevelopment of Croke Park and strides in media coverage and merchandise saw the Boys in Blue almost become a brand. Ray Cosgrove was the Hill’s hero that year as Dublin secured a Leinster title, coming from behind to beat Kildare.

Ray Cosgrove was the 'Hero of the Hill' back in 2002 when Dublin won the Leinster title in a cracking game against Kildare.
Ray Cosgrove was the ‘Hero of the Hill’ back in 2002 when Dublin won the Leinster title in a cracking game against Kildare.

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5. 2010 Leinster Quarter-Final

Dublin 2-16 Wexford 0-15 AET

This game may be better remembered for adverse weather as opposed to the quality of football but it was a memorable contest all the same. It looked like a massive upset was on the cards as the Yellow Bellies, inspired by Mattie Forde, led the Dubs approaching the end of the game. However, Dublin rallied to earn a draw, and then pulled through to win the game in extra-time.

Bernard Brogan kicked 2-4 to dig the Dubs out of a major hole in 2010 Leinster Championship.
Bernard Brogan kicked 2-4 to dig the Dubs out of a major hole in 2010 Leinster Championship.

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6. 2010 Leinster Football Semi-Final

Dublin 0-13 Meath 5-09

The reason this game gets a mention is more down to the repercussions rather than the quality of the game. Since this famous day for Meath, Dublin haven’t lost a Leinster championship game. In the aftermath of this contest, where the Hill was left silenced, Pat Gilroy was forced to change the Dubs method of play. Gilroy’s style led them to their first All-Ireland title in 16 years, just one year later. A blessing in disguise for the boys in blue.

Here is Stephen Bray with Meath’s first goal in that game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGnnAtsGnqM

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7. 2011 Leinster Football Final

Dublin 2-12 Wexford 1-12

This was one of the better Leinster finals in recent years and one that Dublin looked in most danger of actually losing. Wexford more than held their own and were in with a strong chance of winning.

However, two late Dublin goals saw them edge over the line. A mistake from goalkeeper Anthony Masterson and a great solo run goal from James McCarthy helped them to victory.

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8. 2004 Leinster Quarter-Final

Dublin 0-12 Westmeath 0-14

This is only the second Dublin defeat on this list. Losses for Dublin in Croke Park have been extremely have always been rare, and 2004 saw a huge upset. That year Westmeath beat Dublin in the Leinster quarter-final under the stewardship of Páidí Ó Sé, and in fact went on to claim Leinster glory. The year can best be recalled through the RTÉ documentary ‘Marooned’.

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9. 2005 Leinster Semi-Final

Dublin 1-17 Wexford 2-10

This was another tight game between Wexford and Dublin, where Wexford took a lead. Going into the final quarter, it was a game that could have gone either way. Dublin turned to real ‘Hero of the Hill’ for inspiration and Jason Sherlock did not disappoint. The man who burst on to the scene in 1995,  goaled in front of Hill 16 to give Dublin the breathing space needed.

Jayo was Hill 16's cult hero for many years scoring vital goals. And 10 years after hsi debut season he got a vital one to seal a win over Wexford in the Leinster semi-final.
‘Jayo’ was Hill 16’s cult hero for many years scoring vital goals. And 10 years after hsi debut season he got a vital one to seal a win over Wexford in the Leinster semi-final.

2011 Leinster Football Semi-Final

Dublin 1-12 Kildare 1-11

A game, that will be most remembered for a controversial game-winning free, converted by Bernard Brogan. The Lilywhites, aided by Kieran McGeeney at the helm, had the Dubs on the ropes in the final few minutes.

After Eamon Callaghan goaled with minutes left, the game looked to be heading for a replay. However, it was not to be for Kildare, as Dublin marched on once again.

Flynn is pound-for-pound the best footballer in Ireland at this moment in time.
Flynn’s goal had set Dublin on their way early on, only to be reeled back in by a battling Kildare side

 

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So there are some of the better memories from Dublin playing at Croke Park in the Leinster Football Championship. It is unfortunate that these good games are becoming less and less of a regular occurrence, but it is no harm to step away from the negativity for a short while.

Dubs, what order would ‘yous’ put these games in? Let us know.

Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.