Most Memorable National League GAA Moments

To celebrate the start of the 2023 Allianz National League (GAA) in both football and hurling, we’re looking back at some of the most memorable moments throughout the years.

Intersport Elverys is steeped in GAA history and we’ve witnessed some of the best and most exciting moments from teams like Mayo GAA, Dublin GAA and Tipperary GAA to name just a few.

Check out or leading range of county GAA gear right HERE.

Or take a trip down memory lane below.

We’ve got even more quality nostalgic content on our Retro GAA Jerseys Blog – we promise, you’ll enjoy it.

2019 National League: Mayo end Croke Park silverware hiatus

Mayo 3-11 Kerry 2-10

The Green and Red blasting out from the Croke Park speakers shortly after Mayo defeated Kerry in the 2019 National League Final signalled a real release of emotion.

Time and time again Mayo had suffered heartbreak at GAA HQ, many times at the hands of their Kerry opponents, since their last victory in 2001.

The outpouring of emotion by players and supporters showed how much this meant for Mayo GAA.

James Horan’s men were deserved winners, but as they so often did in the past, did things the difficult way, relying on a brilliant injury time save by Robbie Hennelly to keep them in the game.

Ballina’s Ciaran Treacy then goaled in the third minute of injury time to put the game to bed.

Mayo trailed by 2-3 to 0-5 at half time, but big displays from James Carr and Diarmuid O’Connor, before goals from Mattie Ruane and O’Connor, helped Mayo to a famous win.

Shop Mayo GAA HERE.

national league gaa

2011 National League: Dublin GAA’s long wait ended

Dublin 0-22 Kilkenny 1-7

With the Dublin hurling revolution in full steam, they stormed Croke Park and ended a 72-year wait for a National League Hurling title with victory over Kilkenny.

It was no mean feat either to beat the Cats in the manner Dublin did – complete dominance!

Croke Park was rocking and the whole country stood up and took notice.

Anthony Daly’s side rattled Kilkenny from the off, and Brian Cody’s side’s chances went from bad to worse when Eoin Larkin got his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident.

The likes of Liam Rushe and Conal Keaney were outstanding, while the cheers roared out as captain John McCaffrey lifted the trophy in the Hogan Stand.

Shop Dublin GAA HERE. 

national league gaa

2003 National League: Cats win all-time classic

Kilkenny 5-14 Tipperary 5-13

Has there been a greater National League Hurling final than the 2003 clash between hurling’s great rivals?

The two best teams in the land put on a spectacle of hurling and recorded the highest aggregate score ever recorded in a National League Hurling final.

Amazingly, there was 6-6 along scored in the final 15 minutes of carnage, with 4-4 of that going in favour of Kilkenny, who came back from eight points down to win.

A second goal from Martin Comerford in the 50th minute sparked the recovery, before Lar Corbett temporarily replied for Tipperary to quinch the glimmer from the Cats.

But then all hell broke loose, with Charlier Carter and DJ Carey combing for a goal, before Carter hit Kilkenny’s first and then the dazzling Eddie Brennan rifled home the fifth to give them a 5-12 to 4-13 lead.

Tipp’s John Carroll then restored his side’s lead with his second goal of the game.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man and that was Henry Shefflin.

He levelled the game with a free in the 69th minute before kicking over the winning point in injury time after a dazzling run.

Phew!

Shop Tipperary GAA or Kilkenny GAA here.

national league gaa

1991 National League: Offaly cross final frontier

Offaly 2-6 Wexford 0-10

1991 was the year in which Offaly cemented their status in hurling’s hall of fame.

Never before had they captured a National League title in Croke, despite their success throughout the 1980s.

In beating a dogged Wexford, the young Offaly team, of which nine starters were under the age of 25, Padraig Horan’s side were determination personified.

Goals either side of half time from Daithi Regan was pivotal, while dual-star star Michael Duignan had an outstanding 35 minutes, despite being marked by the highly rated Liam Dunne.

But the likes of Johnny Pilkington and Niall McDonald stood up when needed in the second half to fire their county to the promise land.

Shop Offaly GAA right HERE. 

national league gaa

2009-2012 National League: Rebels go on the rampage

The year 2009 marked a four-year National League winning streak for the Cork GAA footballers with a 1-14 to 0-12 win over Monaghan in the Division 2 Final.

From there, the Cork GAA footballers would complete a historic three-in-a-row of National League Division 1 titles.

At the time it was considering a marvellous achievement, compared to the days of Micko’s dominating tenure with the Kerry team in the 70s in one way.

What made the achievement even more impressive was that they did it without the wider support of the Cork GAA public, who showed little appetite for football and barely travelled to Croke Park.

In 2010, Cork defeated Mayo 1-17 to 0-12 with starring performances from Daniel Goulding and Donncha O’Connor.

The year after, they came from seven points down midway through the second half to defeat Dublin by 0-21 to 2-14, thanks to a late point from Ciaran Sheeran.

In 2012, Mayo again were the victims, with Cork running out 2-10 to 0-11 victors and looking like a real tour-de-force.

Shop Cork GAA right HERE. 

national league gaa

 

2017  National League: Kerry end Dublin’s reign

Kerry 0-20 Dublin 1-16

Jim Gavin’s Dublin team were in the midst of their juggernaut when Kerry spoiled their four-year reign as Division 1 National Football League champions.

In a pulsating encounter, Dean Rock saw a late free strike the post to send the game to extra as the Kerry GAA claimed their first national league title since 2009.

The game had it’s fair share of controversy, with referee Paddy Neilan flashing black cards to Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly, and Kerry’s Anthony Maher and Johnathan Lyne.

However, late points from midfield duo David Moran and Brian Sheehan helped Kerry over the line by the narrowest of margins.

The Kingdom will also thank the outstanding Paul Geaney, who hit 0-8 (4f) on the day for their win.

Shop Kerry GAA right HERE. 

national league gaa

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this National League GAA most memorable moments.

Make sure to let us know what your favourite moments from the National League are.

If you’re a complete newbie to the GAA, our Ultimate Guide to Gaelic Football Positions Blog might help you out.


A Starters Guide to Gaelic Football Positions

GAELIC football positions have evolved massively over the years.

The days of 15 players taking to the field and matching up with their opposing 15 for the entire game are long gone. Thirty years ago, if a corner back wandered up to the corner forward position he’d have got the curly finger and pulled straight off.

In the modern game, it’s now a prerequisite for corner backs to try and cover every blade of grass on the pitch.

Before we start, check out the graphic below for a quick refresh on the 15 positions on a Gaelic football team.

Gaelic football positions

Now that we know the modern day Gaelic football positions, lets get into what skills are required to play them and the players who are making them their own at the top level.

Are you ready?

If not, and you want more GAA content, our Best National League moments is available to read right HERE. 

Gaelic football positions: Goalkeeper (#1)

In a different era, the goalkeeper was a much simpler role.

You stood in goal and tried to stop goal-bound shots, while every kickout you had went long down the middle to the midfielders.

However, that manual has been torn up and republished, mainly thanks to Dublin GAA legend Stephen Cluxton.

gaelic football positions

After establishing himself as Dublin’s number one in 2001, Cluxton perfected the art of the short kickout and quick restart, with an ability to land the ball on a sixpence to his teammates.

But that’s not all.

Cluxton can also be a place kicker and score points (remember the 2011 All-Ireland Final?), has incredible reflexes which makes him a top-class shot stopper, is comfortable on the ball to take it out the field to create an overlap, as well as being a brilliant communicator to organise his team.

These days you have goalies like Monaghan’s Rory Beggan, Tyrone’s Niall Morgan and Donegal’s Shaun Patten who have all those aforementioned qualities and can basically play as an extra outfielder.
So really, a goalkeeper is an all-round style player.

Gaelic Football Positions: Corner back (#2 & #4)

The number one objective for any corner back is to mark the opposition team’s most threatening scorer.

A modern day corner back needs quick feet to keep with the usually fast-paced corner forward, upper body strength to be able to hold up the forward and dispossess the ball in the tackle, and discipline to avoid coughing up soft frees.

But of course, they’re now also expected to attack from the back and make long, lung-bursting runs up the field, breaking the opposition defensive line and chipping in on the scoreboard or setting up scores.

Gaelic Football positions

Donegal’s Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Galway’s Liam Silke are your typical attack-minded corner backs who regularly contribute to the scoreboard, while Dublin’s Mick Fitzsimons and Mayo’s Lee Keegan are renowned for their man-marking ability.

Gaelic Football Positions: Full Back (#3)

Donegal’s Neil McGee and former Dublin star Rory O’Carroll possessed the strength, power, marking ability and no-nonsense style that very regularly sees them hailed as the best full backs in the last decade.

Their main job was to protect the goal, snuff out attacks and be a big physical presence. They were never too bothered about galloping up the field to support the play. Cavan’s Pádraig Faulker is cut from the same cloth.

But depending on the team’s style of football, full backs are often expected to attack from deep. Young Footballer of the Year and Mayo’s Oísin Mullin, as well as Dublin’s Davy Byrne, are those type of all-action full backs who love to get up the field and don’t possess the same physical size as a Neil McGee for example.

Gaelic football positions

Gaelic Football Positions: Wing Back (#5 & #7)

First of all, a high base of aerobic stamina is needed for this role. Inter-county wing backs can cover more than 10km during a game and nearly 2000m in sprint distances.

Wing backs needed to be versatile players who have pace to break lines and start attacks, good footballers to play those 40/50+ yard passes into the forwards, aggressive and disciplined to be winning breaking ball and making tackles, while an eye for the posts also helps.

Modern day wing backs like Donegal’s Ryan McHugh, Mayo’s Paddy Durcan, Dublin’s former Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey, Kerry’s Paul Murphy or Meath’s Donal Keogan are among the best out there right now.

Don’t miss Mayo GAA star Eoghan McLaughlin sharing his tips and advice on How to Play Half Back in this blog. 

Gaelic football positions

Gaelic Football Positions: Centre Back (#6)

The centre back is clamp that holds the back line together. They’ll need all the skills of the wing back, but have to be more disciplined about sitting and holding the middle channel.

It can be the enforcer type role and the player needs to have a high football IQ to sniff out attacks before they come to fruition, while a touch of abrasiveness also helps.

Arguably, the importance of the old-school centre back has evolved to being more of a free role in the modern game, but guys like John Small of Dublin, Colm Boyle of Mayo, Derry’s Gareth McKinless and Peter Harte of Tyrone all have the traditional centre back style about them.

Gaelic football positions

Gaelic Football Positions: Midfield (#8 & #9)

The engine room of the team – Midfielders are one of the most vital cogs in the wheel in terms of Gaelic football positions.

It wouldn’t be unusual to see them cover close to 12km in a single game, so they need to have incredible stamina. Plus, they’ll be required to win kickouts, link ball from defence to attack, defend and to get scores.

Dublin’s Brian Fenton is quite possibly one of the best midfielders to ever play the game, while his teammate James McCarthy isn’t too far off. Kildare’s Kevin Feely and Kerry’s David Moran are also complete footballers.

Those aforementioned guys are tall, athletic and powerful men.

gaelic football positions

Gaelic Football Positions: Wing Forward (#10 & #12)

Arguably the toughest position to play on the pitch due to the work rate required.

A wing forward is expected to do the defensive work of a wing back, but the attacking work of a midfielder and corner forward. Often they’ll find themselves covering ground and not getting on much ball, so patience is required to play the position well.

They need to be able to anticipate the breaking ball on kickouts, provide width on the attack and deliver high-quality passes to the inside line.

Dublin’s Nially Scully, Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin, former Kerry star Paul Galvin, Roscommon’s Enda Smith and Cork’s Ruairi Deane are all dynamic ball carriers that can run all day.

gaelic football positions

 

Gaelic Football Positions: Centre Forward (#11)

The artist of the team – usually highly skilled, boasts a big engine and a natural born leader.

A centre forward needs vision, ability to scrap for breaking ball, can tackle, score and play pinpoint passes into the full forward line.

Often the most complete footballer on the team.

Kerry’s Seán O’Shea and Dublin’s Ciarán Kilkenny are the country’s best. Aidan O’Shea has enjoyed time their for Mayo, while Galway’s Shane Walsh can be unstoppable on his day. All those guys are supreme athletes, genius footballers and possess the ‘X Factor’.

gaelic football positions

Gaelic Football Positions: The Full Forward line (#13, #14 & #15)

Their main job is to put scores on the board, so an eye for the posts is the single most important factor for a good corner forward.

Most likely, they’ll also be the free taker – a massively responsible role that requires skill and concentration in abundance.

Pace and quick feet are a huge advantage in creating space and keeping away from the claws of a corner back, while good hands ensure an ability to win ball out in front.

Patience is another important attribute because often times the full forward line can be starved of ball, so being able to stay calm and make use of limited possession is crucial.

Some of the best include Cillian O’Connor, Dean Rock, Paddy McBrearty and Michael Murphy of Donegal, Conor McManus of Monaghan and the great David Clifford from Kerry to name a few.

gaelic football positions

That’s not to forget Daniel Flynn from Kildare, Paul Geaney, Shane McGuigan, Tyrone duo Conor McKenna and Cathal McShane and Armagh’s Riain O’Neill.

Conclusion

We hope this guide will help you find your best position on a Gaelic football team. And if you think we’ve left any player out who deserves a mention – no doubt we have – then let us know in the comments.

Otherwise, get out there and get practicing!

gaelic football positions

 


Retro GAA Jerseys: A look back in time

Nothing beats seeing some classic retro GAA jerseys to provoke those emotions deep inside of you of those great days that piece of cloth represents.

There’s no doubt about it, donning a classic GAA jersey from your county will make you stand out from the crowd, whether you’re in the Hogan Stand in Croke Park, MacHale Park, Páirc uí Chaoimh, Semple Stadium or Gaelic Park in New York City.

Unfortunately, getting your hands on vintage GAA jerseys was once as difficult as predicting the lotto numbers.

Until now.

So, to celebrate the release of the new Retro GAA Jerseys range at Intersport Elverys, we’re looking back on some of the most iconic moments of which each of the jerseys represent.

We’ll have memorable moments, and some not so memorable, from Mayo GAA, Dublin GAA, Galway GAA, Clare GAA, Tipperary GAA and Cork GAA.

Before you start, you also might enjoy our Top National League Moments Blog.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

 

 

The Rebels ambush Mayo (1989 Mayo GAA Retro Jersey)

Cork 0-17 Mayo 1-11

The year 1989 signalled a first All-Ireland Final for Mayo GAA since the winning Sundays of 1950 and 1951. 

A young John O’Mahoney was at the helm for the Green and Red and oversaw an unexpected victory over Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final.

A game made famous by that iconic photo of the great Willie Joe Padden, looking bloodied but unbowed with a bandage strapped around his head, when he produced one of his best ever displays. 

Who can forget it?

Mayo retro GAA jerseys

Mayo were back in the showpiece event in the GAA calendar and every man, woman and child made the trip to the capital to see the likes of Liam McHale, TJ Kilgallon, WJ Padden, Jimmy Burke, Dermot Flanagan and Kevin McStay strut their stuff on the sacred Croke Park turf.

And when substitute Anthony Finnerty struck the net four minutes into the second half to put Mayo ahead for the first time in the game, the 65,000 people packed into Croke Park were rocking.

The Mayo faithful dared to dream. 

When Finnerty lined up a kick for what looked a certain goal soon after, the writing looked on the wall.

However, Mayo dreams were short lived as the experienced Cork side, driven on by Larry Tompkins, Teddy McCarthy and Co, kicked their way to the Sam Maguire and Mayo were left pondering the ‘what ifs’.

It would be the start of a storied journey in Mayo GAA history. 

 

Magical Mayo end Galway’s reign (1999 Mayo GAA Retro Jersey)

Mayo 1-14 Galway 1-10

AN incredible 31,000 plus supporters crammed into every nook and cranny of Tuam Stadium for this blockbuster showdown between the reigning All-Ireland champions, Galway, and their old-rivals Mayo in 1999. 

They weren’t left disappointed either. 

Mayo retro GAA jerseys

Well, that’s if you’re from Mayo, because on that rainy day in Tuam John Maughan’s side beat the reigning All-Ireland champions for the first time 32 years to write a memorable chapter in Mayo GAA history.

Galway boasted talented forwards like Padraig Joyce, Ja Fallon and Michael Donnellan, but they faltered badly against a spirited Mayo who would not be beaten. 

Future Mayo manager James Horan produced a display for the ages and hit five huge points, Ciaran McDonald and Pat Fallon were sprung from the bench and changed the game, while David Nestor hit the deadly blow with a 28th minute goal. 

This was Mayo versus Galway, and Connacht Championship football, at its very best. 

 

The Rebels do the impossible (1990 Cork GAA Retro Jersey)

The year 1990 will go down in history as the greatest year ever in Cork GAA history after its footballers and hurlers won All-Ireland titles. 

Despite being five points down to Galway at half time in the All-Ireland Hurling Final on September 3, the Rebels would rally in the second half, thanks in part to some inspiring half-time words by their hurling-mad coach, Fr Michael O’Brien. 

Were they effective?

Cork retro GAA jerseys

Well, led by the likes of John Fitzgibbon, Tony O’Sullivan, Tomás Mulcahy and Kevin Hennessy, Cork ran out 5-15 to 2-21 winners and put the county on a cusp of immortality.

Two weeks later it was the footballers turn, who themselves were looking to make it back-to-back Sam Maguires. 

They couldn’t?

Despite being a man down after Colm O’Neill was sent off just before half time in the All-Ireland Football Final, Cork would go on to beat Meath by 0-11 to 0-9 in what was their third meeting in the final in four years.

Larry Tompkins would lift the Sam Maguire for the Páirc uí Chaoimh side that day, where Niall Cahalane would produce a marvellous man-marking role on Meath dangerman Colm O’Rourke. 

Few can forget their drubbing of rivals Kerry in the Munster Final that year too. 

The victory completed what most deemed ‘The Impossible’ – a county winning both football and hurling titles in the one year. 

It is an achievement that is likely never to be repeated again. 

 

Dublin and the 12 Apostles (1983 Dublin GAA Retro Jersey)

Dublin 1-10 Galway 1-8

Known as one of the worst, but one of the most remarkable All-Ireland Finals ever, where a 12-man Dublin defeated Galway in Croke Park. 

It was the 21st All-Ireland title for Dublin GAA and probably one of their hardest earned. Especially considering they played with only 12 men against 14 and a gale-force wind in the second half. 

That gave the team of heroes the apt name of Dublin’s Dirty Dozen.

Dublin retro GAA jersey

With tensions running high in the first half, what unfolded on the pitch were dubbed as disgraceful scenes with the spectacle marred by off-the-ball incidents.

Kevin Heffernan’s Dubs led by 1-5 to 0-2 at half time, but faced the Tribesmen and the conditions at the turn of ends. However, they held strong against the onslaught. 

Barney Rock was in inspired form that day and hit 1-6, Anton O’Toole lead the line, while Tommy Drumm would scoop the Player of the Year award. 

While a litany of bans were handed down by the GAA afterwards too. 

 

Galway’s Day of Deliverance (1980 Galway GAA Retro GAA Jersey)

Galway 2-15 Limerick 3-9

For more than half a century Galway sought the breakthrough in winning the Liam McCarty before it finally arrived on September 7, 1980. 

Cyril Farrell’s men were gallant in victory and some inspiring goalkeeping by Michael Conneely, who seemed invincible on the day, gave the Tribespeople the day they yearned for for so long. 

Galway retro GAA jersey

Before that, the Galway hurlers had lost nine All-Ireland Finals since 1923, with many suggesting a curse hung over them long before the Mayo footballers gained that unwanted-tagline.
Galway captain Joe Connolly gave a stirring speech on the Hogan Stand –  ás Gaeilge – after producing a momentous performance. His brother, John, was equally as influential and Bernie Forde was another stand-out performer. 

The West was well and truly awake. 

 

A Year ‘Til Sunday (1998 Galway GAA Retro GAA Jersey)

Galway 1-14 Kildare 1-10

After years of near misses and a barren spell that stretched back to the days of the famous three in-a-row 32 years previous, the Tribesmen landed that elusive Sam Maguire against Mick O’Dwyer’s Lilywhites. 

John O’Mahoney, in his first year in charge of Galway, wrote his name in the Galway GAA history books and was widely praised for the expansive style of football he had his team playing. 

A team before their time.

Galway retro GAA jersey

That’s easier too, when you incorporate the standard of footballer O’Mahoney had at his disposal.

Can you remember them?

The Galway supporters lucky enough to make it into Croke Park that day will remember Padraig Joyce’s stunning second half solo goal, Ray Silke and Séan Óg de Paor’s leadership from the half back line, Kevin Walsh and Ja Fallon’s inspirational second half displays and a man of the match performance from Michael Donnellan. 

The football faithful in Galway waited a long time for that day to come and, amazingly, the next arrived much sooner than expected.

 

English shines in Croker (1989 Tipperary GAA Retro GAA Jersey)

Tipperary 4-24 Antrim 3-9

One man stood out among many in Croke on All-Ireland Hurling Final day of 1989 and that is Nicky English.

The Tipperary hurler was simply unstoppable that day, hitting a record of 2-12 on his way to winning his first Celtic Cross and Tipperary’s first since 1971. 

Remember their opponents?

Tipperary retro GAA jersey

Antrim, appearing in only their second All-Ireland Hurling Final in their history, were coming in on the back of one of the biggest shocks in championship history after defeating Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final. 

English reinforced his name as one of the all-time greats that day, while midfielder Declan Carr was also heroic in defeating a spirited Saffron side, who can feel unlucky to score 3-9 in an All-Ireland Final and still lose.

Tipp’ captain Bobby Ryan then gave a rousing and emotional speech, where he thanked the management of Michael ‘Babs’ Keating, Donie Nealon and Theo English.

The famine in Tipperary was over.

 

Clare lay the ghost at last (1995 Clare GAA Retro GAA Jersey)

Clare 1-13 Offaly 2-8

“There’s been a missing person in Clare for 81 long years. Well today that person has been found alive and well and that person’s name is Liam McCarthy.”

The words of Clare captain Anthony Daly after the Banner county defeated Offaly in the All-Ireland Hurling Final are as iconic as winning speeches in the GAA come.

That was a real silverware famine.

Clare retro GAA jersey

Under Ger Loughnane’s regime, the Clare hurlers brought a different edge to their game in 1995 and players like Davie Fitzgerald, Brian Lohan, Seanie McMahon and Co became household names.

They also recorded a famous Munster Final win that year, their first in 63 long years. 

The Summer of 1995 will live long in the memories of Clare GAA people around the world and two years later the same crew returned to Croke Park and beat their neighbours, Tipperary. 

Winning is a habit, they say.

 

Conclusion

Of course, we’re not forgetting about the great days of Donegal GAA, Kerry GAA, Kilkenny GAA and Limerick GAA too, because we’ve also got retro GAA jerseys ranges from their most memorable eras. 

If you want to check them out, make sure you head over to Elverys.ie, where you can reminisce on the bygone days, or click on the following links…

We’d also love to hear your memories of all the retro GAA jerseys, so let us know in the comments below.

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