Nine Championship meetings in fourteen years and some other memorable moments between Dublin and Tyrone.
When Ulster giants Tyrone audaciously made a B-line to warm up in front of Hill 16 in the 1984 All Ireland Semi Final, there were few people that imagined a move like this would spark a more than sorted affair between them and Dublin that would span the decades to come.
Dublin won that first encounter by nine points but the marker was laid, and one that only Mayo have replicated in the 34 years since.
Six years later Dublin would face Tyrone in an exhibition game on St. Patrick’s Day in the Toronto Skydome in front of a full house. And if the GAA had expected the event to be a shop window for football in the US and Canada, they got much more than they bargained for.
The game became infamous for head butts, crunching challenges, dangerous high tackles and flying fists, and while all this was probably highly entertaining for the spectators, it wasn’t swallowed too well but the organisation.
Dublin finally get their hands on Sam
Fast forward to 1995, a year that will remain in the hearts of every Dublin fan for the rest of their lives. The Dubs had waited twelve years, had contested four All Ireland finals in that time and were unsuccessful following their 1983 All Ireland win. And with Tyrone as their opponents, we knew it would be something special.
The Dubs won the final by the minimum, and Tyrone even had a point disallowed late in the game that could have sent the game to a replay. Charlie Redmond was booked twice by referee Paddy Russell but continued on playing for seven minutes.
The one on everyone’s lips
Eleven years later Healy Park staged the now famous “Battle Of Omagh”. Red cards were dished out by the half dozen, suspensions rained heavily after both sides clashed on numerous occasions, the worst being when Alan Brogan was dismissed and both sides ended up between the team benches sending stewards flying in every direction as selectors and officials tried in vain to break up the proceedings.
But outside of that, Dublin and Tyrone have certainly had some very memorable clashes for all the right reasons. In 2005 there was stalemate in the All Ireland Quarter Final, with both sides finishing 1-14 a piece, and the replay was era defining with Tyrone going on the win their second Championship of the noughties.
They’d face each other again in 2008, with Tyrone at the peak of their success, putting three goals past the Dubs in the Quarter Final finishing a whopping twelves points the better and again advancing and lifting the Sam Maguire.
There are many stories from that decade, and another from 2006 that Paul Caffrey has recounted many times. Dublin were about to join Tyrone on the pitch in Omagh for the warm up and as it was the first league game of the year it was customary to applaud the reigning All Ireland Champions before the game.
As Paul Clarke was laying out the cones for their warm up a steward of the ground advised him that they have to warm up “out there” and he pointed to the Car Park. It’s safe to say Dublin did not applaud the All Ireland Champions that day.
A year later, the teams would meet in the first ever floodlit game in Croke Park, and while the sides were on their best behaviour that night, Paul Caffrey still managed to pick up a one-game ban for a tussle with Ryan McMenamin as he left the field after a red card.
Gilroy’s reign and beyond
Dublin’s loss to Tyrone on the 2008 Championship spelled the end for Caffrey as Dublin manager. But under Pat Gilroy in 2010 and 2011, Dublin regained the upper hand, one they’ve not let slip since. Tyrone succumbed to the Dubs in two consecutive quarter finals, and in 2011 Dublin finally closed the fifteen year gap, lifting the Sam Maguire; a fete they’d repeat four more times in the decade.
Last year they faced Tyrone for the first time in the Championship since 2011, and Dublin were a different and even more dominant side, repeating the red hand for their twelve point defeat in 2008.
This Saturday, Healy Park will be the scene for what could be yet another huge chapter in this North and South rivalry.