A Look Back To The Past With New Series The Championship Years

Dublin kick off their Leinster campaign this Saturday against the Wee County in Portlaoise, in a new series through the championship years we take a look back to the 1995 meeting between the sides.

It was a different time back in the GAA in the mid nineties, the back door system was still six years away from being introduced so every game was a knockout game, stadiums around the country were awash with colour as the staple of supporters match day attire was a flag in the Counties colours.

Dublin were reigning Leinster Champions heading into the game against Louth. They were still awaiting their first All Ireland title since 1983 and the majority of the 95’ squad had been at the coal face for a number of years.

Along the way they had suffered an All Ireland final defeat in 92’ to Donegal, All Ireland semi final defeat to Derry in 93’ and another All Ireland final defeat to Down in 94’.

Having been so close in the previous three years Dublin were again one of the favorites to lift the Sam Maguire Cup in 1995.

But with the age profile of the squad on the high side and some players getting near the end of their inter-county careers it was felt that it was now or never for this particular group to claim All Ireland glory.

The first step of course was retaining the Leinster championship. And the first step in accomplishing that was taking care of the challenge presented by Louth.

This was the fourth meeting between the teams in six years, Dublin were clear favourites going into the game but facing Louth in the opening game of the Leinster championship was a potential banana skin for Pat O’Neill’s side.

Louth had nothing to lose, they had one of the best forwards in the game Stefan White in their ranks and in the neutral setting of Páirc Tailteann in Navan there was the possibility that the Wee County might pull of the shock of the season.

Dublin manager Pat O’Neill gave a championship debut to Keith Galvin with the St Sylvesters man starting at corner back.

The Dubs started the gamely brightly and raced into a 0-07 to 0-01 lead inside the opening twenty minutes with some excellent points from Mick Galvin, Paul Clarke, Brian Stynes and Vinny Murphy.

Then came the introduction and senior championship debut of a man who was to play a big part in Dublin 95’ campaign as the baby faced Jason Sherlock entered the fray in place of Sean Cahill.

Sherlock made an immediate impact just a minute after his introduction to the action winning a penalty when he was dragged down in the small square. Up steeped Paul Clarke to take the spot kick, but his powerful shot was saved by Louth goalkeeper Niall O’Donnell who got down smartly to his right to palm the ball away.

Louth were struggling for scores but in the 28th minute a quickly taken free towards the edge of the square was punched to the net by Cathal O’Hanlon to get them back in the game.

Dublin led at the break but it got even better for Louth in the 45th minute when Stefan White cut through the Dubs defence and slid the ball past John O’Leary intonthe back of the net to leave just two points between the teams.

That was as good as it got though for the Wee County as they could only add a further point to their total and Dublin controlled the remainder of their Leinster championship quarter final with Dessie Farrell, Charlie Redmond and Mick Galvin hitting some wonderful points from playas the Dubs hit the afterburnersto hit five points in a row and claim the win on a scoreline of 0-19 to 2-05.

Dublin beat Laois in the Leinster semi final by 1-13 to 0-09, that game is famously remembered for the goal scored in that game by a bootless Jason Sherlock.

The Dubs went on to hand Meath a ten point hammering in the Leinster Final in Croke Park with the final score 1-18 to 1-08 with Paul Clarke grabbing the only goal of that game jumping high into the Dublin skies to brilliantly punch the ball to the net.

Dublin Scorers: C Redmond 0-09, P Clarke 0-02, M Gavin 0-02, K Galvin 0-01, P Bealin 0-01, B Stynes 0-01, D Farrell 0-01, V Murphy 0-01, J Sherlock 0-01

Louth Scorers: S White 1-01, C Kelly 0-04, C O’Hanlon 1-00

Dublin Team: J O’Leary, K Galvin, D Deasy, P Moran, P Curran, K Barr, M Deegan, P Bealin, B Stynes, S Cahill, V Murphy, P Clarke, C Redmond, M Galvin, D Farrell. Subs: J Sherlock for Cahill, J Gavin for Murphy, E Sheehy for Redmond.