Sport Gaelic Football

Sunday 4 December 2016

20 great Ulster games from the last 20 years

Published 18/06/2011 | 05:00

1: Down 1-14 Derry 1-12 1994 quarter-final, Celtic Park: Arguably one of the greatest games of all time, not just in Ulster, but anywhere in the championship.

  • Go To

Derry, the 1993 All-Ireland winners, were favourites to beat the 1991 champions, whom they had demolished in the last eight a year earlier. However, Down produced the near-perfect display to win by two points, a success which set them on their way to a second All-Ireland title in four seasons.

2 armagh2-8 Tyrone 0-14 2005 final, Croke Park

A crowd of 60,186 turned out in Croke Park for Ulster's historic trip south and were rewarded with a memorable contest. Tyrone appeared to have taken a match-winning lead when they pulled four points clear with five minutes left, but Armagh's tenacity rescued them as Steven McDonnell scored a goal before a long-range point in stoppage time by Paul McGrane brought the sides level. Armagh won the replay.

3Armagh 1-12 Tyrone 1-12 2002 quarter-final, Clones

The start of the historic Armagh adventure. A fascinating encounter finished level after Sean Cavanagh scored a late goal for Tyrone, who had a great chance to win the game after that, but missed it. Oisin McConville and Steven McDonnell scored 1-8 between them for Armagh, while Sean Cavanagh and Peter Canavan countered with 1-6 for Tyrone.

4Down 0-13 Derry 1-10 1991 semi-final, Armagh Athletic Grounds

Down manager Pete McGrath described the first half as one of the finest periods of football he had ever seen. Down were majestic and when they extended their lead to seven points early in the second half, it looked a done deal. However, Derry fought back and actually took the lead late on with a brilliant point from Eamonn Burns before Ross Carr drilled a 55-yard free over the bar to draw level. Down won the replay and marched on to All-Ireland glory.

5 Donegal 0-14 Derry 1-9 1992 final, Clones

"The greatest display I've ever seen from a Donegal team," was Brian McEniff's immediate reaction to a win that set them on their way to a first All-Ireland success. Donegal had corner-back John Cunningham sent-off in the first half, but compensated superbly to outgun the league champions.

6Armagh 0-13 Tyrone 0-11 2005 final replay, Croke Park

Not one for the purists, it was still an absorbing game which traded on huge intensity. Tyrone led by four points at the three-quarters mark, by which stage Ciaran McKeever and Peter Canavan had been sent-off. Tyrone failed to score from there on, while Armagh scored 0-6. Tyrone had Stephen O'Neill sent-off (a harsh decision) in the 61st minute which may have cost them the game. They gained revenge in the All-Ireland semi-final, beating Armagh by a point.

7Down 1-19 Tyrone 0-21 2008 quarter-final replay (AET), Newry

A one-point defeat in extra-time in a replay -- any wonder Tyrone were disappointed? They would, of course, re-group in the qualifiers and go on to win the All-Ireland title. Tyrone led by four points in extra-time, but a fisted Benny Coulter goal sparked a Down revival which edged them to victory.

8 Cavan 1-14 Derry 0-16 1997 final, Clones

A first Ulster title for Cavan in 28 years as a Stephen King-captained, Martin McHugh-managed side held their nerve against more experienced opponents. The sides were level on no fewer than eight occasions in the first-half alone, but a second-half goal by substitute Jason Reilly steeled Cavan for a powerful surge which saw them finish strongly and edge home by a point.

9Armagh 1-12 Derry 1-11 2000 final, Clones

A second one-point win for Armagh over Derry in two seasons as they retained the Ulster title. Armagh led by five points midway through the second-half, but two points and a Johnny McBride goal brought Derry level before Oisin McConville pointed a difficult free which secured victory.

10Armagh 2-13 Tyrone 0-16 2002 quarter-final replay, Clones

Back to Clones a week later after the hectic drawn encounter and, this time, Tyrone were severely handicapped by the absence of the injured Peter Canavan. However, they still did well, but goals from John McEntee and Barry Duffy were crucial as Joe Kernan's squad landed their first big punch of what would be a historic campaign.

11Tyrone 3-7 Derry 0-14 2001 semi-final, Clones

Tyrone led by a point at half-time before goals from Brian Dooher and Stephen O'Neill gave them a seven-point lead at the three-quarter stage. However, Derry battled back powerfully on the home stretch, but time ran out on them. They would later beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

12Armagh 1-10 Derry 0-12 1999 semi-final, Clones

A game of fluctuating fortunes from very early on when Gary Coleman's penalty kick was turned over the bar by Armagh goalkeeper Benny Tierney. It set the scene for a fascinating encounter which was finally settled with a late point from Diarmaid Marsden.

13Down 0-15 Tyrone 2-7 1998 preliminary round, Omagh

Tyrone were without a number of their top performers, including Peter and Pascal Canavan, but still came close against Down, for whom Ross Carr was man-of-the-match after kicking 0-5 from open play. Tyrone led by a point at half-time, but Down were marginally the better side in the second period and they emerged victorious by a couple of points.

14 Armagh 4-8 Fermanagh 1-16 1993 preliminary round replay, Athletic Grounds

Never mind the quality, feel the drama. Fermanagh were leading by 1-15 to 1-7 after 68 minutes and with Armagh a man down (Dominic Clarke had been sent-off in the first half), their case looked hopeless. Enter sub and championship debutant Denis Hollywood, who scored 2-1 in just over three minutes before Paul Grimley struck a fourth goal to complete one of the most famous comebacks in Ulster history.

15Donegal 1-11 Tyrone 0-9 2004 semi-final, Clones

Games can be memorable for all sorts of reasons and this one scores on the basis that it marked a great day for Donegal, who downed the reigning All-Ireland champions. What's more, they did it after having defender Niall McGready sent-off before half-time. They were trailing by a point at the time, but turned in an industrious second half to win by five points.

16Tyrone 1-15 Monaghan 1-13 2007 final, Clones

Six points behind after seven minutes, Monaghan seemed set for a hiding, but they battled back and had cut the deficit to two by half-time. Tyrone stretched on again to lead by eight points after 45 minutes, but Monaghan dug in for a brave last quarter which came very close to saving the day.

17Derry 0-14 Antrim 2-8 2000 semi-final, Casement Park

Antrim won their first championship game for 18 years when beating Down in the quarter-final and seemed set to reach the final when a late free against Derry was dropping just over the bar. However, Anthony Tohill rose high to flick the ball to safety. Antrim had recovered from a seven-point interval deficit, thanks in the main to two goals from Kevin Brady, but were denied by Tohill's late intervention and lost the replay.

18Tyrone 1-17 Down 4-8 2003 final, Clones

If you score four goals in a provincial final, you expect to win. Down managed the former, but not the latter. They led by 3-8 to 0-8 after 45 minutes, but Tyrone calmly reined them in, hitting 1-6 without reply. A second Dan Gordon goal put Down back in front, but Tyrone countered with three points to earn a draw. They won the replay by 15 points.

19Down 2-14 Tyrone 0-15 1999 semi-final, Casement Park

Down trailed by six points after 26 minutes but Down pared back four before half-time and won the second half by 2-7 to 0-6, both goals coming from full-forward Ciaran McCabe, who also kicked 0-3.

20Cavan 1-14 Down 2-10 2001 quarter-final, Casement Park

Heavy defeats by Derry over the previous two years had rocked Cavan confidence but they came good on this occasion. Dermot McCabe and Peter Reilly were outstanding for Cavan as they edged past Down, for whom Michael Walsh scored 1-4.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport