Thursday 30 March 2017

Taking stock of a decade of ups and downs

With just a week to go to the launch of competitive action for a new decade, is your county better or worse off than 10 years ago? Martin Breheny takes a look

Kerry

Jan 2000: Kerry won only one All-Ireland in the 1990s and were beaten by Cork in the 1999 Munster final.

Jan 2010: Five All-Ireland titles, three defeats in finals and two losses in semi-finals in 10 seasons underlines their consistency which has been helped enormously by the All-Ireland qualifiers. Kerry won considerably more All-Irelands than anybody else in the pre 'back-door' days so it was to be expected that they would do even better in a second chance situation.

Share price: +25pc.

Cork

Jan 2000: Reigning Munster champions and 1999 All-Ireland runners-up.

Jan 2010: Regarded as best equipped to break the Kerry/Tyrone All-Ireland monopoly. Unlike the 2000 side, Conor Counihan's squad have the back-door route to sustain them.

Share price: +10pc.

Limerick

Jan 2000: Seniors were going poorly but an excellent U-21 squad were on their way to winning a first Munster title and provide several players who would help Limerick come so close to making the senior breakthrough in 2004.

Jan 2010: Did well last year but have dropped to Div 4 in the NFL. Senior team is better than its counterpart of 10 years ago but the supply lines aren't as fluent which hits long term prospects.

Share price: -10pc.

Tipperary

Jan 2000: Reached three Munster senior finals in the 1990s but just couldn't make the breakthrough.

Jan 2010: Have worked their way up to Div 2, were runners-up in the last three Munster U-21 finals and in three of the last four minor finals. Also they have a clear plan in terms of how they aim to advance under John Evans.

Share price: +25pc.

Clare

Jan 2000: Coming off their best decade for years, reached the 2000 Munster final but haven't got near one since.

Jan 2010: "Clare football has slipped into the nether regions, wandering rather aimlessly, it would seem, in the lower echelons for far too long" -- this week's 'Clare Champion'.

Share price: -25pc.

Waterford

Jan 2000: Heading for a bottom-place finish in Div 2B after a big trimming by Limerick in Munster in 1999.

Jan 2010: They made good progress in recent years under John Kiely who has now handed over to John Owens.

Share price: +20pc.

Dublin

Jan 2000: It was five years since they had won an All-Ireland and Leinster title but Leinster was more competitive then, with Meath and Kildare strong.

Jan 2010: The enigma continues. Have dominated Leinster since 2005 but it hasn't led to any greater riches. In the same position as 10 years ago.

Share price: No change.

Kildare

Jan 2000: Made Leinster breakthrough in 1998 and were headed towards another provincial title in what was Kildare's best era for a long time.

Jan 2010: They have improved after a lengthy slump but are still quite some way behind the squad of a decade ago.

Share price: -10pc.

Meath

Jan 2000: Reigning All-Ireland champions, having won a second of the decade in 1999.

Jan 2010: Haven't reached a Leinster final since 2001 or a League final (Div 1) since 2000. Two All-Ireland semi-final appearances, courtesy of the 'back door' in '07 and '09 can't disguise the fact that their decline has been alarming.

Share price: -30pc.

Laois

Jan 2000: Seniors were on their way to promotion to Div 1 but had made no real impact in Leinster. Underage success pointed towards a power surge which arrived under Mick O'Dwyer in 2003. However, it didn't last.

Jan 2010: Have they bottomed out after a few turbulent seasons? Probably. There's hope for them if they can keep away from the self-destruct button.

Share price: +10pc.

Offaly

Jan 2000: Had come off an excellent second half to the 1990s when they won Leinster (1997) and NFL (1998) titles under Tommy Lyons.

Jan 2010: Decline has been steep and sustained. The last decade was their worst since the '50s at senior level.

Share price: -25pc.

Louth

Jan 2000: On their way to promotion to Div 1A (there were 16 teams in Div 1) but making no impression in Leinster.

Jan 2010: Now in Div 3, having lost altitude after a surge a few seasons ago but there are signs of an improvement.

Share price: No change

Westmeath

Jan 2000: Things were beginning to look up, driven by a vibrant underage scene which yielded an All-Ireland minor title in 1995 and an U-21 title in 1999. It would feed into what was Westmeath's best decade at senior level.

Jan 2010: Difficult to know where they stand but the signs are worrying. Nor have they made much impression at underage level in recent years.

Share price: -10pc.

Wicklow

Jan 2000: Hadn't won a Leinster championship game since 1996.

Jan 2010: Won four championship games and drew another (in ordinary time) last year as Micko's magic took them to the last 12 in the All-Ireland race. Wicklow football is now a different world to a decade ago.

Share price: +30pc.

Wexford

Jan 2000: Hadn't won a Leinster championship game since 1994. However, things were beginning to improve and Wexford went on to enjoy their best decade for a very long time.

Jan 2010: Who would have thought after they beat Ulster champions, Armagh in the 2008 All-Ireland quarter-final that they would win just one of their next 12 championship and League games. Still, as of now, they are considerably ahead of where they were 10 years ago, although some way back from the peaks of 2005-2008.

Share price: +20pc.

Longford

Jan 2000: Won just three Leinster championship games in the 1990s.

Jan 2010: In Div 4 but have shown well in the All-Ireland qualifiers and are definitely better than a decade ago.

Share price: +10pc.

Carlow

Jan 2000: Won just one Leinster championship game in the 1990s.

Jan 2010: Qualifiers haven't done much for them but at least they're guaranteed two championship games.

Share price: +5pc.

Galway

Jan 2000: All-Ireland champions in 1998, they were headed towards two years when they would lose and win the All-Ireland final.

Jan 2010: Joe Kernan's arrival has raised hopes but the reality is that Galway are a long way from where they were a decade ago.

Share price: -15pc.

Mayo

Jan 2000: Knee-deep in frustration having failed to clinch the All-Ireland deal from three attempts in 1996 (draw and replay) and 1997.

Jan 2010: Still frustrated after two more failed All-Ireland final attempts in 2004 and 2006. Still seems to be a case of one step forward... one step back.

Share price: No change

Roscommon

Jan 2000: On their way to the Div 1 League semi-final and regarded as serious Connacht title contenders.

Jan 2010: Joint favourites with Louth to be relegated from Div 3. On a broader front, they're a work-in-progress under Fergal O'Donnell but he doesn't have as much talent at his disposal as John Tobin had 10 years ago.

Share price: -15pc.

Sligo

Jan 2000: At the higher end of Div 1B and had come mighty close to toppling All-Ireland champions Galway in the 1999 Connacht championship.

Jan 2010: The peak of 2007 when they won the Connacht title win was followed by a swift decline but they arrested it impressively last year.

Share price: +5pc.

Leitrim

Jan 2000: Midtable in Div 2A and still reliant on their Connacht rivals to have an off-day in the championship.

Jan 2010: In Div 4 and still hoping for others to under-perform in Connacht

Share price: No change.

London

Jan 2000: Hoping for the odd win in the League; still chasing first championship win since the '70s.

Jan 2010: Ditto.

Share price: No change.

Tyrone

Jan 2000: A torrent of underage talent was about to be unleashed on a senior set-up that had stalled.

Jan 2010: Three All-Ireland titles since 2003 have opened up a whole new world. Plenty young talent trying to nudge their way into the action too.

Share price: +30pc.

Armagh

Jan 2000: Reigning Ulster champions and about to embark on their greatest decade.

Jan 2010: By comparison with their peak years last decade, they have dropped right back and don't match up to 2000 standards either.

Share price: -10pc.

Derry

Jan 2000: The 1998 Ulster champions were on their way to the NFL (Div 1 title) and were also highly regarded as All-Ireland contenders.

Jan 2010: Went through the entire decade without an Ulster title for the first time since the 1960s but do look to have real potential.

Share price: No change

Donegal

Jan 2000: All-Ireland winners in 1993 -- second half of decade disappointing.

Jan 2010: They have done well in the qualifiers and are probably a bit ahead.

Share price: +5pc.

Down

Jan 2000: On their way to relegation after a decade that brought them riches in the first half and disappointment from there on.

Jan 2010: There are some encouraging signs but whether they are more apparent than real remains to be seen.

Share price: No change.

Fermanagh

Jan 2000: Improving significantly and enjoyed best decade for a long time.

Jan 2010: Last year was disappointing after a fine 2008. Was it a one-off or a sign of something deeper? On the assumption that it's not, they're ahead of where they were 10 years ago.

Share price: +5pc.

Cavan

Jan 2000: On their way to promotion to Div 1 but had dropped a long way from the peak of 1997 when they won Ulster.

Jan 2010: Coming out of a poor decade and there are few signs of a significant advance from a long way back behind the main Ulster contenders.

Share price: -15pc.

Monaghan

Jan 2000: Had come out of a disappointing decade and took a long time to make progress.

Jan 2010: A Div 1 side, they are real contenders in Ulster. Much more advanced than they were 10 years ago.

Share price: +25pc.

Antrim

Jan 2000: Hadn't won in Ulster since 1982, although they ended that depressing run in the 2000 campaign.

Jan 2010: Ulster runners-up, they made dramatic progress last year and have the capacity to build on it.

Share price: +20pc.

Irish Independent

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