Wednesday 13 December 2017

Stats not stacked in Blues' favour

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

DUBLIN have played more, drawn more and lost more All-Ireland football quarter-finals than any other county in the nine-year history of the new championship system.

They will play their 12th quarter-final on Saturday, having won only three of the previous 11 against Donegal in 2002 (replay), Westmeath (2006) and Derry (2007).

Having beaten Dublin, Kerry went on to win the All-Ireland title in 2004 and 2009, while Tyrone were successful in 2005 and 2008, so Dublin could contend that they haven't been particularly lucky in the draw. While their quarter-final return is disappointing, they are second behind Kerry when it comes to reaching the last eight.

Dublin missed out in 2003 when they lost to Laois in Leinster and to Armagh in the qualifiers, but have progressed every other year since the introduction of the new system in 2001.

Kerry are the only county to have qualified for the quarter-finals every year and have yet to lose any. A draw with Dublin in 2001 was the closest they came to missing out on a semi-final, but they won the replay and have remained on track ever since.

Down's advance this year brings to 19 the number of counties who have qualified for the quarter-finals. Antrim and Cavan are the only two from Ulster still to qualify; Offaly, Carlow, Louth, Longford and Wicklow have missed out from Leinster (Kilkenny don't compete). Leitrim are the only Connacht county awaiting a quarter-final place, while, from Munster, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford have still to make the breakthrough.

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