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From Séamus Darby’s winner to Dean Rock’s nerves of steel - five of the best All-Ireland football finals since 1972

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Tyrone's Peter Canavan shoots to score his side's goal despite the attentions of Kerry's Tomas Ó Sé during the 2005 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tyrone's Peter Canavan shoots to score his side's goal despite the attentions of Kerry's Tomas Ó Sé during the 2005 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tyrone's Peter Canavan shoots to score his side's goal despite the attentions of Kerry's Tomas Ó Sé during the 2005 All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

1982: Offaly 1-15 Kerry 0-17

Its significance as the day when Kerry’s five-in-a-row ambitions were shot down by Séamus Darby’s late goal guarantees it a place in history, but there was a lot more to it than that. The quality of play was first class as the persistent challengers kept probing, even when it looked a lost cause.

Kerry appeared to have answered all the questions when moving four points ahead in the 64th minute before Offaly, who led by a point at half-time, struck for 1-2 in a dramatic finish.

2005: Tyrone 1-16 Kerry 2-10
It took Tyrone nine games, (five wins, three draws and a defeat by Armagh in the Ulster final replay) to reach the final, where they produced their best performance of the season.

They had beaten Kerry in a turgid 2003 All-Ireland semi-final but this was far more open and entertaining.

Clever use of Peter Canavan (he started the game, was replaced and later returned) proved hugely important as Tyrone won their second final in three seasons.

2017: Dublin 1-17 Mayo 1-16
This rivalry served up several excellent contests over the last decade, none better than the 2017 final. Con O’Callaghan scored an early Dublin goal, but Mayo responded impressively and led by a point (0-9 to 1-5) at the interval.

It was tight all through the second half which entered stoppage time with the sides level. It was down to free-takers in the closing minutes, with Cillian O’Connor missing for Mayo and Dean Rock angling over the winner.

1998: Galway 1-14 Kildare 1-10
A contest where enterprise and invention were top of the agenda. That was hardly surprising, given the philosophy of the respective managers, Mick O’Dwyer and John O’Mahony.

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O’Mahony had more flair to work with, especially in attack where Ja Fallon, Pádraic Joyce and Michael Donnellan were outstanding. Kildare had started as favourites after beating the three previous All-Ireland champions, but were overpowered in a second half which they lost 1-9 to 0-5.

2002: Armagh 1-12 Kerry 0-14
The occasion made it special as Armagh won the All-Ireland title for the first time.

It was also a very good game, with Kerry the better side in the first half, during which they opened up a four-point lead.

It was a sizeable deficit for Armagh to pare back, but they did it in an intriguing second half where they restricted Kerry to 0-3 while scoring 1-5, the crucial goal coming from Oisín McConville.


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