For much of Donegal's revolution under Jim McGuinness their 2010 All-Ireland qualifier defeat in Crossmaglen was always a neat reference point.
Ten of the team that started that day would start an All-Ireland final against Mayo two years later. Three more would have an involvement in both games.
Right up to the end of last year the core of that 2012 team remained set in stone. For the 2016 championship only Paul Durcan and Ryan Bradley had departed with Rory Kavanagh back, having retired after the 2014 All-Ireland final.
But the inevitable break-up gathered pace yesterday when Kavanagh, for a second time, Christy Toye and David Walsh all cut their ties, following on from Colm McFadden and Karl Lacey last summer and Anthony Thompson who, the indications are, will not be back.
The class of 2010, those involved in that nine-point defeat to Armagh, has more than halved in the space of a few short months.
In Donegal's case, it's been a natural erosion of experience. McGuinness inherited a team with plenty of experience, applied a few new parts and took off in spectacular fashion.
But this decade has seen quite an erosion of the inter-county playing pool on almost all other fronts.
By our count, one in four of the approximate 760 players who played football for 32 counties in the 2010 championship are no longer available or required. By county, the average number of survivors is just under six from the average of 24 players who featured in championship games that year.
Effectively it has taken just six years to change three-quarters of the inter-county playing personnel in Gaelic football. Injury, apathy, emigration, retirement and work have all ensured a crisp turnover in the years since the start of the last decade.
But perhaps the most striking feature of the list of those still standing is the identity of those counties who have undergone least change.
Not surprisingly, the three most consistent teams this decade have retained the most players in the six seasons since 2010.
All-Ireland success still eludes them and that probably explains why 12 of the 25 players Mayo used in just two matches in 2010, defeats to Sligo and Longford, still remain. The core of their team remains weighted with so much longevity.
Pat Gilroy overhauled Dublin for 2010 but 11 of the 25 players still stand, four All-Ireland titles later. Denis Bastick is among that figure with no public indication about his 2017 intentions but captain Stephen Cluxton is now the longest-serving player in terms of championship campaigns.
A few Kerry players have been mulling over decisions but their connection with 2010 remains at 10 while Monaghan, despite the departure of Dick Clerkin and Paul Finlay in the off season, still have nine from a year when they reached an Ulster final. Of all the top counties, Tyrone have undergone the most extensive change, just Seán and Colm Cavanagh, Cathal McCarron, Peter Harte and Justin McMahon, hanging in, seven season later.
There are a few outliers, most notably Laois with 10 still standing from a year when they went down to Tipperary in the qualifiers and Carlow with nine, a remarkable figure given the dearth of success at any level they have had.
Cork were All-Ireland champions and despite Paddy Kelly's recent retirement they still have eight.
By division, the top flight in 2017 retains most with 58 of the 189 players who represented the eight counties in 2010 with Division 3 holding on to 50. Division 4 teams have 41 with London not holding on to any.
There are some experienced players with links to 2010 back in some counties down the pecking order.
Derek Crilly, Andy McDonnell and Ronan Carroll have all presented themselves in Louth for action again after absences, Seanie Furlong is back in Wicklow, John Hayes in Clare, Ger Collins and Seamus O'Carroll in Limerick, Sean Armstrong in Galway, Aidan Walsh in Cork and even Joe Sheridan in Meath where a role as a goalkeeper is being earmarked for him.
Great survivors' list - the 191 footballers who played inter-county in 2010 and still standing
12 - Mayo: David Clarke, Donal Vaughan, Keith Higgins, Kevin McLoughlin, Tom Parsons, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon, Seamus O'Shea, Alan Freeman, Aidan O'Shea, Chris Barrett, Keith Higgins
11 - Dublin: Stephen Cluxton, Mick Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon, Cian O'Sullivan, MD MacAuley, Eoghan O'Gara, Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn, Denis Bastick, Kevin McManamon, Paddy Andrews.