By the end of 2009, it was the biggest debating point of the decade. Just who were the team of the noughties - Kerry, who won five All-Irelands and participated in eight finals or the resurgent Tyrone, who overcame the psychological hurdle of never having lifted Sam, to win three in the space of six years.
In numerical terms, the only answer to the question was Kerry, but northerners took particular glee in reminding them that they never beat Tyrone in a big championship match that decade.
However, one team is missing from this discussion and they had the potential to be there. They are the team responsible for Tyrone's comparatively paltry haul of provincial titles that decade. But they only claimed one All-Ireland themselves.
Enda McNulty, sports psychologist and one-time All-Ireland winning corner back, tells Irish Tatler that Armagh were the most talented team of the era.
That team, without a doubt, was a failure.
We’ll go to our grave with that regret. Armagh were in a position to win nine All-Irelands and we won one. You might say to me, ‘Enda, that’s not very positive.’ No, but it’s realistic. That team had the leaders, had the skill, the adversity-quotient, the power, the physicality, the defence, the scorers.
It is a disgrace that team only won one All-Ireland.
Armagh won their only All-Ireland in 2002 and reached the final the following year. Their most visual talents in the forwards were Oisin McConville, Steven McDonnell, Ronan Clarke and Diarmuid Marsden.
It’s not about the other actors on the stage being better; we didn’t do it. As good as Kerry and Tyrone were, we lost to weaker teams. We were good enough on those big days that we lost. We were six points up at one stage against Kerry in the quarter-final in 2006. Against Meath in 1999 (All-Ireland semi-final), we were good enough to win that, so therefore we were good enough. There were days, weeks and months where I found it difficult to get out of bed. After Tyrone in ‘05 (All-Ireland semi-final), Kerry ‘06 and Derry ‘07 (first-round qualifier), I literally struggled to get out of bed.