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The Incredible Gaelic Football Moments That Didn't Make Our Top 16

The Incredible Gaelic Football Moments That Didn't Make Our Top 16

This week we have started our bracket, in assocation with Ladbrokes, to crown The Greatest Gaelic Football Moment of the 21st Century and, let me tell you, trying to narrow it down to a shortlist of 16 was not easy.

The last 16 round is currently open to a public vote onsite at the moment, but we thought we'd give a special mention to those moments that fell just short of making the bracket. In terms of the criteria, we decided that it must be intercounty and we could only choose one moment per match. The other important discussion we needed to have was around what makes a moment 'great' and the difference between a 'moment' and an 'achievement.' That's something we touched on in our bracket conversation on The Buildup podcast week, which you can listen to here.

After many arguments we finally settled on our last 16 but below you'll find some that were very unlucky to miss out.

Eoin Murchan's goal in the 2019 All-Ireland football final

It seems a bit crazy to not have the Dublin five-in-a-row achievement in the top 16 moments but they're victims of their own quality, given that the game was effectively over for the final few minutes. While it was a remarkable feat, the greatest moment probably came from Eoin Murchan's goal at the start of the second half in the replay.

It's obviously incredible and some of judging panel would still have it in the top 16 but, in the end, it came down to a choice between it or Dean Rock's last gasp free in 2017. Given the time in the match and everything that went with it, Rock was the clear winner in that argument.

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Tom Brewster sends Fermanagh into the All-Ireland semi-final

The year is 2004. Armagh have been in the last two All-Ireland finals and this time met little Fermanagh in the quarter-final - a county that had never made an All-Ireland semi-final in its history.

Deep in injury time, the sides are level. Last attack. Fermanagh flood foward. Tom Brewster knocks it over. Scenes!

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Declan Meehan scores the perfect Gaelic football goal

When it comes goals in All-Ireland finals, Seamus Darby's 1982 winner is obvious the greatest one of all-time when you judge it as a 'moment.' However, in terms of sheer quality then it's hard to top Declan Meehan's goal in the 2000 final replay against Kerry.

Like Murchan, Meehan fell just short when it came to deciding if the 'moment' was big enough but folks, this move is just so good to watch!

Roscommon's 75th minute winner in the 2001 Connacht final

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Roscommon had a few contenders for great moments but nothing can top the five minutes of injury time in the Connacht football final of 2001. In the first minute of additional time, David Nestor's goal put Mayo two points in front; enough for a big moment in its own right. But Roscommon came back again in what Tom O'Riordan aptly described as a "Hitchcock-like finale".

In the fifth minute of injury time, Gerry Lohan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Michael Donnellan vs Kerry 2001

To be honest this was nowhere near the top 16 but Feck it, it's too good not to watch again.

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Hillgate, Canavan comes back on and Michael Murphy's 2012 goal

So many of the great matches of the last 20 years produced multiple moments within them that were unforgettable. When narrowing the list down to 16, we decided to limit the shortlist to just one moment per match. Therefore the likes of Hillgate between Mayo and Dublin in 2006 fell by the wayside in favour of McDonald's winner later in the day.

Gormley pipped Peter Canavan coming back on in the 2003 final and, in terms of the Donegal 2012 All-Ireland win, the moment between Martin and Mark McHugh perfectly encapsulated what was a summer of moments for Donegal.

Other honourable mentions

We could be here all week talking about other great moments, so here's a quick list of some more that deserve a mention.

  • Sligo's 2007 Connacht win
  • Laois win the 2003 Leinster final
  • Mossy Quinn kicks two dead balls from 45m to beat Laois in 2005 Leinster final
  • Peter Harte scores from 400 yards out to win 2016 Ulster final
  • Wexford reach 2008 All-Ireland semi-final
  • Tipperary reach 2016 All-Ireland semi-final
  • Newbridge or Nowhere win for Kildare
  • Daniel Flynn's point against Dublin
  • Fionn Fitzgerald equalising point in 2015 Munster final
  • Donegal dethrone Dublin in 2014
  • London make the Connacht final in 2013
  • Kerry's resurrection vs Mayo in 2014 semi-final
  • Andy Moran goal v Kerry 2017
  • Mayo's own goals in the 2016 final
  • Conor McManus' point v Tyrone in 2018
  • Declan Meehan's goal vs Cork in 2013
  • Stephen O’Neill's goal v Mayo in 2004
  • Westmeath come from nine points down to beat Meath in 2015
  • Monaghan Ulster win in 2013
  • David Clifford goal v Monaghan in 2018
  • Tyrone tackling v Kerry in 2003
  • Kieran Donaghy's goal vs Armagh 2006
  • That Down goal in the 2010 All-Ireland semi-final
  • Cork beating the Dubs in the other 2010 semi-final
  • Umpteen other Dublin v Mayo moments
  • Umpteen other Dublin v Kerry moments
  • Umpteen other Kerry v Mayo moments

Even after all that there are probably others we've missed so please be sure to comment with your favourite football moments of the last 20 years. The vote for those that did make the shortlist will continue over the next week, with voting in the last 16 round open until Friday morning here and the quarter-final vote will be opening Friday afternoon onsite and across our social channels.

See Also: Vote For The Greatest Gaelic Football Moment Of The 21st Century

Mark Farrelly
Article written by
Balls Media Audience Development Manager. Former Miss World 1997 contestant.

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