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The 5 Biggest August Upsets In GAA Championship History

The 5 Biggest August Upsets In GAA Championship History
Balls Team
By Balls Team
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August is a fairly crucial month in the GAA calender these days. We reach the quarter-final stage in the All-Ireland football championship - a bumper bank holiday weekend of football which has produced scores of great games and a hail of shocks.

Upsets are harder to come by in the All-Ireland hurling championship semi-finals (you are deep in the business end at that stage) but when they happen, they are remembered...

5. Galway v Cork, 1985 All-Ireland hurling semi-final


The 1985 All Ireland hurling semi-final was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly because it had the novelty of managers actually coming on as substitutes.

Cork were the reigning All Ireland champions and strong favourites going into the match. However, under the tutelage of Cyril Farrell, Galway managed to pull off a massive upset. The match was played in poor weather conditions, in front of a crowd of just 8,000 in Croke Park, with Galway winning 4-12 to 5-5.

It was only Galway's third ever victory over Cork in the Championship and while Cork would exact revenge in the 1986 final - Galway's second All Ireland final defeat in a row - the Tribesmen would succeed in winning Liam McCarthy in 1987 and 1988.

4. Kerry v Meath, 2001 All-Ireland football semi-final



That Meath won the game was only a mild surprise. Many of the shrewder pundits had been tipping them to unseat the 2000 All-Ireland champions in the build-up.

However, the manner of the victory was deeply shocking. On a dark day for Kerry football, Meath won on an almost unthinkable scoreline of 2-14 to 0-5.

Towards the end, the Meath supporters celebrated every perfunctory fist pass with ironical but joyous cheering.


After Meath were themselves upended by Galway in a surprisingly one-sided All-Ireland final, Boylan recalled the moment the Meath supporters celebrating the final minutes of the semi-final as the moment when a bad feeling settled in his stomach.

3. Down v Kerry, 2010 All-Ireland football quarter-final




Down supporters with long memories and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Gaelic football history probably weren't surprised by the events of August 2010 - owing to their county's strange hex over the Kerry footballers.


But the rest of the football world, sceptical about the relevance of games played in the 1960s and early 1990s, were caught unawares by Down's demolition of Kerry on a soggy day in Croke Park.

It meant that the 2009 All-Ireland champions wouldn't be playing in September for the first time since 2003.


Mark Poland rammed home a goal in the opening minute and Down shot into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead. Kerry rallied somewhat but never really got within arm's length of their ebullient opponents.

By the end, it wasn't just the result that was surprising, but the relatively comfortable nature of the win.

2. Fermanagh v Armagh, 2004 All-Ireland football quarter-final



A bank holiday weekend rich in surprises saw the All-Ireland finalists from the previous season banished from the championship.

A resurgent Mayo swaggered past Tyrone and even more surprisingly, Fermanagh, the only team in Ulster who have yet to collect the Anglo-Celt Cup, outscored their more high profile provincial rivals Armagh in the other quarter-final.

Tom Brewster kicked the winning score to give Fermanagh a 0-12 to 0-11 and sparked the wildest of celebrations.


1. Antrim v Offaly, 1989 All-Ireland hurling semi-final


It was expected to be the tame curtain raiser to the Tipperary-Galway clash, the repeat of the previous year's All-Ireland final, but it produced one of the biggest stories of the 1980s.

Antrim hung close to Offaly in the early stages and when neutrals assumed that the Leinster champs would pull away towards the end of the first half, an Aidan McCarry goal pegged them back.

In the second half, Antrim's full forward line ran riot, with captain Ciaran Barr causing havoc and Olcan McFetridge snaffling two goals.

By the time, Aidan McCarry banged in the fourth goal to put Antrim 4-14 to 1-15 ahead, it had become clear that Antrim would reach their first All-Ireland final in 46 years - when they beat Galway by the novel scoreline of 7-00 to 6-2 in a game played in Corrigan Park in Belfast.

The Offaly players formed a guard of honour as a mark of respect to their unlikely conquerors, and Antrim manager Jim Nelson was chaired off the pitch.

Antrim took their place in the All-Ireland final, an achievement which inspired the then leader of the British Labour party, Neil Kinnock to attend his first All-Ireland hurling final.

Nothing can top the anticipation and buzz of being part of these big days. Tickets on sale now at gaa.ie/tickets, selected Supervalu and Centra stores and usual outlets.

GAA. Be There. All The Way.



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