GAA

Who's Your County's 'Bogey Team' In Gaelic Football? - Find Out Here

Who's Your County's 'Bogey Team' In Gaelic Football? - Find Out Here

Bogey teams are there to be dreaded. They can be small teams who should not be troubling you but often do or they can be big teams who, even taking into account their superiority, have an abnormally high success rate against you.

Some counties (Kerry, Galway, Cork, Kildare) have obvious stand-out bogey teams. Others are harder to discern and involve marginal calls. Broadly speaking, we have gone, where possible, on form in recent years in determining who is a side's bogey team.

The rationalists will dismiss this as old wives' nonsense (largely it is) but it still occupies a hold on people's imagination.

Here is a list of every county in the country and their bogey team (we are open to argument or correction here - owing to the haphazard manner in which GAA stats and historical results are collected - logged as they are in bits and pieces in thousands of match programmes - it has proven difficult to get an exact read, but we think we've done our best.

If anyone can give us a steer on Clare or Antrim, it would be much appreciated. We are indebted to the Telegraph, who were the inspiration behind this particular post.

Connacht

Mayo
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Bogey team: Kerry

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It's difficult to overlook Meath for this tag after the 1996 All-Ireland final saga (deserves a novel length book all on its own surely) and Cork dished out some bad beatings to Mayo in 1993 and 1999, along with the All-Ireland final of 1989.

But it has to be Kerry.

Since Mayo's victory over Kerry in the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final, Mayo have lost three All-Ireland finals to the same opposition, one All-Ireland quarter final in 2005, a rather unmemorable All-Ireland semi-final in 2011 and a very memorable (and not just because it's a few months ago) All-Ireland semi-final in 2014.

The reaction to the latest defeat among the Mayo twitter community suggests they now cannot stand the sight of Kerry (and Kieran Donaghy in particular).

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Galway

Bogey team: Dublin

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Very easy one this.

Galway have a poor record against Kerry in the modern era, but ask anyone who remembers the 1960s, and they will tell you Galway could make a claim to being Kerry's bogey team. Galway also have a reasonably strong record against Ulster sides, particularly Armagh and Derry and, while they lost to Donegal twice in the 2000s, they were the scourge of Brian McEniff's Donegal back in the 70s and 80s.

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Fortunately for Galway, they haven't met their actual bogey team for some time. Between 1963 and 1983, Galway lost three All-Ireland finals and one All-Ireland semi-final to the metropolitans.

Before the westerners embarked on their famous three in a row, they lost the '63 All-Ireland to Des 'Snitchy' Ferguson and co, Dublin's last All-Ireland win before they drifted into the wilderness for the rest of the decade.

Galway were favourites going into the 1974 All-Ireland final but Heffo's army made the fairytale happen and won by five points, condemning Galway to a third All-Ireland final defeat in four years. Two years later, Galway were defeated in an All-Ireland semi-final by the Dubs.

And then, there's 1983.

Dublin were such a bogey team for Galway that they only needed 12 players to do them that year (in the interests of fairness and full disclosure, Galway were down too 14 for most of the game too).

Usually when you reach an All-Ireland final, you have won your provincial title and it will, when the disappointment has subsided, be marked down as a good year. Not so in Galway where 1983 is considered one of the blackest years ever. Nightmare stuff.

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Sligo

Bogey team: Leitrim

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Big call here. Given their meagre haul of provincial titles, it's only in recent times that Sligo have begun competing with counties outside Connacht and so the bogey team has to come from within the province. They have a poor enough history with Roscommon (given that the two counties are roughly the same size) but have beaten them a few times in the modern era.

They went over three decades without beating Galway (and lost to them 6-18 to 0-4 in 1990 - Christ!) but their record against them in the past eight years is very good indeed. Meanwhile, they've knocked out Mayo in 2000 and in 2010 and their losses have usually been narrow.

That leaves Leitrim, to whom they've lost twice in 2005 and 2011 - Leitrim's only wins in the province since the qualifiers began.

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Roscommon

Bogey team: Galway

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There's no other sport in Roscommon only Gaelic football so they're bound to give it everything. Twenty Connacht titles is a decent haul.

They have roughly the same record against both Mayo and Galway. Since 2001, they have lost six championship games in a row to both teams - but we'll plump for Galway given that the Tribesmen haven't exactly pulling up trees for most of that time.

But as that professional Roscommon fan/hairdresser Paddy Joe Burke has informed people 'even when Roscommon don't win, they win'. The big two in Connacht would do well to bear that in mind before they start crowing too hard.

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Leitrim 

Bogey team: London

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Leitrim are the only team in Connacht, and indeed in Ireland, to have lost twice to London - last year of course, but also back in 1977. They've also been taken to extra-time more than anyone else on their trips to Ruislip. It is hard to discern any pattern elsewhere in the province. Back in the early 90s, they floundered a couple of times against Roscommon when they had the beating of them,  but eventually bested them in 1994 and surprised them in Hyde Park in 2000.

 London
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Bogey team: Galway

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London have accumulated a fair portion of bogey teams. Galway win out by virtue of the fact that they are possibly the only team in Connacht who have yet to receive any sort of scare in Rusilip. Even James Horan's Mayo needed extra-time to squeeze out of there in 2011. London were on a high after last year's championship and faced Galway in this year's opener. The result was a 3-17 to 0-7 trouncing.

 

Munster

Cork
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Bogey team : Kerry

coopThere could never have been any doubt here.

There has been one force holding back Cork football for several decades now (well two, if you include the apathy of their supporters) and that's their football obsessed neighbours. Hell, between 2005 and 2010, (a period during which the backdoor was in operation and just one All-Ireland was mined) Cork lost to no one other than Kerry in the championship.

Kerry

Bogey team: Down

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The instinctive reaction is to say Tyrone here but that is a modern fixation and Kerry have at least beaten them in the 2012 championship and back in the 1986 final.

No, the answer is the only team against whom Kerry have a 0% record in the championship. During the '60s, Down beat them three times, first in the 1960 All-Ireland final, then in the following year's semi-final and once more in the 1968 final.

Kerry went on to sweep all before them in the 70s and 80s, but Down very wisely decided to disappear off the Croke Park scene during those years, only to re-emerge when a fragile Kerry, still in the midst of a decade long slump, clawed their way back to an All-Ireland semi-final in 1991. That semi-final saw Mickey Linden and Peter Withnell dispatch Morgan Nix and co. in a game which heralded the end of Pat Spillane's career.

And then to seal Down's fate as Kerry's ultimate bogey team, they emerged pretty much from nowhere to stun a hugely experienced and successful Kerry team in the 2010 quarter final.

 Tipperary

Bogey team: Galway

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Picking out bogey teams among the non-big two in Munster is largely a pointless exercise, given that the same two teams have been battering them year on year for a very long time now. Leaping outside the province, and with Tipp football in a resurgent phase, the award for Tipp's bogey team goes to Galway, purely on the basis that they have knocked them out of the last two championships.

Limerick

Bogey team: Kerry

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Obvious we know, but Limerick would have won a few Munster titles in the past decade were it not for Kerry standing in their way.

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Clare

Bogey team:   No discernible one

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Clare have no obvious stand-out bogey team. Their record with Limerick is 50/50 and their record against the big two is largely identical, having recorded victories of Kerry and Cork in the 1990s, Kerry in the 1992 Munster Final and Cork in the first round in 1997.

Waterford

Bogey team:  Carlow

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Waterford lose a lot of foootball matches. The fact that this extends to losing to Carlow is indeed shocking and so on that basis, we award Carlow the tag of Waterford's bogey team.

 

Leinster

Dublin

Bogey team: Kerry

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Despite the last two games, Kerry still have to be considered Dublin's bogey team given the 34 years of pain the Dubs suffered at their hands between 1977 and 2011.

Meath tormented them in the late 80s and late 90s, but aside from that the Dubs have been utterly dominant. Mayo beat them in the 2006 and 2012 semi-finals, and Donegal have beaten them twice in monumental encounters, but Kerry remain the bogey outfit.

Meath

Bogey team:  Offaly

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Difficult to identify Meath's bogey team - they are not the sort of county that have traditionally been spooked by too many teams. Longford beat them twice in the early 80s, but then so did many teams back then. Galway have beaten them in two All-Ireland finals, but in recent times, Meath have won two tight qualifiers against the westerners. While Wexford are often exalted as Meath's bogey team, by people with particularly vivid memories of the 2008 game in Carlow.

But, we've plumped for Offaly on the basis that they twice unseated Meath as All-Ireland champions in 1997 and 2000.

 

Kildare

Bogey team: Louth

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Kildare have had a horrendous record against both Dublin and Meath for much of the past three decades, but then perhaps this is not surprising.

What's more surprising is their record against Louth. On four occasions in the last 25 years, Kildare have been dumped out of the championship by Louth, a team typically regarded as their inferior. They spoiled Micko's first game in charge in 1991. During Dermot Earley Sr's unsuccessful time over Kildare, Louth beat them again in 1995, in a 2007 qualifier which led John Crofton to resign, and once more in 2010.

It should be acknowledged that Kildare have beaten them in the past two seasons, but, on balance, Louth remain their bogey side.

 

Offaly

Bogey team: Roscommon

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Tough one this because Offaly are themselves so often touted as a bogey team for a number of counties, Meath, Wexford, Westmeath, Longford, Kildare... Sadly these days they don't give too many teams rude shocks.

In the absence of too much hard data, we'll fall back on the good people of the Offaly GAA forum who have agreed that Roscommon are the closest they have to a bogey team - purely on the basis of League form.

 

Laois

Bogey team: Tipperary

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Difficult too discern exactly who are Laois's bogey team in Leinster. They've had a few fair old ding dongs with Louth over the years and they may never forget Wicklow after the battle of Aughrim.

Leaning on the modern period however, they have been dumped out of the championship twice this decade by Tipperary so we'll plump for them.

 

Westmeath 

Bogey team : Meath

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There can be little argument here. Westmeath have yet to beat Meath in the championship after 130 years of trying. In 2001, they had them at their mercy but Dessie Dolan missed a very straightforward free in the last minute and it wasn't to be. The replay went the way it was always going to.

 

Longford

Bogey team: Wexford

Offaly and Laois have both staked claims to this title in the past, but Longford have beaten both sides in Leinster in recent years. But one team they absolutely cannot beat these days is Wexford.

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In each of the past three years, Longford have fallen to Wexford. On each occasion they could easily have won. In 2012, they led by four points with five minutes remaining and proceeded to lose by a point. In 2013, they were beaten in extra-time in a game mainly remembered for the melee which saw the Longford physio Davy Hare throw his glasses away before jumping into the fray.

While this year, they were second best for long periods, but a late goal put them a point ahead with only minutes left. However, Wexford proved stronger in the final moments and grabbed victory. A familiar story.

 

Wexford

Bogey team: Carlow

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The Wexford People are adamant that Carlow are Wexford's bogey team and that's good enough for us. Wexford great Mattie Forde told the paper before a game against Carlow in 2004

We would probably have been happier playing one of the more recognised teams first, like Offaly or Kildare. Carlow have been a bit of a bogey team for us over the last couple of years, having denied us promotion to the top division in 2002.

They've shipped some frightful beatings against the Dubs but also run them close on occasion.

Louth

Bogey team: Meath

melo

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Louth have troubled Kildare many, may times over the years. Meath are a different story. It's 39 years now since they beat them. Joe Sheridan and Martin Sludden ensured it would go beyond 35 years.

To add insult to injury the following year Cian Ward banged in five goals against them.

They also shipped defeats against their neighbours in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Carlow

Bogey team: Laois

laois

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Another county with a long list of potential bogey teams. We'll plump for Laois on the basis of the sheer number of times the two sides have met in the championship, all of which seem to end in Laois victory.

Carlow scraped a replay in 1995 after a dozy umpire waved the white flag for a Laois wide in the final minute, prompting the Carlow manager to run onto the pitch in dismay, arguing with all and sundry. The gallant folk of the Laois county board offered a replay. Showered with plaudits from all and sundry, they went and won by six points.

Wicklow

Bogey team: Armagh

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Wicklow have been beaten by Carlow twice in the championship since the turn of the Millennium but have gotten the better of them a couple of times recently.

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As a result, Carlow are pipped to this tag by Armagh who beat Wicklow in 2011 and 2013. These results were expected perhaps but the scoreline in 2013 was ludicrously embarrassing.

Ulster

Tyrone

Bogey team : Mayo

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Tyrone, like so many Ulster teams, have that cold scientific air about them combined with an implacable belief, which means the 'bogey team' notion doesn't interest them for very long.

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If one county deserved the tag of Tyrone's bogey team, it would be Mayo, who defeated them in the All-Ireland semi-finals of 1989 and 2013, and surprised them in the 2004 quarter-final, when Tyrone were reigning champions.

Derry

Bogey team: Longford

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Derry people reacted with disbelief when Longford banished them from this year's championship up in Celtic Park. 'I can't believe we've been beaten by f***ing Longford!' was the common refrain.

If they'd studied the recent history, they'd have had no trouble believing it. The victory this year marked the third time Longford have knocked Derry out of the championship in less a decade. 'Fortress Pearse Park' was the scene of two other sickening Derry defeats in 2006 and 2012.

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Fermanagh

Bogey team : Cavan

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'We've got 39, you've got fuck all' is the taunt that, I'm reliably informed, Cavan people lob at Fermanagh supporters (it refers to Ulster title victories) and there's no denying it.

This is a similar story to the Carlow-Laois rivalry. Two neighbouring counties who seem to play each a lot with the same side winning the whole time. 2010 remains Fermanagh's only victory in the fixture for some time. They achieved the distinction of losing twice to Cavan in the same season in 2013.

Cavan
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Bogey team:  Roscommon

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In this year alone,  Roscommon have beaten Cavan in two important matches. Cavan were felled in the Division 3 final having entered the game as roaring favourites, while the qualifier game in Breffni Park was one way traffic, with a Cavan team who probably lost any real interest after their Ulster championship exit going out limply on a scoreline of 0-16 to 0-5.

The two teams met in the 2007 Division 2 semi-final in Croke Park. The Rossies, not exactly in rude health at that point, won by five points.

Donegal

Bogey team: Armagh

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Armagh earn the tag of Donegal's bogey team through having generally avoided meeting them in the past few years (excepting this year's tight quarter-final) During the 2000's, Armagh regularly defeated, beating in three Ulster finals in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Armagh

Bogey team: Monaghan

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While Armagh enjoyed a run of wins against Monaghan in the mid-2000s, they have lost the last three championship encounters between the sides, in 2009, 2010 and 2014. If one wants to cast one's mind back further (much further in fact), Monaghan have won the only three Ulster finals between the pair, in 1917, 1927 and 1939.

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Monaghan 

Bogey team: Tyrone

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Monaghan defeated Tyrone this year for the first time in 26 years, bringing to an end a long grinding run of defeats against their near neighbours.

 Down

Bogey team: No discernable one

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Like Offaly, Down have traditionally been regarded as cool customers who gave other teams the jitters rather than one who suffered from such complexes themselves. The last couple of decades have largely been hard going though.

Old timers say that Down used to be Armagh's bogey team. The last twenty years has seen a reversal with Armagh largely bossing the fixture.

Antrim

Bogey team: No discernible one

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Antrim's era of dominance in Ulster ended in 1913. Since then they have largely been losing - to everyone up there. There is no real identifiable bogey team.

 

 

 

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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