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Never Let Up - The Most Ridiculous Comebacks In Modern GAA History

Never Let Up - The Most Ridiculous Comebacks In Modern GAA History
By Balls Team
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We've gathered together eight of the most famous GAA comebacks in the modern history of the intercounty game. There are some classics from football and hurling here - and some you may have forgotten.

Eight of the best GAA comebacks of the modern age

Offaly v Limerick, 1994 All-Ireland hurling final

The 1994 All-Ireland was dribbling towards a forgettable conclusion. The only saving grace of a forgettable showpiece played out in front a half-built Cusack Stand would be the novel sight of Limerick claiming their first All-Ireland title in 21 years.

It remains stunning not for the margin that was overhauled but rather for the extent of the turnaround. The gap was only five points with five minutes remaining, but scores came dropping so slowly that an Offaly scoring burst barely seemed possible.

Billy Dooley was hauled down on the 21-metre line. Limerick were alert to the danger of the quick free. Johnny Dooley sought the advice of the bench. They told him to go for a point. The rest, as they say....


READ HERE: Split Season Means Gearoid Hegarty Can Shine In Limerick Junior D Soccer

Wexford v Meath, 2008 Leinster football championship

When Meath won the four in a row saga in 1991, it seemed like they had secured eternal immunity from the charge of 'bottling'.


During the Boylan years, they were the Nick Faldo and the Steffi Graf of the GAA, the great anti-bottlers. When a team, invariably the neutral’s favourite, was disintegrating before our eyes, they were the inscrutable guys on the other side of the net.

Therefore, it is a real indictment of the Meath generations that followed the great man that they are the losers in two games in this list.

Mattie Forde's finest hour.



Westmeath v Meath, 2015 Leinster football championship

Westmeath enjoyed the victory over Meath so much that they were already on the sun loungers when they met Fermanagh in a last 12 encounter.

With a massive half-time deficit and an oppressive losing tradition in the fixture, Westmeath's chances of victory were placed at nil. The half-time chat involved assessing how Meath would cope against the Dubs.


Perhaps these were the only circumstances in which Westmeath could break the Meath hoodoo. The craziness in the air by the final ten minutes made anything seem possible. Had they amassed a lead early in the game, their demons would have had ample team to grasp their throat.


READ HERE: Kerry Footballers Meet Celtic Boss After Old Firm Victory


Waterford v Kilkenny, 2020 All-Ireland hurling semi-final

The most memorable moment of the 2020 hurling championship saw Waterford produce a sensational fightback in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny.

Leinster champions Kilkenny went into the game as favourites, but a fast improving Waterford had high hopes of toppling Brian Cody's Cats.

At half-time, it looked like Kilkenny would be charging on to the final, having taken a huge seven-point lead into the break. With the score 2-11 to 0-10 at the interval, it seemed as though Waterford were on their way out.


The Déise rallied, however, and delivered a remarkable 2-17 to just 0-12 in the second half to win by four points and book their place in a second final in four years.

They would ultimately go on to lose comfortably to Limerick, but their semi-final win was a true highlight of the year, and one of the most comprehensive GAA comebacks in recent memory.

Cork v Galway, 1990 All-Ireland hurling final

This was first of six All-Ireland final defeats for Galway before they finally got over the line in 2017. The teams that followed, fairly or unfairly, had a reputation for mental frailty. And yet the county's most mystifying second half collapse occurred in the 1990 All-Ireland final, at a time when practically every member of their side already had a couple of All-Ireland medals.


Solid favourites heading in, it was anticipated they would put right the wrongs of '89 against Cork team that had risen from nowhere.

They held a comfy eight-point lead at half-time. Cork barely deserved to be even that close.


Joe Cooney delivered an absolute masterclass in the first half of the game. As he told the Laochra Gael makers, he had "one of those days, every time I put out my hand, the ball seemed to land in it." Cooney scored a series of sensational points and kicked a goal to leave Galway well in command at half time, It was a performance that had the TG4 montage makers purring.

However, a glut of goals from John Fitzgibbon, Kevin Hennessy and Tomas Mulcahy in the second half gave the Munster champions an unlikely victory.

The late, great Tony Keady and his half back partner of the time Pete Finnerty frequently expressed sheer bafflement at how Galway managed to lose that game in the years that followed.


READ HERE: Ranking The Nine Dublin v Mayo Championship Games Since 2012

Kilkenny v Galway, 2014 Leinster hurling semi-final

Played during the Brazil World Cup all those years ago, the drama of this game brought about one of the finest instances of "You have stick your World Cup" hurling snobbery on social media we've ever seen.

A comeback unrewarded by victory but such an eye-popping one that it can't be ignored. With ten minutes remaining, the Kilkenny-Galway Leinster semi-final was over.

Kilkenny had killed the game in a devastating flurry that left their opponents punch-drunk, shot eyed, and demoralised. Nothing we've not seen before. There was a depressing lull in the crowd entering the endgame.

With four minutes left, there were nine points in it (NINE!). Joe Canning barrelled through the Kilkenny defence and laid on a consolation goal for Conor Cooney...and then...


Of course, Kilkenny duly won the replay, and the All-Ireland later that year. But the GAA world would not forget the incredible resilience shown in Galway's comeback in the drawn game.

Limerick v Tipperary, 2021 Munster hurling final

It's hard to place it ahead of the 2021 All-Ireland final, but the Munster showpiece last year might have been this Limerick team's finest hour.

Ten points down to a flying Tipperary at half-time, the bid for back-to-back Munster championships looked dead in the water for Limerick in Pairc Uí Chaoímh.

It was the best indicator yet of just how good this modern golden generation of Limerick hurling is, as they not only clawed back the ten point deficit but took the lead within just 15 minutes of the second-half beginning.

The brilliance of this comeback was summed up by Kyle Hayes' stunning solo effort to put Limerick five points ahead - they would ultimately win by that margin.

Limerick have not lost a championship game since.

READ HERE: Split Season Means Gearoid Hegarty Can Shine In Limerick Junior D Soccer

Cork v Dublin, 2014 Ladies Final

Usually, one discovers that the teams most well endowed in the mental strength department are those who already have bucketloads of titles under their belt.

The teams seeking to beat them are often spooked by their reputation and can melt at the merest sign of a comeback.

While Dublin have since taken their mantel, the Cork team of 2014 were in the middle a run of an astonishing 11 All-Irelands in 12 years.

Their 2014 win is one of the most astonishing GAA comebacks we've ever seen in Croke Park. Ten points down with 12 minutes to play.


SEE ALSO: Naas Pull Off Remarkable Comeback To Reach Kildare Semi-Final



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