Today one of the powerhouses of Gaelic football head to Cròke Park to take on the Connacht Champions, Galway to see who will lift the famous  Sam Maguire.

We had two contrasting semi-finals Dublin failed to bring their shooting boots that day and Clifford gave an exhibition at full forward. That was probably the difference

as the two teams played a cracker as Kerry prevailed.

In the other semi-final played earlier, it looked like Derry would go and win it. Like Hawkeye, they got it wrong and Galway imposed themselves and came from behind to face 

the men in green and gold.

Hopefully, we get another great spectacle if that’s possible after  Limerick lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup in a pulsating, enthralling game that left even the vanquished and now departed Brian Coady

impressed by what he witnessed. The supposed no-hopers of Kilkenny put in a performance that would win many an All -Ireland over the ages.

But back to today, we have presentations to the 1996 and 1997 All Ireland Champions Meath and Kerry.


Meath had been destroyed by Dublin in 1995 in Leinster who then went on to win another All Ireland. Ranked no-hopers in 1996, the new Boylan Babes went on to become 

the Meath heroes of the ’90s.


Meath Team in the first All- Ireland game   that day were;

l-r back: Trevor Giles, Graham Geraghty, John McDermott, Jimmy McGuinness, Martin O’Connell, Brendan Reilly, Barry Callaghan

l-r front: Paddy Reynolds, Evan Kelly, Colm Coyle, Tommy Dowd captain, Conor Martin, Darren Fay Edna McManus

In the first drawn game Meath 0-12 V Mayo 1-9 a game that was dominated for so long by Mayo, they completely outplayed the opposition.

From somewhere that meath never say die attitude came forth. They found inspiration and somehow Colm Coyle produced a’ Bouncing Point’ that hit the turf and went over the bar.

Another replay like 1988.  Meath would go on to win, Meath 2-9 v Mayo 1-11 only by a point but a win. There was no doubt it was a controversial replay marred by ugly scenes.

It saw the saviour of the first game Coyle for Meath and McHale for Mayo seen as the instigators and sent to the line. It should be remembered there was no quarter given on either side, a point the winning margin, reflected the fact.

  Martin O’Connell and Colm Coyle 

Mary Robinson looks to the cup, and Tommy Dowd savours the moment with a herculean look of achievement to the joyous crowd below.

John McDermott gathers the ball in the semifinal against Tyrone as teammates Paddy  Reynolds (7) and Edna McManus (6) look on.

On the day the young Meath men showed their metal but the captain led by example. The Dunderry man, Tommy Dowd gave a performance when it was needed but it take a team and a panel and a backroom team above all, it took something special that was brewed in the mind of Boylan to produce that 1996 team.

They get recognised for that achievement in the prelude to the game. There will be a lot of memories and friendships rekindled today but we should also reflect on the losers they make the winners look great. Ask the men that lift the trophies, and they’ll tell you.