It might surprise you to recall that our most recent National League meeting with Dublin ended in a win for us. We scored two goals in that game, they failed to find the net and we ran out deserved five-point winners.
That match at Croke Park, played in February 2022, was our first National League win over them at the venue since 1971 and it was also our first ever time to beat them in the capital in a regulation League fixture. Having finally dethroned them in the Championship the previous year, that win two years ago made it back-to-back victories for us over them.
Since then, of course, they’ve reset the narrative once again, with that twelve-point thumping they inflicted on us in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final providing us with a chastening reminder of where we sit against them in the game’s pecking order. That day was a painful one from our perspective and they made sure that it was.
Pain is something we’ve also got used to in relation to National League meetings with them at our place. All through the years where we went hammer and tongs against them in the Championship, every time they pitched up for a League fixture at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, they invariably left with the points.
Monaghan haven’t lost in the League to Dublin at all since 2017 but we’ve just that one win in 2022 to show for all our League meetings with them since we last beat them in Castlebar. That was way back in 2012 on a late spring evening, when Conor Mortimer shot his way to the position of all-time top scorer for the county, as we ran out comfortable winners by twelve points.
Three years would pass before we met at MacHale Park again. When we did, in March 2015, it wasn’t pretty. They had fourteen points to spare over us under the lights that night.
The Dubs made the trip west again the following year. This time we made a match of it but we still lost out by two points.
Fast forward to 2018 and, only months after losing by the minimum margin to them in what was arguably the greatest All-Ireland final of the modern era, we once again came up short against them in Castlebar. This time they left with a four-point win.
February 2020 was the most recent time we played them at MacHale Park. We’d won the League the previous year but we’d end this Covid-interrupted Division One campaign by losing our long-standing top tier status. Dublin did their bit to push us towards the trapdoor, beating us by six points in Round 2 of that campaign.
None of the above makes for pretty reading from our perspective. Only once – that 2016 match – did we have a proper cut at them on some turf, as time and again they turned up and turned us over without too much bother.
Our respective sojourns in Division Two since then explain why four years have passed since we last welcomed them to Castlebar. Will this gap enable us to alter what’s a truly dismal recent home record against them? We can only hope that it does.
It helps, I guess, that we’re coming into this weekend’s game with a bit of a pep in our step, thanks to last weekend’s facile opening round win over an extremely listless Galway last Sunday. They, in contrast, travel west smarting from an unexpected loss to Monaghan at Croke Park.
Predicting how League games might go is a mug’s game at the best of times. Factoring in as well how teams did in their previous outing and adding to the mix the relative desire (or need) each might have for League points just clouds the matter further.
How will Saturday night’s game go? I haven’t a clue, I must admit.
What about the rest of you? How do you think we’ll fare against the All-Ireland champions at the weekend? Let’s end with a poll to test the waters on that.
How will we do against Dublin?
- Win (60%, 399 Votes)
- Lose (28%, 184 Votes)
- Draw (12%, 79 Votes)
Total Voters: 662