What’s the use in assembling a results archive if you don’t use it, eh? In that spirit, I’ve spent a while today looking back over the records for the past half-century to build up a picture of how we’ve got on against the Oak Leafers. We haven’t done badly at all, as you’ll soon see, though the Nordies do have a slight edge on us over this period of time.
At a macro level, we’ve played them 23 times (all but one of which was in the league), winning nine, drawing two and losing the remaining twelve, on an aggregate scoreline of 22-207 to them versus 22-185 to us. Our home record against them has been solid enough – we’ve won five and lost three of those eight encounters – but they’ve had the upper hand both in matches played on their patch (where we’ve won three, drawn two and lost six of those 11 matches) and when we’ve played at neutral venues (we’ve won one and lost three of that quartet).
The table below sets out our complete record from 1961 to 2008 and as you can see we played them regularly enough back to 1970 (we even played them twice that year) but only met them once prior to that.
Curiously, our two earliest meetings within the past fifty years were for league semi-finals: they edged us out by a point at Croke Park in 1961 but we then returned the favour nine years later at the same venue on our way to winning that year’s NFL title. More recently, they beat us soundly in the 1996 league semi-final at HQ (a match I recall clearly and wrote about previously) and they edged a closer quarter-final battle with us two years after that at Markievicz Park.
The last time we beat them was close on seven years ago when we prevailed by 0-16 to 1-8 in Crossmolina, where David Clarke and Trevor Mortimer were the only two players from Sunday’s line-up to feature. The last time we lost a home game to them was back in late 1993 when, with our lads on a clear downward trajectory following that year’s All-Ireland semi-final meltdown, they had eight points to spare over us at McHale Park. They have a victory over us at Ballina to point to as well but that’s as far back ago as November 1972, when they won by five points. That one was noteworthy for the fact that all of our eight points that day came from the boot of the legendary Joe Corcoran.