Ahead of Sunday’s NFL meeting with Tyrone (where it’s worth noting we only seem to meet them in the league at this stage of the year – every league clash with them back to 1995 has occurred in either March or April and this is the third year in a row where they’re our final opponents, apart from the knockout games, in the league), it’s worth briefly recalling past meetings with the Red Hand lads.
Our recent record against them is fairly good, with wins in both 2005 and 2007 and a draw in 2006. Last year’s win was particularly noteworthy, as we knocked four goals past them, three of which came from Conor Mortimor. They did stuff us in the league in 2004,which was the first match they played following Cormac McAnallen’s untimely death, but we then got our revenge later that year in the championship, by knocking the then defending All-Ireland champions out in the quarter-finals.
The two league meetings before then weren’t happy ones for us, as they beat us soundly, by 3-12 to 0-11, in the 2002 league semi-final and gave us an even bigger beating, by 3-11 to 1-5, the time we met before that, which was back in early 1995 in Division 2 of the league. Further back again (further back than my Results Archive stretches but I’m getting there, slowly but surely), we beat them in the 1989 All-Ireland semi-final on a scoreline of 0-12 to 1-6, to qualify for our first All-Ireland final in 38 years.
None of the above counts for much in terms of how Sunday’s encounter might go (and Paddy Power have installed Tyrone as 4/6 favourites for that one) but, as already noted, our recent league form against them has been good.
What would also be good is another Connacht U21 title: best of luck to the lads this evening as they face the Rossies in a repeat of last year’s decider. That one twelve months ago turned out to be a real demolition job and I don’t think too many would expect a similar outcome this evening. Another win, to complete a provincial three-in-a-row, would be nice all the same.