Our complete record against Down

With the start of the 2011 National Football League now only a few short days away – if you haven’t yet seen it, by the way, An Spailpín’s observations on what the return of the football really means are worth a read – and the team not due to be announced until, I guess, tomorrow, it’s worth giving the results archive a rattle to see how we’ve fared down the years (pardon the pun) against Saturday evening’s opponents.  The table below contains the full record of past clashes with the Mourne County and, as you can see, it’s been pretty much fifty-fifty since we first lined out against them a few weeks short of seventy years ago.

We’ve met a total of 15 times, with all of those meetings taking place (unsurprisingly) in the league – all in either Division One (however you want to define that) or in the knock-out stages, where we’ve clashed twice and where we’ve come out on top both times.  We’re 8-7 ahead going into Saturday night’s match (we’ve never drawn a match with them yet) and we’re also aiming for our fourth victory on the spin against them.  That stat won’t mean a huge deal to the lads who will be lining out for either side this weekend, though, as the last time we played them was back in February 2003 up in Newcastle.  Andy Moran is the only player on the starting fifteen from that match eight years ago who is likely to feature at McHale Park on Saturday night.

We’ve only played them once before in Castlebar – back in 1986 where we squeaked home by the minimum margin.  That was one of the two matches of this set I was at (the other being the 1983 defeat to them at Gilmartin Park in Kiltimagh where I recall that Ambrose Rogers Snr. was plying his trade for Down that February day) and anyone else who was there that day might remember the afternoon being lit up by an absolute screamer of a goal by Kiltane’s Joe Lindsay.

Our two most high profile clashes against the Mournemen occurred a decade earlier, though, when we twice met them at the business end of the league in Croke Park.  In 1978 we edged them out by two points at the penultimate stage (before going on to lose to reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin in the final) but back in May 1970 we squared off in the final itself and proceeded to put four goals past them at HQ to claim our tenth NFL title.

So, while we will quite rightly welcome last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists to our home patch this weekend as the illustrious opponents that they are, we should also take the field knowing that we’ve a good record against them, one that the bookies expect us to maintain on Saturday.  I’m now planning to be there, by the way, as the weekend’s social engagements of the next generation in our household have altered, freeing me up for a quick dash to the west and the chance to see a proper match for the first time in ages.

9 thoughts on “Our complete record against Down

  1. Willie Joe

    The 1999 game in Newcastle sticks in my memory.

    It was the wettest windiest day I ever remember at a football match. We were looking to get to the League semi-finals. Down were looking to stay up. I think we could have gone down as well if score difference caught us out.

    Anyway Mayo scored 4 goals in the first half, and only one point.

    Into injury time and we were 2 points up, Down came up the field and James McCartan got a shot at goal past a despairing Peter Burke to grab the win.

    Both of us stayed up but it was a disappointing end to a League and the Summer wasn’t looking too bright that evening.

  2. I remember that game too Eriad. What was most remarkable was that we scored 4-1 in the first half with a gale force wind in our faces, and only two points in the second with the same wind at our backs.

    Down had a rookie keeper on in the first half (he was god awful) and they brought in Mickey McVeigh I think it was around half time to steady the ship. Of all Mayo defeats I can remember down the years it was surely the most bizarre. You couldn’t have believed at half time that there was any way we could have lost that game.

  3. I wasn’t at that 1999 match Eriad but I can remember it clearly too – as you say, the day was a filthy one and a fair bit hinged on the outcome in terms of league placing and ups and downs (oh no, another down pun). I remember RTE had some local guy providing match updates from the ground and between his accent and the sound of the wind howling around him, you’d really have needed subtitles on the radio to make out what he was saying!

  4. the last game on 2003….crikeys im getting old.was at that game and thought it was only 4 or 5 years ago. A good win it was too with Ger Brady grabbing a killer goal to put us in the driving seat…wonder whatever happened Ger actually. Havent seen him since the 2006 final..some would argue we didnt see him during it either….

  5. I may be mad but I’m feeling very optimistic and stuck 20 on at 7/4 for us to win.
    I went completley mad then and have now fecked the whole thing up for everyone by putting 50 euro each way on us to win it all. Well they were stupid odds, 25/1 so I couldnt take that insult lying down.
    I actually dont think we’ll win it but think we could make a final with a bounce of a ball going right. I know I’m going to be killed for saying it, but heres my logic.
    We know we have some of the best footballers in the county, thats not being cocky, thats from our relative success at minor and U-21 over the past 5 years.
    I just believe that JH has what it takes to be a great inter county manager.
    Theres a long history of teams with the right manager peaking their first year and going all the way or coming very close.
    The quality out there isnt all that fantastic after last year, I believe Cork will have a hangover after last year and recent history over the past 20 years of a team retaining is not in their favour. Theres a pack of 5 or 6 teams just behind them and I believe we could be in that pack. If we are then we have a reasonable chance.
    I’m not trying to convince anyone of this, I just saw the odds, had that rest of that logic in me head allready and said feck it, it’ll make the summer potentially even more interesting and imagine the lepping around I’d be doing in croker on the final whistle of an all ireland semi if we won knowing that not only are we in a final but I’ve a few grand coming to me.
    Dont worry lads, i havent shared this mad notion with anyone else, I’d be afraid to tell anyone but ye as they’d only be laughing at me.

  6. I think your right – I did get my hands on Sam the other day though. Oh how nice it would be to see green and red ribbons on it (no pressure James).
    Theres still some dents on it from when the Galway boys kicked it down the main street in Tuam in 2002

  7. I saw it too a few months back – I was on my way through Dublin airport and saw it on the ground in departures but then noticed Canty lurking beside it. It has taken a fair few belts in its time for sure.

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