With those long, dark nights back with us once again, there’s no better time than now for perusing old results and, with this in mind, I can reveal that the results archive on this site has taken another decade-long leap back in the mists of time. It now stretches back to 1969, which means that there’s a complete online record of 40 years of the county’s NFL and championship results at senior level available to meander through.
It wasn’t just sartorially speaking that the Seventies was such an odd decade. Results-wise, it was all over the shop for us too: the decade started with us appearing in three league finals in a row (them’s the lads in the picture that won the NFL in 1970) but in both 1970 and 1971 our championship involved just a single match, with the Rossies dumping us out in 1970 and Galway doing the same the year after. That established what was to be an unhappy championship pattern for us, as the decade passed without us winning a single Connacht title at senior level, even though we did in this period win All-Irelands at minor (twice), U21 and Vocational schools level.
We also fairly spread our defeats around in Connacht throughout the Seventies. As well as losing to Roscommon (five times) and Galway (on three occasions), we also lost to Sligo after a replay in the 1975 final (which I’ve written about at length previously) and then capped this the following year by getting beaten, also after a replay, by Leitrim up in Carrick. And yet, just three years previously, we’d whipped the same opposition at the same venue in that year’s semi-final by a massive 24-point margin. Before losing that year’s final to Galway.
Anyway, it’s all ancient history at this stage and the results are as they’re set out in the archive. I’m still using the Irish Times digital archive to source the results and, somewhat surprisingly, the data for the Seventies are a bit more comprehensive than what I was able to collect from the same source for the Eighties. Most of the line-ups for the league games were included in the paper’s 1970s’ match reports, which wasn’t the case for the decade that came after and there aren’t, to my knowledge, any matches missing from the records I’ve compiled for the Seventies (whereas there are two league results from the early Eighties that I’m still trying to hunt down).
I’ve now started to tackle the Sixties but I already know that the Irish Times isn’t going to get me much further back and, having peeped back to the start of that decade, I can see that the coverage of Gaelic games was, at best, fairly cursory that far back. This isn’t an enormous surprise: it was, after all, only after Douglas Gageby became editor of the Irish Times in 1963 that the paper began to shed its West Brit skin and started instead to accept that it had an authentic Irish voice. While, too often, this voice can come across in an insufferable Southside holier-than-thou way, once Gageby got his hand on the tiller, the paper was willing to provide its punters with half-decent coverage of Gaelic games.
It’s obvious, then, that I’m reaching the end of Phase II of this project (Phase I being the collation of all available online records, which goes back to 1997). I’m already thinking about how best to tackle Phase III, which should, I think, include those All-Ireland winning years. It’s going to involve a bit more effort (and time) to track down the results and teams from these older years but I’m still determined to keep at it. We won our first Connacht title as far back as 1901 so I suppose there wouldn’t be any point stopping before then. Seen in this light, there’s a bit of a ways to go yet before I can call time on this particular project.