We’re becoming fairly expert at low-key build-ups to big games but enough is enough: once again, we’re one of the teams on the card on All-Ireland day and with just six days to go, it’s time to start giving some serious thought to the game.
The thought that struck me this morning was how often we’ve been part of the action on All-Ireland Sunday and – being the nerdy, analytical type – I decided to do the stats for All-Ireland appearances in senior and minor for the first decade of the 21st century (i.e. up to and including this coming Sunday).
Having done so – with my thanks to whoever stuck this info up on Wikipedia – I can reveal that twelve counties have taken part in the action on All-Ireland Sunday since 2000. Kerry, needless to say, lead the way (don’t they always, the hoors?) with ten appearances, seven of which were in the senior final, but it might surprise some to see that we’re up there in joint second along with Tyrone with our six final appearances (three of Tyrone’s were senior ones compared to our two). Next come Galway, Armagh and Cork on three, with all of these trio appearing in two senior finals. Then with two final appearances come Meath (one senior and one minor), Dublin and Derry (both of whom appeared in two minor finals). Laois, Down and Roscommon complete the list with one minor final appearance each.
The obvious follow-on from this is to look at how many of these counties have won All-Irelands this decade but, for equally obvious reasons, that’s not something I particularly want to dwell on here (the answer is nine, by the way). From our perspective facing into next Sunday, the only result that matters is the one we get on Sunday but as we ready ourselves for the minors’ showdown with Armagh, it is all the same worth noting the significant part that that the county has played on All-Ireland day in recent years. Long may it continue to be the case.