GAA | 2 months ago
Ranking the 10 best football championship games of the summer
Mayo and Cork feature heavily in this list

Look, it was a tough decision.

There's really no winning when doing a list like this, there were a fair few crackers in this year's championship.

We tried our best to be impartial but you have to admit when a game is good it's good.

So without further ado here are the top 10 games of this year's championship, let's just hope Sunday's game will be added to the list.

10. Armagh 1-17 Kildare 0-17

This was a statement more so than anything else. It seemed like Kieran McGeeney had been written off the whole year and losing out on promotion to Division 2 at the last kick of a game had the doubters out. They lost to Down and it seemed like a disastrous year would continue but lo and behold Armagh kept on winning. Kildare were meant to be the side to put it up to Dublin in Leinster, it didn't happen that way and Armagh would surely be a walk in the park. It also didn't happen that way.

As the game went on and as Jamie Clarke proceeded to put on a show for the ages it only seemed like a matter of time that Kildare would begin to run Armagh ragged but it never happened. Armagh held on and caused an upset in a tense finish.

9. Cork 1-12 Waterford 1-11 

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One of the opening games of the Championship and Cork proceeded to make a laughing stock of themselves. Long gone are the days that they are All-Ireland contenders.

No disrespect to Waterford but they are no footballing powerhouses it should have been a formality. Waterford packed their backline and countered with class and did well right up until the end only to lose by just a single point. A cracker in Fraher Fields.

8. Meath 1-14 Donegal 1-15 

Although it was a third round qualifier at the time it looked like this would shape the qualifiers. Both sides were relatively unknown quantities at this point, Meath had their new manager in Andy McEntee and showed bright sparks against Louth but were poor against Kildare and Sligo. Donegal are Donegal, they're never to be ruled out.

A tight affair in Pairc Tailteann went right down to the wire as Paddy McBrearty scored a last gasp stunner of a point as the 2012 All-Ireland champions stumbled over the line but ultimately counted for nothing as Donegal got trounced by Galway.

7. Tipperary 1-15 Armagh 1-17 

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Armagh makes the list again after their performance in Semple Stadium during the summer. Revenge was had by the Orchard County after Michael Quinlivan and  Tipperary gained promotion to division three after a late stunning goal.

Down by two points at half time, Armagh rallied to knock out last year's All-Ireland semi finalist in a stunning affair.

6. Cork 1-10 Tipperary 1-09 

Poor Tipperary, this is their last time on the list and both are from their losses. The first half was one of the worst halves of football in history and that is no exaggeration it was 0-4 to 0-1 in Tipperary's favour at half time.

The second half was much improved and a late goal from Tipperary looked to be home and dry only for Cork to go right up the other end and score. What an ending and what a match.

5. Cork 2-20 Mayo 0-27 (AET)

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Mayo have arrived into the list, and they'll be featuring further down too. This was a classic, they looked home and dry  after opening up a three point lead only for Cork to score a goal and after Mayo went back in the lead a 77th minute long range free forced extra time. Mayo held their nerve to win by the smallest of margins. They like this extra time malarkey.

4. Down 1-14 Monaghan 0-15

Monaghan were meant to be one of the teams to beat, they were so impressive in the league. Down were the opposite.

And then you bring back all the lads that were missing because of college football and Down are rejuvenated.

It was a great upset, one the championship sort of needed as Down held off a Monaghan come back, the only thing is that the pair met again and Monaghan came out the victors in the qualifiers. Oh well.

3. Mayo 2-21 Derry 1-13 

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After being dumped out by Galway, Mayo were back with a whimper. Derry were up by a point at half time and you'd expect Mayo to come out storming but it never happened.

Derry then looked like they were going to pull off an upset for the ages only for Mayo's resilience to keep them in it and even go ahead only for Derry to score a late goal and force extra time.

Mayo ran away with it from there in extra time but up to that point it was unbelievable.

2. Roscommon 2-09  Mayo 1-12

The Connacht Champions against last year's All-Ireland finalists. Roscommon raced into an early lead but bit by bit Mayo grafted their way back in an enthralling encounter that went right down to the wire, throughout the last 10 minutes it seemed either of the teams could come away with victory only for Mayo to end another championship match with a draw.

Breathless so it was but Stephen Rochford's men came out swinging in the replay and made light work of Roscommon.

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1. Mayo 2-14 Kerry 2-14 

What do we need to say about this match? It had everything.

Mayo and Kerry blows every other match out of the water, it seems like this was the first opposition that Mayo would face that had serious All-Ireland ambitions and nobody knew how they would fare.

There were some awful kick outs from both ends but some spectacular scores, the battle between Aidan O'Shea and Kieran Donaghy turned heads and Andy Moran running the show against Shane Enright was something to behold.

And, of course, Paddy Durcan saving Mayo again like he has time and time again with a long ranged score to force a replay which Mayo won in the end.

What a year.

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Zach Tuohy on the latest GAA Hour show which also includes a David Breen interview and some Denis Bastick love. Listen below or subscribe here on iTunes.


While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!