HomeFootballFlashback: 12 Apostles help Dublin to 1983 All-Ireland Title

Flashback: 12 Apostles help Dublin to 1983 All-Ireland Title

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By Conor Martin

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship meetings between Dublin and Galway are a rarity. 

However, one game renowned in GAA history is the 1983 All-Ireland final between the two counties. 

The conditions in the lead-up to the final foreshadowed what was to come, as the lashing rain and wind made conditions for the players difficult, to say the least. 

A bigger storm would sweep across Jones’ Rd after the ball was throw-in and by full-time, the referee would have sent off four players: one Galway man and three Dublin players. 

Dublin had a grip on the game after Barney Rock (who would score 1-6) scored a goal early on after he had intercepted Galway keeper Pádraig Coyne’s poor free, sending the ball into the net over the keeper’s head from distance. 

There was an outcry from the Galway players who believed the goal shouldn’t have stood after Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan was tending to Joe McNally, who was down injured.

Then all hell broke loose. 

First, Brian Mullins saw red after striking Brian Talty and Ray Hazley and Galway’s Tomás Tierney both received their marching after a scuffle had broken out.

After leading 1-5 to 0-2 at the break, Dublin kicked on as Rock and McNally built some momentum for Dublin. But that momentum was swiftly halted when Kieran Duff, who was having an impact on the game, was also red-carded after kicking out at Pat O’Neill.

Galway would have a goal to cheer about in the 50th minute when Stephen Joyce found the net when he latched onto Brian O’Donnell’s cross.

Having a sizeable numerical disadvantage, Dublin coped well with the Galway onslaught, Mick Holden, Gerry Hargan and Pat Canavan remained solid at the back to stop Galway from getting too close to Dublin’s lead. John O’Leary in the Dubs goal also made several important saves.

Dublin would emerge 1-10-1-8 winners in a game best remembered for its off-the-ball antics rather than the football, as the ‘Twelve Apostles’ won Dublin’s 21st All-Ireland title. 

DUBLIN: J O’Leary; M Holden, G Hargan, R Hazley; P Canavan, T Drumm (capt), PJ Buckley (0-1, 1f); J Ronayne (0-1), B Mullins; B Rock (1-6, 6fs), T Conroy, K Duff (0-1, 1f); J Caffrey, A O’Toole, J McNally (0-1). Subs: J Kearns for Conroy (54 mins), D McGrath for Caffrey (66 mins).

GALWAY: P Coyne; J Hughes, S Kinneavy, M Coleman (0-1); P O’Neill, P Lee, S McHugh (0-1); B Talty, R Lee; U Brennan (0-3, 2fs, 1 sideline kick), V Daly, B O’Donnell; T Tierney, G McManus (0-1), S Joyce (1-1, 1f). Subs: M Brennan (0-1) for Talty (half time), V Joyce for P Lee (55 mins), J Bobin for Hughes (61 mins).

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