In the 2017 Division 1 final, Kerry brought Dublin’s 36-game unbeaten record across League and Championship to an end. Next Sunday, they aim to prevent Jim Gavin’s men from extending their defeat-less Championship run to 36. Thirty-three Championship wins and two draws have brought Dublin to the brink of creating GAA history. Here are 15 facts and figures behind their remarkable five-in-a-row tilt:
0 — The number of Championship games Brian Fenton has lost as a senior Dublin footballer. Bear in mind, his debut was also the beginning of this run in 2015. He’s been there for all bar the dead rubber Super 8 games against Roscommon last year and Tyrone earlier this month. The other invincibles currently in the team are Brian Howard, Con O’Callaghan and Niall Scully.
0 — The number of times a forward has been selected as the RTÉ man of the match in Dublin’s five finals — Fenton (2015), John Small (’16 draw), Michael Fitzsimons (’16 replay), James McCarthy (’17) and Jack McCaffrey (’18).
5 — On a paltry five occasions have teams finished within three points or less of Dublin. Aside from the Mayo draws, they have been Kerry (2015 and ’16), Mayo (2016 and ’17) and Tyrone (Omagh, 2018).
6 — How many Championship games Dublin have played outside Croke Park in this time - Healy Park (2018, ’19), O’Moore Park (2017, ’18, ’19) and Nowlan Park (2016).
6 — Not surprisingly, Mayo are the team Dublin have encountered the most, six clashes. On Sunday, Kerry will be facing them for a third time since 2015. Next to Mayo, Tyrone (four), Kildare and Westmeath (three) are the teams that have played Dublin the most in this period.
8 — From the team that beat Longford, the first of this 35-game unbeaten run, eight began the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo — Stephen Cluxton, Jonny Cooper, David Byrne, McCaffrey, Small, Fenton, Ciarán Kilkenny, and Dean Rock. Starters that June Bank Holiday four years ago, Diarmuid Connolly, Philly McMahon and Kevin McManamon were on the bench earlier this month, Denis Bastick and Paul Flynn have since
retired while Darren Daly and Bernard Brogan did not make the 26-man match-day panel.
8 — Is also the number of players who have started all four
victorious finals — Cluxton, McMahon, Cooper, McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan, Fenton, Kilkenny, and Rock. Cluxton, McMahon and Kilkenny have experienced every minute of all four finals.
9 — Rock is Dublin’s top goalscorer with nine green flags followed by O’Callaghan (eight), Brogan (seven) and Diarmuid Connolly (six).
16 — Dublin have played 16 more Championship matches than the Kerry group of 1978-82 to get to the verge of the five-in-a-row. Before Offaly, Kerry’s win rate was 94.7%, the only blemish being the 1982 Munster final replay. Factor in the couple of draws with Mayo and Dublin’s win rate to this point is 94.2%.
17 — The number of counties Dublin have beaten along the way.
20 — The number of goals Dublin have conceded since the beginning of the 2015 Championship. Neither Cluxton nor Evan Comerford (for the two games he has started and the other he was introduced as an injury replacement for Cluxton) has conceded more than two goals in a game. Cluxton has kept 18 clean sheets, four of them coming this summer.
22 — Of their 29 games in Croke Park, Dublin have played into Hill 16 in the first half on 22 occasions, winning each time. The seven times they didn’t led to the two draws against Mayo, the 2015 and ’18 All-Ireland finals, last year’s Super 8 game against Donegal, the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry and provincial semi-final against Meath. The average margin in those games? 3.71 points. The average margin in the other 22 — 13.6 points. Incidentally, for a team who in the 2000s were known for favouring playing into the Hill in the second half, Dublin have started each of the SFC outings in Croke Park this summer facing into the terrace with Cluxton winning the toss on at least two occasions.
26 — The number of times Dublin have hit or broken the 20-point total. The opposition have managed it against them on just six occasions — Cork (2019), Roscommon (’18), Kildare (’17), Kerry (’16) and Fermanagh (’15). If there is a quota on such a concession, Dublin have already reached it this season.
27 — Dublin’s total All-Stars for the past four victorious seasons, the multiples being Fenton, McCaffrey and Kilkenny (3), and Cooper, McCarthy, McMahon, Paul Mannion and Rock (2).
70 — Dublin have a total of 70 goals for the 35 outings — no need to work out that average.
They have scored five goals on three occasions, four goals four times and the recent win over Mayo was only the second time they’ve finished with three goals, the previous
time being the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo.
In five games, they have been held goalless, two of them against Kerry.