The annual Cat Laughs festival takes place this weekend although it’s not at Dublin’s expense as they play their first championship game outside Croke Park since 2006.
Much is being of the novelty in Nowlan Park, which harks back to the Dubs on Tour trip to Pearse Park brilliantly captured at the time by Hugh Farrelly’s “Crouching Cider, Hidden Flagon” Irish Independent piece.
However, little is being made of their success that has contributed a lot to them not having to venture outside GAA HQ. Nor, for that matter, their strong record outside Croke Park come summer-time.
A run-through their last 10 SFC matches away from there illustrates just that – won eight, drawn one, lost one:
2006 Leinster quarter-final
Longford 0-13 Dublin 1-12, Pearse Park.
To this day, Longford supporters rue just how close they came to what would have ranked as one of the county’s greatest achievements. Mark Vaughan claimed a goal in the first half but Dublin needed man of the match Conal Keaney to save their bacon after a late rally of four points from Longford.
2004 All-Ireland round three qualifier
Dublin 1-17 Longford 0-11, O’Moore Park.
By this stage, it appeared Dublin had rehabilitated from their provincial quarter-final defeat. Ian Robertson was their goalscorer in a second half where Dublin lost some of the nervousness apparent in the game in the opening half.
2004 All-Ireland round 2 qualifier
Leitrim 1-4 Dublin 0-13, Páirc Seán MacDiarmada.
Scoring was made difficult by a wet day in Carrick-on-Shannon. Senan Connell found the net in additional time to put more gloss on an awkward encounter.
2004 All-Ireland round 1 qualifier
Dublin 3-24 London 0-6, Parnell Park.
This unique clash, made possible by Dublin’s Leinster exit to Westmeath, wasn’t so much a battle of the capitals as the submission of one to the other. Alan Brogan scored 2-4 and Mossy Quinn hit 1-5 as the hosts ran riot.
2003 All-Ireland round 2 qualifier
Dublin 3-9 Derry 1-9, St Tiernach’s Park.
Goals for Na Fianna trio Dessie Farrell, Connell and Jason Sherlock in Clones were key to Dublin getting back to winning ways after they had lost to Laois in their Leinster semi-final.
2002 Leinster quarter-final
Wexford 1-10 Dublin 0-15, Dr Cullen Park.
Not the prettiest of SFC debuts for Tommy Lyons who also gave first championship starts to Alan Brogan and Barry Cahill. Redmond Barry goaled just 30 seconds into the second half to cut the margin to three points. Paddy Christie cleared off the line from Mattie Forde in injury-time. The game was Jim Gavin’s last championship outing for Dublin, coming on a substitute.
2001 All-Ireland quarter-final replay
Kerry 2-12 Dublin 1-12, Semple Stadium.
Johnny Crowley was the hero for Kerry, scoring 2-2 on an afternoon when Tomás Ó Sé was shown a straight red card for a foul on Colin Moran. Dublin had two late goal chances, one of them snuffed out by Éamonn Fitzmaurice, but the better team prevailed.
2001 All-Ireland quarter-final.
Dublin 2-11 Kerry 1-14, Semple Stadium.
Maurice Fitzgerald was cursed from Balbriggan to Ballybrack as his wondrous sideline point earned Kerry another day out after they had led by eight points at one stage. Dublin’s 2-3 in 12 minutes stunned Kerry before Fitzgerald’s moment of inspiration.
1996 Leinster semi-final.
Dublin 1-9 Louth 0-8, Páirc Tailteann.
A late goal by McNally, after he had levelled the game with six minutes to go, proved vital after Louth looked to be on course for a shock win. Whelan had taken a scalpel to the All-Ireland champions and the surgery almost cost them here.
1996 Leinster quarter-final.
Dublin 1-18 Westmeath 0-11, Páirc Tailteann.
Kevin Heffernan was on the team bus alongside his friend and new manager Mickey Whelan as Dublin ran out handsome winners. Veterans Joe McNally and Eamonn Heery were recalled to the starting team.
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