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Best rivalry in the GAA

Our panel looks at some of the great rivalries in Gaelic games, from Dublin v Kerry and Tipperary v Cork, and asks which one stands out above all else

What is the best rivalry in the GAA?

Do we look at it in the context of what any pair of counties have produced since the inception of the GAA, and exclude teams that only went through pockets of brilliance?

Tipperary v Cork, Wexford v Kilkenny, Galway v Mayo, Tyrone v Armagh all have long and storied rivalries, and that is just tipping the iceberg when it comes to neighbours at war over the course of GAA history.

Perhaps being neighbours is beside the point, as best exhibited in the long and colourful history of Dublin’s battles with Kerry.

We have received plenty of comments on the matter, such as this from Adrian Looney: “Tipp v Cork in Thurles is just the best atmosphere in sport and is the best rivalry.

“Having one dominant team for long periods isn’t a rivalry like Kerry v Dublin, which was one way for 30 years and now the other way for ten.

“When Tipp were strong Cork still got some wins, and vice versa.”

Bernie adds: “It depends where you are from and how close you are to a border with that county.

“Tyrone v Derry, Armagh and Donegal is big in Ulster, but if any of the three games was on live now the majority would want to watch Kerry v Dublin.

“Outside Cork and Tipp, I don’t think it has much appeal anymore.”

Pat Gleeson tends to agree: “The ‘Back Door’ has diminished the Tipp Cork rivalry, in my opinion.

“The great John Doyle, who was a critic of the backdoor, once said he’d hate to wake up on a Monday after beating Cork the day before, to the news that Cork were still in the championship.”

As discusses by Shane Stapleton, Michael Verney and Fintan O’Toole, the Tipperary v Kilkenny rivalry may have surpassed it in recent times because so often the All-Ireland is on the line.

When the Premier and Rebels meet in Munster, as is also the case with Cork and Waterford, there tends to be a safety net.

Sean Kielty pointed out that “Dublin v Meath saved the GAA”, a reference to a once-fierce rivalry that hit its highest point with the four-game saga of 1991 — with these clashes bringing attention back to Gaelic games after the World Cup fever of 1990.

There are a host of brilliant rivalries in Gaelic games, so please let us know which you think is best and why.

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