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Kildare v Meath rivalry | Johnny Doyle v Trevor Giles

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney look through the annals at the Kildare v Meath GAA rivalry — some classic matches and many great players

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney look through the annals at the Kildare v Meath GAA rivalry — Leinster neighbours with some history. We also pit two legends against each other: Johnny Doyle and Trevor Giles.
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Plenty of big characters have come from Kildare and Meath over the years.

Arthur Guinness, explorer Ernest Shackleton, jockey Ruby Walsh and musician Christy Moore all hail from the land of the Lilywhites.

As for the Royals, they can lay claim to the likes of actor Pierce Brosnan, inventor Francis Beaufort and comedian Tommy Tiernan.

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On the football field, these Leinster rivals have produced some magical occasions too — with the late ’90s proving to be the zenith.

Meath went into the 1997 Leinster semi-final as reigning All-Ireland champions, and needed three bites at the cherry to make it through to the provincial final.

The drama along the way gripped the country. Trevor Giles was a zero one minute when missing a penalty, and a hero the next as his palmed goal revived the men in green and gold.

Referee Pat O’Toole pulled up with cramp during extra time, the momentum swung, and while Jody Devine made himself a king.

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“You’d talk to people around the country and there are still people who remember me from that game,” said Devine in an interview with the Kildare Nationalist.

“I’d still know a few Kildare people and they would be slagging me about it, you’re always reminded about it.”

Sean Boylan’s Meath made their way through with a 1-12 to 1-10 win in the second replay, but were a spent force by the time they met Offaly in the Leinster decider.

Rather than fold up the tents after losing in such painful circumstances, Mick O’Dwyer’s Lilies came back stronger in 1998.

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“Meath were All-Ireland champions so the fact that we could compete with them in ‘97 gave us a bit of belief and impetus to go back and put in the work again,” said defender Davy Dalton.

Thanks in part of a fine goal by Brian Murphy, Kildare would finally end a 42-year barren run without the Delaney Cup with a five-point win over Meath.

That came during a period where the Royals and Lilywhites won six of seven provincial titles from 1996 to 2001, as Dublin took a back seat.

We look at some other great names, fabulous characters, and huge clashes from over the years.

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