For many, the meeting of Dublin and Kerry represents the definitive September showdown and a reminder of some classic encounters that gripped the nation. The counties have met in 13 All-Ireland finals and it's the Kingdom who lead the way 8-5 as things stand. The rivalry in the eyes of most observers began when the sides met in the 1975 decider, but our look back starts with the 1955 final when Dublin were viewed as the "stylish new kids on the block".

Kerry 0-12 Dublin 1-06 - 1955 All-Ireland final

87,102 crammed into Croke Park for what was then a record attendance for a final. An assessment of the game concluded that Kerry were deserving winners, but they had to withstand late pressure from the Dubs, who certainly found renewed momentum after Ollie Freaney's goal five minutes from time. However, heroic defending from the Kingdom's Jerome O'Shea, Sean Murphy, John Cronin and 'Micksie' Palmer in those dying moments kept Dublin at bay.

Tadhgie Lyne, an uncle of Pat Spillane  top-scored for the victors with 0-6. Kevin Heffernan lined out at full-forward for Dublin on that day 60 years ago. He was one of the greatest players of his generation and would subsequently go on to win an All-Ireland medal, but he had to wait until he assumed the role of Dublin manager before he would get one over Kerry in an All-Ireland final.     

Kerry 2-12 Dublin 0-11 - 1975 All-Ireland final

It was a case of all quiet on The Hill as Kerry's young guns comfortably defeated the reigning All-Ireland champions by seven points. In his first season in charge. Mick O'Dwyer has masterminded a terrific victory as Kerry's speed of thought in testing conditions proved too much for Heffo's Dubs.

At half-time, O'Dwyer's troops led by 1-06 to 0-04, with John Egan getting the goal after three minutes. Jimmy Keaveney points from placed balls kept the Dubs in touch to some degree in the second half, but the Green and Gold always had that extra gear they could use and a Ger O'Driscoll goal and a Pat Spillane point sealed the county's 23rd All-Ireland title.

The only downside for the victors was the bad injury picked up by their captain Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan after 20 minutes when he became the meat in a Dublin sandwich as he bore down on the Canal End goal.

Off the pitch there were some unsavoury moments in Dublin after the game, as reported by Irish Independent on 29 September 1975.

Dublin 3-12 Kerry 1-13 - 1977 All-Ireland semi-final 


This encounter is still viewed as one of the greatest games that was ever played. This passing years, however, has lessened its greatness, but that said for sheer excitement the '77 semi did enthral as two late goals for Dublin sealed their passage to the final. 

Kerry were a goal to the good at the break - their green flag coming from Sean Walsh - in a period where the victors hit eight wides. However, it was Dublin's dominance of midfield in the second period and Bernard Brogan's introduction in that sector, that saw Heffo's men gain a real foothold. John McCarthy goaled shortly after the break to bring the sides level. Points were exchanged thereafter as the intensity level ratcheted up. Yet, it was the Dubs' graph that was rising faster. 

In a move started by Brian Mullins, the ball eventually found its way to Tony Hanahoe, who slipped it off to David Hickey and the latter shot brilliantly to the back of the net for Dublin's second goal. Goal number three saw Hickey, Hanahoe and Bobby Doyle combine to set up Bernard Brogan for the clinching score as Dublin ran out five-point winners. They would on go win a third All-Ireland in four years by beating Armagh in the decider.

Kerry 5-11 Dublin 0-08 - 1978 All-Ireland final

This game will be most remembered for Mikey Sheehy's goal that caught out Dublin custodian Paddy Cullen. In the Evening Press, the late Con Houlihan's description of Cullen "dashing back towards his goal like a woman who smells a cake burning" is still recalled.

On a rather gloomy day at GAA HQ, it was the brilliance of Kerry that ultimately illuminated the landscape as they quite simply destroyed Dublin. Yes, the Dubs started brightly, but the force was with the Munster men. Sheehy’s opportunism was sandwiched in between John Egan’s opening goal and then a hat-trick of green flags for Eon Liston.

Kerry’s winning margin was 17 points. No team has managed to eclipse that margin since. 

Kerry 1-14 Dublin 2-11 - 2001 All-Ireland quarter-final

Both sides celebrated at the final whistle at Semple Stadium after an absorbing tussle. For long stages it looked like the Kingdom  would reign even though the Dublin will rue two goal chances that Collie Moran and Desie Farrell spurned in the first half. After 46 minutes, the Green and Gold were eight points clear. Surely no way back for the Dubs!

When referee Michael Curley awarded Kerry a somewhat dubious free, Dublin manager Tom Carr was quick to vent his frustration and remonstrated strongly with the Galway official. That face-off brought Carr's side to life. Vinny Murphy and Darren Homan bagged quick-fire goals. Deep into injury time, the Leinster side were ahead by a point.

The mercurial Maurice Fitzgerald was introduced late on. He would prove to be the Kerry saviour. His delightful point from 45 metres out on the sideline was superbly executed via the outside of his right boot.

Kerry would make good use of the lifeline thrown by Fitzgerald with a relatively comfortable 2-12 to 1-12 win over their arch rivals in the replay back at Semple.

Dublin 1-12 Kerry 1-11 - 2011 All-Ireland final

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton converted a winning free in stoppage time to give Dublin their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title since 1995.

Dublin came from behind to edge out Kerry by a point in a tense and exciting encounter at Croke Park.

Colm Cooper slotted home a superb 19th-minute goal, but two points each from the Brogan brothers helped Dublin to a 0-06 to 1-02 interval lead.

Kerry were four points ahead when substitute Kevin McManaman scored a 64th-minute goal for Dublin.

And in a gripping finish, Cluxton kept his cool to make history as the first goalkeeper to score an All-Ireland final winner.

The Jacks are back, roared the banner on Hill 16, and Pat Gilroy’s side finally emerged from the shadows to revisit the Promised Land.

Dublin 3-18 Kerry 3-11 - 2013 All-Ireland semi-final

Late goals from Kevin McManamon and Eoghan O'Gara won an epic All-Ireland SFC semi-final for Dublin as they fended off Kerry by seven points. 

Kerry stunned the Dubs with three first half goals, from James O’Donoghue (2, 1 pen) and Donnchadh Walsh. Paul Mannion netted for Dublin, but they trailed by 3-05 to 1-09 at the break.

Both sides had spells of dominance in the second half, but it was McManamon who settled it with a brilliant solo goal in the 70th minute, followed by an O'Gara strike in stoppage time, that sealed it.