The passage of time can often dilute what we once thought was great and exhilarating.

That said, many will still opine that the 1977 Dublin-Kerry All-Ireland semi-final was the greatest game of all time. The contest came right in the middle of that particular rivalry.

In the late 1980s, Cork and Meath met in four All-Ireland finals that certainly weren't for the faint-hearted.

The four-game Dublin-Meath saga from 1991 was the high point of that simmering battle between neighbours.

In the 2000s, Tyrone became an annoying itch that Kerry couldn't scratch, and prompted one pundit to introduce the term "puke football".

In the increasing world of information overload, what's here and now is always deemed the most relevant.

The coming together of Dublin and Mayo in championship combat is a pairing that has given us much to enthuse about in recent times.

It began with 'Hillgate' - that psychological masterstroke engineered by Mayo in advance of the 2006 All-Ireland semi-final.

The last chapter ended with Kevin McManamon rifling the ball to the roof to seal Dublin's victory in last year's All-Ireland semi-final replay. 

On Sunday next, the story continues. The Dubs are seeking back-to-back titles, while Mayo are looking to end a drought that stretches back to 1951.

The counties first met in the All-Ireland final in 1921. Due to the ongoing Civil War, the final did not place until June 1923. The Dubs won easily on a 1-09 to 0-02 scoreline. 

In their report on the game, the Irish Independent singled out Dublin's Joe Norris for special praise.

"He seems to have the strength of the bullock, the speed of the deer, and the agility of the cat. If ever there's a call for volunteers to run up against them, I won't answer the roll."

Glorious stalemates

On three occasions in years ending in 5, Dublin and Mayo finished level at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

Dublin 1-08 Mayo 1-07 - 1955 All-Ireland semi-final replay

The first game was played in driving rain at Croke Park and Dublin, courtesy of late free from Nicky Maher, earned themselves a reprieve - Dublin 1-04 Mayo 0-07. Despite the low score and the inclement conditions, both teams produced good football, with Mayo's midfielder John Nallen receiving many plaudits for his performance.

In the replay, much praise was heaped on Dubs midfielder Jim McGuinness as the Metropolitans withstood a late rally from the Connacht champions to book their place in the final against Kerry.

Legendary names such as Kevin Heffernan and Ollie Freaney kicked vital points for the winners in the second half. 1-05 of Dublin's 1-08 came from play and that ultimately was a telling stat. 

Dublin 1-13 Mayo 1-13 - 1985 All-Ireland semi-final

It was expected that Dublin would safely book their place in a third consecutive All-Ireland final. 

However, they didn't count on a stirring comeback from the Connacht champions, who showed much bravery in coming back from seven points down at one point in the second half to force a draw. TJ Kilgallon kicked over the levelling point in the last minute.

All told, the match did not offer much in terms of quality football, with players placing more emphasis on marking their opposite numbers. 

Mayo were particularly sluggish in the opening period and their cause wasn't helped by their careless use of possession. Barney Rock, in particular, was a shining light for the Dubs and his first-half tally of 1-05 helped Heffo's men to lead 1-10 to 1-04 at the break.

On the resumption, Mayo's defence tightened up. Martin Carney (now an RTÉ pundit), Dermot Flanagan, Peter Ford, Frank Noone and John Finn were all starting to show well. 

However, it was the introduction of Padraig Brogan and his ability to supply better ball for the Mayo forwards, that ultimately saw the pendulum swing back towards the westerners. Late points from sub and selector Billy Fitzpatrick and Kilgallon saw them earn a deserved share of the spoils.

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Both sides had to wait three weeks for the replay. Dublin ran out comfortable 2-12 to 1-07 winners, with Kieran Duff getting both their goals. For Mayo, Padraig Brogan can take some satisfaction with the superb three-pointer he drilled home. 

Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-15 - 2015 All-Ireland semi-final 

Andy Moran emerged as Mayo's super substitute at Croke Park with a dramatic injury-time equaliser that capped an incredible comeback, for the westerners.

The five-in-a-row Connacht champions looked down and out when they trailed by six with 63 minutes on the clock following McManamon's goal, but staged a thrilling recovery in the closing minutes to force a second date.

Veteran Moran was their inspiration as his first point began a scoring blitz of 1-03 without reply from the westerners and he also booted that crucial leveller at the end of the frenetic period.

The goal came from the boot of Cillian O'Connor who expertly converted a 69th-minute penalty following a foul on Colm Boyle and finished with 1-09 in total.

Referee Joe McQuillan was busy brandishing cards of various in a game where RTÉ analysts Kevin McStay, Ciarán Whelan and Tomás Ó Sé all highlighted a "nasty edge to proceedings".

The replay six days later saw Jim Gavin's men prevail after an absorbing contest.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes at Croke Park saw Dublin come from behind in thrilling fashion to edge out the westerners.

The winners summoned all of their character, and no little quality, to speed past Mayo in the closing minutes.

Bernard Brogan tied the scores with his 56th-minute goal before a second from corner-back Philly McMahon - who finished with 1-02 - shortly after. Mayo had no response and super-sub McManamon grabbed Dublin's third goal with three minutes remaining, taking his tally to 1-01 by full-time. 

A compelling starter before the main course: Mayo 1-16 Dublin 2-12, 2006 All-Ireland semi-final

This was one of the standout games of the 2000s. Dublin were 2-11 to 0-10 ahead after 47 minutes and on course for a final appearance against Kerry - and then something clicked for Mayo. An Andy Moran goal in the 51st minute was the start of the recovery mission.

With David Brady making his presence felt after coming on as a sub just after half-time, Mayo assumed total control and reeled the Dubs in.

They took the lead only for Alan Brogan to level it up. Mayo's response was immediate and memorable. Ciarán McDonald fired over what was to be the winning point from a narrow angle. Dublin had a chance to save themselves, but Mark Vaughan failed to land a '45.

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If the drama on the field wasn't thrilling enough, there was also the 'pre-match show' on the Hill 16 side of Croke Park.

Mayo came out onto the hallowed turf and did their warm up in front of the Hill 16 goals. The Dubs, seeing that their 'space' had been taken, marched, arms linked, down towards the Hill, Both sides went through routines in close proximity and it lead to a tense atmosphere on Jones' Road. 

Things did get out of hand a bit when Dublin manager Paul Caffrey clattered into Mayo assistant John Morisson. We also had the sight of Mayo dietitian Mary McNicolas being treated on the pitch after getting hit by a ball.

A game of ebb and flow goes the way of Mayo: Mayo 0-19 Dublin 0-16, 2012 All-Ireland semi-final

Mayo ended the reign of champions Dublin to set up a western seaboard All-Ireland final against Donegal.

A gripping Croke Park encounter saw James Horan’s men cling on for victory in the face of a furious Dubs fightback.

All six Mayo forwards scored, with Cillian O’Connor converting three ‘45s, as they built up a 0-12 to 0-06 half-time lead.

The westerners then moved 0-17 to 0-07 clear by the 51st minute, but Dublin fought back with a string of Bernard Brogan frees. However, Mayo hung on to win 0-19 to 0-16 and they can be thankful to David Clarke for his brilliant save late on from Brogan.

Dubs do enough to regain Sam: Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-14, 2013 All-Ireland final

Dublin were crowned All-Ireland football champions for the second time in three years following this one-point victory. 

Mayo dominated the opening half hour with Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran shooting them into a three-point lead, but Dublin kept in touch with Bernard Brogan’s 16th-minute goal.

Mayo lead by 0-08 to 1-04 after the break but needed captain Moran’s 50th-minute goal to go level before Brogan grabbed his second goal for the Dubs and despite a string of O’Connor frees, Mayo fell short yet again.  

Watch live coverage of Dublin v Mayo on The Sunday Game on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player from 1410 and follow our live blog on Live radio coverage on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 from 1400. Watch highlights of both the All-Ireland minor and senior finals on The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 from 2130.