Between them Dublin and Galway have shared half of the football All-Irelands won at the Under-21 grade over the past 16 seasons.

The Dubs have four; 2003, ’10, ’12 and ’14. Galway’s four wins came in 2002, ’05, ’11 and ’13.

What: Dublin v Galway, All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship final
Where: O’Connor Park, Tullamore
When: Saturday, 5.0pm

The outcomes for those teams as they pushed on towards senior level, however have been starkly different.

Galway football has been in the doldrums for well over a decade now and their recent Allianz League Division 2 final win at Croke Park was actually their first at GAA Headquarters in 16 years.

By contrast, the Dubs have won four of the last six Sam Maguires and each of them has been backboned by a strong representation of those All-Ireland Under-21 winning teams.

The likes of Bryan Cullen, who lifted Sam as captain, and Alan Brogan, who was skipper 14 years ago, had to wait around for a few years before they reached the promised land - but they finally got there in 2011.

The 2012 and ’14 teams have produced Jack McCaffrey and Brian Fenton, both since named Footballer of the Year, and All-Ireland winners like Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion and Cormac Costello.

Plenty of their team mates will realistically be hoping to join them in winning celtic cross medals in the near future.

Aaron Byrne in action for Dublin

Galway’s fortunes, by contrast, haven’t been so good. Like the county’s hurlers, they have been able to win underage All-Irelands with an impressive strike-rate, but they haven’t been able to trade that up to senior.

On Saturday in Tullamore the Dubs and the Tribesmen meet in an Under-21 decider for the first time since 2002, when a young Michael Meehan first announced himself on the national stage.

At the start of this season neither of these sides would have been expected to make this weekend’s final and before their respective semi-finals they were very much the outsiders as Kerry and Donegal were expected to set up a repeat their All-Ireland minor final from 2014.

The Boys in Blue under Dessie Farrell were probably aided by the fact that Donegal were playing their third game in eleven days, but there’s no hiding the quality the likes of Aaron Byrne, Con O’Callaghan, who was black-carded early in the semi, and Colm Basquel possess.

Gerry Fahy’s Galway blew the Kingdom, made up of a three in-a-row of All-Ireland minor champion teams, away inside the first ten minutes when the stockpiled a nine-point lead. Midfielder Peter Cooke and centre-forward Michael Daly were amongst the main men.

 Liam Kelly and Sean Andy O Ceallaigh celebrate Galway's semi-final win

This is the last spin for the All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship as it drops to Under-20 next year, though hurling remains unaffected, as the GAA aim to tackle the continuing problem of burn-out amongst elite young players.

It’ll be played midweek during the summer of 2018 and no player who has been named in a starting team for even one of their county’s senior championship matches that season will be ineligible.

The All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship has been around since 1964, with Cork topping the leaderboard on eleven wins. Kerry have ten, Mayo, Tyrone and Galway have five each and the Dubs have four.

You can keep up-to-date with Saturday’s All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship final between Dublin and Galway, which throws-in at 5.0pm, here on