Some All-Ireland finals are easily recalled and become part of the folk memory while others drift into obscurity and only wreck people's heads at table quizzes.

Early signs are that last year's football final, one of the more humdrum affairs, will stand with the latter bunch. 1982 obviously belongs to the former. The likes of 1984 and 1985? They rarely get a look-in on Laochra Gael. Those Kerry-Dublin All-Ireland finals post the Mikey Sheehy lob tend to blend into another. 

It helps to have a novel winner. Or even a novel loser. Or if it's the first - or possibly the last - win for a historically great team. Or if it immediately precedes a famine and the year's last two digits become a touchstone for future generations. 

Or, and this is the key one, if the game was marked by some famous scene of 'unpleasantness'. The 1983 final, described as a 'putrid' match, survives so well in the public mind that even GAA agnostics like Roddy Doyle have some memory of it. (That specific memory being Brian Mullins's sending off).

The 1996 All-Ireland final saga between Meath and Mayo emphatically belongs in the former category. 

Some 20 years later, in 2016, the Mayo News reported that a Meath man was fined in Westport District Court for his part in a row in a local chipper the previous November, a row which was sparked by a disagreement over the 1996 All-Ireland final replay. 

It's incidents like this that place it in the hall of fame of All-Ireland finals. I don't see anyone nowadays getting involved in fisticuffs over the 2001 All-Ireland final (that's Galway and Meath for you quizzers). 

The 1996 All-Ireland final is one of the most vividly remembered finals of the past 30 years.

Not for the quality of the play. It was a classic 'Meath' All-Ireland final in many respects, that veterans from the late 80s would recognise. It was low-scoring, it was fairly robust. The purists spent the game wincing and lamenting the quality of the kick-passing. 

Rather it was the great abundance of memorable snapshots and set-pieces and talking points it provided. 

The 29-man brawl was the most famous of these, and it kept the disciplinary committees busy for months afterwards. Because it occurred on the biggest stage, it is the 'GAA brawl' par excellence. The brawl against which all future brawls are judged. Naturally it remains a big hit on youtube, especially Pat Spillane's admirably forensic deconstruction of it that night on The Sunday Game.  

But there were plenty more incidents.  

Colm Coyle's comical equaliser in the drawn game, star-man McHale traipsing head bowed towards the sideline after his sending off, Brendan Reilly's superbly taken winning point, Mayo's inexplicable failure to rustle up an equalising point even after a PJ Gillic intercept had given them a lifeline, John Maughan walking around in shorts for the entire 140 minutes for some reason. 

I always remember the plastic bag wafting into picture - straight off the set of American Beauty - making a gallant effort to save Tommy Dowd's crucial 60th minute goal. 

Some 20 years later, in 2016, the Mayo News reported that a Meath man was fined in Westport District Court for his part in a row in a local chipper the previous November, a row which was sparked by a disagreement over the 1996 All-Ireland final replay. 

There is some debate - among connoisseurs of this type of thing - about whether it is the most agonising of Mayo's All-Ireland final defeats. 

There's an argument that the sheer accumulation of All-Ireland final pain made the two recent losses to Dublin in 2016 and 2017 more difficult to stomach. 1996 was, after all, only Mayo's second All-Ireland final loss since their last victory in 1951. 

Between the mid-1950s and the late-1980s, Mayo football played second fiddle to Galway in Connacht. Indeed, they often played third fiddle, with Roscommon setting the pace in the province for good stretches. Mayo, in fact, went the whole of the 1970s without winning a Connacht title. This All-Ireland final 'curse' seems to be a relatively modern invention. 

But there's no question that the 1996 final was the one that was really frittered away. 

The term 'bottler' is beloved of pub-talkers everywhere and is frequently slung - with possibly too much glee - at Mayo. 

Most of the time, in All-Ireland finals since 1989, Mayo have been beaten by a better team. Sometimes a marginally better team and sometimes a majorly better team. 

That may even be true of 1996 as well. But midway through the second half of the drawn game, they held a six-point lead - in a game that was already low-scoring enough - and failed to close it out.  

The slapstick nature of Meath's equalising score suggested an element of panic in the Mayo ranks as they neared the finish line. 

The game is generally portrayed now as the Gaelic football's version of Bambi's mum dying. The GAA's perennial bridesmaids, the Jimmy Whites of the association, losing to the then pantomime villains, the hard chaws who specialised in dangling the prospect of victory in front of the nearly-men before ripping it away again in some improbable, gut-wrenching late surge. The 1996 saga will probably forever remain the high water mark of Meathness

Sore feeling prevailed afterwards. Mayo were particularly annoyed about the outcome of the brawl, feeling that the Meath players had flaked with greater abandon, reminiscent of the 1974 Lions tour. 

Pat McEnaney had resolved to single out one player from each team for banishment should a melee break out and apparently informed both setups of this.

Referee Pat McEnaney sending off Liam McHale and Col

(It says much about the atmosphere that McEnaney felt it necessary to apprise both management teams of the measures he would take in the event of a full-scale brawl but how and ever). 

To the dismay of Mayo supporters, it was Liam McHale, the man of the match from the drawn game and perhaps their finest player, who got the line. His opposite number John McDermott was originally meant to march off with him, perhaps evening up matters.

But it was soon decided that Colm Coyle demanded attention for the sheer vigour of his flaking. McEnaney's umpire alerted him to the issue with the immortal line - "You're going to have to send off Colm Coyle. He's after dropping about six of them."

In an aside in 'House of Pain', Keith Duggan noted that Meath players were resentful of their portrayal as 'bad guys' in the aftermath. 

Nowadays, one gets the sense that Meath fans revel in their team's role as villains in the affair.  

The '96 business has injected a spikiness to the Meath-Mayo relationship (though I have heard folk of an earlier vintage attribute that to the Land Commission which is a bit beyond the ken of a sportswriter this close to a game).   

Chris O'Connor and Cian Ward Meath celebrate victory in 2009 as Brian Meade consoles Aidan O'Shea

Meath and Mayo have met eight times in the championship in total (counting the final replays in 1951 and 1996) and in all bar one year, the victor was subsequently crowned All-Ireland champions.

The 1951 win, still Mayo's last All-Ireland final win, is their only championship victory over Meath. The Leinster side's semi-final victories in 1949, 1967 and 1988 teed up All-Ireland victories the following month.

Their most recent meeting was in 2009. Mayo had just won the only Connacht title of John O'Mahony's surprising abject second stint in charge. But a demoralising late fade-out saw them lose to a comparatively undistinguished Meath outfit who were not regarded as real All-Ireland contenders. 

The Meath team is changed entirely but four Mayo players survive from that experience - Andy Moran, Donal Vaughan, Keith Higgins and Aidan O'Shea. 

But 2009 is a footnote. In modern times, the rivalry is all about the 1996 saga, one of the most famous All-Ireland finals of the last three decades.