Dublin and Mayo will clash in the All-Ireland football final on Saturday. It will be an eighth championship meeting of the counties in nine seasons, with the Dubs having won four of the previous seven.

Is this the rivalry that has defined the modern era?

Kerry and Donegal, the only two other counties to have won the title in the last ten years, might disagree with the premise.

But for closeness, quality, colour, and an undoubted tetchiness, you'd do well to beat Dublin versus Mayo since 2012.

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But to truly understand the bit of animosity that exists, you have to go back a little further to the famous (or infamous, depending on your own perspective) All-Ireland semi-final of 2006 and the 'Mill at the Hill.'

Before that, the counties had met just twice (both in 1985) in the previous 51 years of championship football.

Where did the modern rivalry begin?

The city had last looked forward to An-Ireland final Sunday with their own team involved for the first tine since 1995, and early on in the second half of the game against Mayo it seemed as though Dublin were well on their way to the decider against Kerry.

Before a ball had been kicked, Mickey Moran sent his Mayo players to warm up in front of Hill 16. When the Dublin players arrived they seemed unduly offended by the move.

They marched down towards the Hill, arms entwined "like the Roman Army" as Michael Lyster put it on the live Sunday Game broadcast, and Ciarán Whelan looked like he was going to burst.

Dublin marching towards Hill 16 before the 2006 semi final

Both squads took shots into the goal, while there was the slightly less pleasant interaction between management teams, including Pillar Caffrey's shoulder charge into the back of John Morrison.

Whatever the thinking behind the episode, Mayo had started well and led by four points with 20 minutes played. But goals from Conal Keaney and Jason Sherlock either side of half-time had left them seven points behind with 25 minutes to play.

From there however the Dubs would kick just one point as the westerners found another gear. Andy Moran found the net and gave a little fist pump to Hill as the ball crossed the line.

Ciarán McDonald's winning score was a thing of beauty. Incredibly, there was still five minutes of football played after that, but the shell-shocked Dubs couldn't find an equaliser.

Mayo would go on to be demolished by Kerry in the final by 13 points, five more than the margin in 2004, but that semi-final had sown the seeds of the edge that exists between the counties now.


If Mayo's 2006 victory had been helped by a Dublin capitulation, the counties' semi-final meeting six years later was the complete opposite.

The westerners were on top for large swathes of the game, holding a six-point lead at the break, which had been pushed out to 10 by the 50th minute.

Cillian O'Connor and Alan Dillon kicked 10 points between them and it would have been something of a travesty had they not booked a place in the final.

Clarke's save helped Mayo get over the line in 2012

That said, Mayo needed a late save from David Clarke to prevent a Dublin goal which would have brought the sides level.

The Green and Red won the game by three points, before going on to lose the final to a Michael Murphy-inspired Donegal.

That semi final win over Dublin was their last in championship.


The counties met again in the following year's final, with one big change for Dublin - the departure of Pat Gilroy and the arrival of Jim Gavin.

Like in the previous two championship clashes however Mayo made a bright start and led by three early on. Bernard Brogan then flicked a ball to the Mayo net to bring Dublin back into it, but the Connacht champions didn't panic and they had a one point lead at the break.

Dublin though dominated the opening quarter of an hour of the second half, and they would move three clear themselves. Only for Andy Moran to hit a major - cue cupped ears to Hill 16 - to draw the sides level once more.

Brogan turns to celebrate his second goal with an injured Eoghan O'Gara in the foreground

But the Dubs made the next move and within four minutes Bernard Brogan had his - and their - second goal of the game.

Dublin just about held on in the end, with Eoghan O'Gara and Rory O'Carroll both injured for the closing stages. The pair had to remain on the park owing to the fact that Gavin had used his full compliment of substitutes once he replaced Jonny Cooper with Denis Bastick just before the second goal.

It marked a first Dublin victory over Mayo in championship since 1985, and a second All-Ireland title in three years.


For the first time in the history of this modern rivalry Dublin made the better start. Helped by an early Diarmuid Connolly penalty, they led by five points after 15 minutes.

By half time, it was the goal that separated them, but Mayo were beginning to stutter as proceedings approached the hour mark. They had gone 12 minutes without a score before Kevin McManamon poked the ball home from a rebound to push Dublin's lead back out to five points once more.

Cillian O'Connor scores a Mayo penalty in the 2015 drawn game

Just like in 2006, the Metropolitans stretched their lead out to 7 before a sensational Mayo comeback nearly saw them snatch a victory. Cillian O'Connor's penalty left the minimum between the sides before Andy Moran popped over the equaliser.

Five minutes were added on at the end. They provided plenty of talking points - a Connolly red card and a missed Stephen Cluxton free at the end - but neither side could find the winner.

The first half of the replay was one of the best in recent times. Dublin led twice early on before Mayo moved two points clear twice, only for the Dubs to respond and go ahead again. The sides shared 20 points in total to go in level at the break.

It was Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes' side who made the first move after half-time, with a Cillian O'Connor goal pushing them four clear.

Bernard Brogan scoring another goal against Mayo in the replay

But two quick majors by Bernard Brogan and Philly McMahon turned the game around, and Kevin McManamon finished the contest in the 67th minute with an exquisite finish for Dublin's third three-pointer.

Gavin's Dubs went on to de-throne Kerry in the final, winning the first of their five-in-a-row titles.


Another year, another Dublin versus Mayo clash, and another drawn game.

Even the most ardent sceptic might have believed the curse was real for Mayo after the first half of the 2016 All-Ireland final.

The Green above the Red managed to keep the Dubs scoreless from play until the 34th minute. Somehow, almost inconceivably even years later, they also conspired to score two own goals in that period to keep Gavin's charges in the contest.

The first was somewhat unfortunate as a Bernard Brogan effort looked to be heading across the goal and wide before Kevin McLoughlin's touch redirected it into the net.

The second however was almost impossible. Diarmuid Connolly's scintillating pass put Dean Rock in behind the Mayo full-back line, but the Ballymun clubman dropped the ball.

Cillian O'Connor celebrates the equaliser in 2016's drawn clash

Colm Boyle arrived at exactly the right time to make contact with the ball and direct it into his own net.

Mayo had been the better team, but they went in five points down at the break.

Once again though they showed great character to wipe out a Dublin lead not once but twice in the second half, with O'Connor providing the equalising score in stoppage time.

The replay was another tense affair. Dublin started well before a Lee Keegan goal on 18 minutes put Mayo ahead for the first time in the game.

But the Westport man would follow Jonny Cooper off the park with a black card before half time, and it all boiled over as players from both teams got involved in some handbags shortly before the squads headed down the tunnel.

A Robbie Hennelly blunder gifted Dublin a penalty. The Mayo keeper dropped a Paul Flynn effort before bringing down Paddy Andrews - the foul led to him being black carded.

Rob Hennelly fumbles the ball in the replay

Connolly duly converted past Hennelly's replacement David Clarke, and the Dubs were able to keep their noses in from for the rest of the contest.

An O'Connor free deep into added time was dragged wide as Dublin did back-to-back titles for the first time since 1977.


For the second year in-a-row Dublin and Mayo met in the All-Ireland final. This time the contest was settled on the day.

Once again the Blues goaled early, but there was no fluke about this. Some had questioned Con O'Callaghan's experience ahead of that year's All-Ireland series.

But his solo goal in the final was a near carbon copy of the one he'd scored against Tyrone in the semis, as he showed tremendous speed to get clear of his marker, before burying the ball to the net.

The Dubs would lose Jack McCaffrey early on in that game to injury, and Mayo led by a point at the break.

Dean Rock kicks the winner in 2017

Dublin regained the lead in the third quarter after a moment of madness from Donal Vaughan to get sent off for a retaliation on John Small, who also saw the line.

But when Lee Keegan scored Mayo's goal on 54 minutes there was a genuine sense in the stadium that Mayo were finally going to get over the line.

The sides entered added time level at 1-16 apiece. Mayo had the first chance to win it but, like the previous year, O'Connor missed a free into the Hill 16 goal, with the ball rebounding back off the post.

Dean Rock, who had missed a last-minute free in that year's Allianz League final defeat to Kerry, was Dublin's hero. He had to avoid Keegan's GPS tracker as he slotted a free to push the easterners clear.

Three more minutes were played, but Mayo didn't get the chance to force another replay.


The most recent clash of the counties ended up being the most one-sided championship clash in nearly a century.

But it certainly didn't look that way in the first-half. Mayo more than held their own with the five-in-a-row chasing Dubs, restricting them to three points from play, and they took a two point lead into the break.

But 12 minutes of exceptional football swung it Dublin's way in the second half.

O'Callaghan terrorised the Mayo defence in 2019

Con O'Callaghan got two goals as they hit 2-6 without reply. Mayo tried to muster a response, and they got it in the form of another Keegan goal.

But Dublin were just too strong, with Brian Fenton's goal on the hour mark killing off the contest. The gap ended up being 10 points.

The following month, that group of players from the capital would go on to complete the historic five-in-a-row.

The rivalry now

So where does that leave the teams heading into the 2020 All-Ireland final?

Those of a more cynical persuasion might say that for this to be considered a proper rivalry Mayo need to start beating Dublin again, even irregularly.

The facts don't lie; the westerners come into Saturday's game without a win in six against Dublin, and without a win in 12 if you include Allianz League meetings.

They're in a similar position to where Dublin were in their own rivalry with Kerry heading into the 2011 final, or the Wexford hurlers before they finally got one over on Kilkenny in 2017.

There will be plenty talked over the next few days about the game "needing" a Mayo victory on Saturday - that is open to debate.

But what this weekend's showpiece does need to provide is a proper contest.

A repeat of any of the tight games the counties played between 2012-2017 would do very nicely.

Watch the All-Ireland senior football final between Dublin and Mayo live on RTÉ2 from 3.40pm Saturday, listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 or follow our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app. Highlights on The Saturday Game (9.55 pm RTÉ2).

Follow All-Ireland senior football final between Dublin and Cork with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app (from 3pm Sunday) or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game (9.30 pm RTÉ2).