Enda McGinley on Tyrone and Armagh rivalry: People are only appreciating now how good those games were

The pair won four All-Ireland titles between them in a six year period

BY Simon Maguire 20:08 Saturday 5 August 2017, 20:08 5 Aug 2017

Enda McGinley of Tyrone and Andy Mallon of Armagh. Image: ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

Saturday's panel on Off the Ball reflected on the great battles between Ulster rivals Armagh and Tyrone over a decade ago.  

Armagh won the All-Ireland title in 2002, along with seven Ulster titles in their golden era while Tyrone won three All-Ireland titles over a five year period from 2003.

Enda McNulty, Paul Hearty, Joe McMahon and Enda McGinley joined Ger Gilroy in studio to reflect on a rivalry which eventually saw 20,000 people turn up to a pre-season McKenna Cup match. 

Kieran McGeeney of Armagh and Enda McGinley of Tyrone. Image: ©INPHO/Patrick Bolger

"That was '06, said McGinley, "It was after the trilogy of '05 and the thing was just at its zenith really. That was mad going into that. I remember going on the bus into Casemount Park and...I mean McKenna Cup, you're not in great shape and you're coming in thinking '20,000 people showing up for a McKenna Cup game' and saying 'Christ, I definitely have to try today' but that was it at its absolute peak. 

"But, for me, it's interesting coming into this week because everybody's talking and looking back now on them games as a classic rivalry and I heard somebody say the '05 semi-final was one of the best games - you know it would stand up there with all matches of all time.

"Yet at the time, the big sort of trend and the chat would have been about how Tyrone and Armagh were destroying the game and how it was such negative football and all of that. And yet, looking back, people are only appreciating in hindsight how battling and how amazing them games were. 

"It's the benefit of hindsight too. Irish people in general always look back on the older days as somehow better than the present and that's just the way it always is," he added.

The full discussion can be heard here:

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