1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

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1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Final
1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final programme.jpg
Event 1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
Date 25 September 1966
Venue Croke Park, Dublin
Referee Jimmy Hatton (Wicklow)
Attendance 71,569

The 1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final was the 79th All-Ireland Final and the deciding match of the 1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, an inter-county Gaelic football tournament for the top teams in Ireland.

Mattie McDonagh scored a goal after 21 minutes and Galway led 1-6 to 0-1 at half-time, and went on to complete a three-in-a-row. McDonagh's goal came 11th in RTÉ's 2005 series Top 20 GAA Moments.[1]

It was the third of three All-Ireland football titles won by Galway in the 1960s, which made them joint "team of the decade" with Down who also won three.[2]

Galway's three 1960s titles came consecutively.[3]

Harry Beitzel, an Australian credited with pioneering the development of the composite rules sport International rules football, is said to have drawn inspiration from watching the 1966 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final on television, and in 1967 sent an Australian side – "The Galahs" – to play the game against an Irish side. Beitzel followed this up the next year with The Australian Football World Tour, a six-match series with games played against Irish teams in Ireland, the UK and United States. (The 1968 Galahs also played exhibition matches of Australian Rules throughout the tour, including a game in Bucharest, Romania.)[4] This was to be, if not the battle of the century, at least the final of the decade. That was the assessment from all the pundits as Galway geared up to secure their third All-Ireland title in a row, against Meath. The credentials of both sides were perfect: Galway unbeaten since the 1963 All-Ireland final with Dublin against a Meath team that had put in an incredible second-half performance against Down to win by ten points. The champions, with the breeze behind them, made the early running. With 13 minutes gone they had strolled to a 3-point lead. Despite the best efforts of the Meath side to keep the score that low against A Galway side who had the momentum, the crucial score came not long after. Cyril picked up possession and played the ball across the Meath goal. As it bounced across the face of John McCormack's goal, Mattie McDonagh came steaming in and planted the ball into the back of the net with relative ease. It was Galway's first goal in their "Three In A Row" assault. Thirty seconds later, Liam Sammon pointed followed quickly by another from Seamus Leydon. This left it at 1-05 to no score in favour of Galway. Murty Sullivan got Meath off the mark but at half-time, they trailed by 8 points, 1-06 to 0-01. A reshuffled Meath team re-opened the second half with promise, but the revival they sought, desperately needing a goal, never looked like coming. Meath outscored Galway in the second half but it was merely an irrelevant statistic as the Tribesmen had made it "Three In A Row", with a six-point victory. The ingredients were there for a thrilling contest were there for a thrilling contest, but on the day it all came apart for Meath and remained the same for a Galway side who made GAA history with their performance.

Maroon & White Shirts/White Shorts/Maroon Socks
1-10 - 0-07
(final score after 60 minutes)
Green & Gold Shirts/White shorts/Green Socks
Manager: John 'Tull' Dunne

Johnny Geraghty (GK)
Enda Colleran (Capt.)
Noel Tierney
Bosco McDermott
Colie Mcdonagh
Sean Meade
Martin Newell
Jimmy Duggan
Pat Donnellan
Cyril Dunne
Mattie McDonagh
Seamus Leydon
Liam Sammon
Sean Cleary
John Keenan

John Donnellan

1-06 - 0-01

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

15.30 BST
Sunday, September 25, 1966

Croke Park, Dublin


Jimmy Hatton (Wicklow)

Match rules:
60 minutes.
Replay if scores still level.
Maximum of 3 substitutions.

Manager: Fr. Patrick Tully

John McCormack(GK)
Dinny Donnelly
Jack Quinn
Peter Darby
Pat Collier
Bertie Cunningham
Pat Reynolds
Peter Moore
Tom Brown
Tony Brennan
Murty O'Sullivan
Davy Carty (Capt.)
Gerry Quinn
Noel Curran
Ollie Shanley

Mick White
Jack Fagan
Martin Quinn


  1. ^ High Ball magazine, issue #6, 1998.
  2. ^ "Kerry on honour roll". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Kenny, Tom (14 April 2011). "The men who first brought Sam to Galway". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 14 April 2011. Then came the three in a row team who in 1964 beat Kerry by 0 – 15 to 0 – 10; in 1965 it was Galway 0 – 12 to Kerry 0 – 9, and in 1966 Galway 1 – 10 to Meath’s 0 – 7. 
  4. ^ 'Croke Park had never seen anything like it'