# Six of the best
6 of the best games from the 2014 Gaelic football season
Club and county games both feature in our favourite matches of the year.

1. Kerry 1-16 Mayo 1-16, Kerry 3-16 Mayo 3-13 (aet), All-Ireland semi-final

24 August – Croke Park

Lee Keegan is shown a red card by David Goldrick Donall Farmer / INPHO Lee Keegan gets his marching orders. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Which Kerry-Mayo game did you prefer? For us, it’s like the debate about The Bends or OK Computer – each will appeal to different tastes but both are stone-cold classics.

With a 0-9 to 0-5 half-time lead for Kerry in the drawn game and Mayo down to 14 following Lee Keegan’s dismissal, it looked like an uphill task for the Connacht champions.

Cillian O’Connor’s 59th-minute penalty turned things in their favour only for Kieran O’Leary to tie matters.

2. Kerry 3-16 Mayo 3-13 (aet) – All-Ireland semi-final replay

30 August – Gaelic Grounds

ForKingAndCountry2014 / YouTube

Six days later in the Gaelic Grounds, the second contest proved to be just as absorbing, with all you could have wanted from a game of football.

The goals flowed – Mayo were 2-5 to 1-5 ahead at half-time but the lead constantly changed hands. Two Kerry penalties helped them to lead with time almost up but this time Mayo drew level.

Half-time in extra time saw the teams tied at 3-13 each but Paul Geaney and Jonathan Lyne (two) won it for Kerry.

3. Donegal 3-14 Dublin 0-17, All-Ireland semi-final

31 August, Croke Park

Ryan McHugh celebrates after scoring his side's first goal James Crombie / INPHO Ryan McHugh celebrates his side's first goal. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

The Dubs were unstoppable, they said. Only a formality for them to set up a dream final with Kerry, they said.

For most of the first half, ‘they’ were right as the Leinster champions led by 0-9 to 0-4, but then Donegal cut the gap with three points in a row and then Ryan McHugh netted to give them the lead.

In the second period, the game did a full 180°, McHugh’s second green flag providing a cushion for Jim McGuinness’s side and Colm McFadden added the insurance goal as Dublin were left shell-shocked.

4. Mayo 1-19 Cork 2-15, All-Ireland quarter-final

3 August, Croke Park

ForKingAndCountry2014 / YouTube

Cork, under new manager Brian Cuthbert, began the year in brilliant fashion in the league, but a turnaround in the semi-final against Dublin seemed to give their confidence a severe dent.

They scraped past Tipperary and were then beaten out the gate against Kerry in the Munster final. A victory over Sligo restored some belief but the expectations were low against a Mayo side fairly fresh after coming through Connacht quite easily.

The first half was tit-for-tat, 0-8 each the half-time score, but Mayo powered six clear in the second half and that looked to be that. Donncha O’Connor’s gave Cork new life and even though Aidan O’Shea responded, Brian Hurley brought it back to a point.

Lee Keegan and Donal Vaughan extended the Mayo lead before Colm O’Neill replied for Cork and in injury time he tapped over another free, having seemingly been told there was time for an equaliser. Alas for Cork, it was the last action.

5. Longford 2-16 Derry 2-14, All-Ireland qualifiers

21 June, Celtic Park

Ciaran McFall in action against Colm P Smyth Presseye / John McIlwaine/INPHO Derry's Ciaran McFall is chased by Longford's Colm Smyth. Presseye / John McIlwaine/INPHO / John McIlwaine/INPHO

Not for the first time, an impressive league campaign from Derry seemed to indicate that they were ready to make a big impact in the championship, and while Donegal knocked them out of Ulster a home qualifier clash with Longford – relegated from Division 3 – looked to be a foregone conclusion.

An early 0-7 to 0-3 lead indicated the same but Paul Barden’s goal sparked a Longford turnaround and they were 1-6 to 0-7 in front at half-time. Derry were on the back foot for a lot of the second half but managed to draw level as Benny Heron and Mark Lynch scored two goals in as many minutes.

Longford sub Mark Hughes had the decisive say with a 64th-minute goal, though.

6. Austin Stacks 0-15 Ballincollig 1-9 (aet), Munster Club semi-final

16 November, Austin Stack Park

Tralee Today / YouTube

At the tail end of the year, this game may not have always been laden with quality but it had drama aplenty.

In the initial exchanges, Ballincollig looked to have Kieran Donaghy’s number as they led by 1-3 to 0-1, Patrick Kelly with a fine goal. Donaghy’s switch to midfield was literally a game-change for Stacks, however, and they slowly gained control, pushing two points clear with 10 minutes left.

Seán Kiely’s point gave Ballincollig hope and then veteran John Miskella produced a score for the ages to send the game to extra time. With a second wind, Stacks finished off the job properly at the second time of asking.

What Gaelic football games did you most enjoy during 2014? Let us know

Farewell to Shane Curran and a league title — Roscommon’s 2014 sporting highlights

10 moments to remember from The Sunday Game this year

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