The Ulster Championship Roll of Honour

Cavan (40 titles)
THE Breffni County are streets ahead of the chasing pack when it comes to provincial titles, even though they’ve only one two titles since 1969. They won seven titles in-a-row between 1931 and 1937 and won six titles on the bounce between 1940 and 1945. A few theories abound as to why their fortunes have faded somewhat. Paul Fitzpatrick of The Anglo Celt newspaper has written that from when Cavan won our first All-Ireland title in 1933 till they landed their 38th Ulster title in 1969, the county lost a third of its population, and it also took a considerable amount of time for modern giants in Ulster to step up to the mark.

Monaghan (16 titles)
THE Farney have never won an All-Ireland title, but they have a storied tradition in the Ulster Championship. They won the first ever championship back in 1988 (defeating Cavan by two points to one in a replay!) and claimed four Anglo Celts during the twenties. In later years, they had a top team during the eighties, calling upon celebrated players like Nudie Hughes, and won titles in 1985 and 1988, and they defeated Donegal in the 2013 and 2015 showdowns.

Tyrone (16 titles)
TYRONE are a latter day giant of Ulster football and have won a remarkable eight titles since the turn of the millennium. Most recently, Padraig Hampsey climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand after they defeated Monaghan by the bare minimum last year. They do have a rich tradition in the competition stretching back to their inaugural back-to-back successes in 1956 and 1957, a super team adorned by the legendary Iggy Jones. In total, they have appeared in 23 deciders, winning 16, a solid success rate.

Armagh (14 titles)
THE Orchard County have struggled in the provincial arena in the last decade, but 14 titles is a stellar return in the grand scale of things. They’ve won Ulster titles in seven different decades, including their historic All-Ireland winning year in 2002. They also claimed a memorable three in-a-row between 2004 and 2006, albeit some would say they underachieved by not adding a second All-Ireland to the collection during those years.

Down (12 titles)
FIVE All-Irelands to 12 Ulster titles – it’s not a bad ratio, is it? While Down rank a middling fifth on the list, it should be borne in mind that they won their first ever Ulster title in 1959, a relatively late juncture. Those were the days of some of the most legendary players ever to come out of Ulster, like Sean O’Neill, Paddy Doherty and Kevin Hussen. It’s hard to believe their last Ulster title was in 1994, and the drought doesn’t really show any signs of coming to an end any time soon unfortunately.

Donegal (10 titles)
STATISTICALLY, Donegal have been the best Ulster Championship team of the last decade and are bidding for their sixth title in 11 years when they lock swords with Derry this weekend. They won their first ever title in 1972 with Brian McEniff as player-manager. They boosted their haul with three titles in four years during the Jimmy McGuinness era, and are still going strong under Declan Bonner, a man who won two Ulster medals as player.

Antrim (9 titles)
IT may surprise some people to know that Antrim have nine Ulster Championship titles to their name given that they’ve not really factored into the business end of things in recent decades, barring a rare Ulster final appearance in 2009. They dominated Ulster football for a spell more than a hundred years ago, winning seven titles between 1901 and 1913. Their other two titles arrived in 1946 and 1951.

MAKE IT EIGHT…Chrissy McKaigue captained Derry to their latest title on Sunday

Derry (8 titles)
DERRY have lost more Ulster finals than they’ve won, which didn’t particularly sit well for Sunday’s Ulster final. They’d lost ten finals and won seven, but Rory Gallagher instilled a level of belief in the current squad that transformed them into winners. The scenes in Clones will love long in the memory. They broke their duck in Ulster in 1958 and made it all the way to the All-Ireland final, where they lost by six points to Dublin. Their most famous Ulster final victory was against Donegal in 1993 in their All-Ireland final winning year.

Fermanagh (0 titles)
FERMANAGH have never won an Ulster title, but they have appeared in a few finals, most recently in 2018 where they were blitzed by Donegal. They came closest to making history in 2008, bringing Armagh to a replay under then-manager Malachy O’Rourke.

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