The number of scores in All-Ireland hurling finals between 1912 and 2012 are presented in Figure 1. On the years where there was a replay I have excluded the drawn game, e.g. the numbers for 2012 are for Kilkenny's victory over Galway (34 scores). The blue line represents the scores in each final. The red line is the 10-year moving average.
There is a clear upward trend up to 1969. The jump in the early 1970s can in part be attributed to the fact that these were 80-minute finals. Since 1975 the finals have been 70 minutes in duration. The highest number of scores during this period came in 2007 and 2008 when there were 47 scores in each final. The next highest was the 1990 final with 43 scores.
Since 1975 the lowest number of scores came in the 1987 final when there were 22 scores as Galway beat Kilkenny 1-12 to 0-09. There were 23 scores in the 1979 final between the same two teams. Clare and Offaly managed 24 scores in the 1995 decider while Cork and Kilkenny shared 25 scores in 1999.
Where each goal is counted as 3 points the 1987 game remains the lowest aggregate points total with 24. The next lowest points total was the 1999 final when Cork beat Kilkenny 0-13 to 0-12. With current Cork selector Seanie McGrath contributing some key scores in the last 15 minutes. The 1987 and 1999 games were played in wet conditions. The improvement in the quality of the Croke Park pitch, and the quality of the balls, means that the chances of there being less than an aggregate of 25 points scored are low.