Seán O’Brien looks ahead to this weekend’s action in the Allianz Football League including Roscommon’s meeting with Mayo on Sunday.
Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Dublin (Division 1) and Tyrone (Division 2) have reached their first targets for the season with two rounds of the Allianz Football League still to be played. Having beaten Kerry, Mayo, Monaghan, Cork and Down, Dublin have booked a place in the semi-finals, with games against Donegal and Roscommon still to come. Tyrone also won five games in Division 2 (10 points) and while Cavan and Galway are only four points behind Tyrone with two games to play, they play each other in the final round so both couldn’t catch the leaders even if Mickey Harte’s men lost their last two games. It guarantees that Tyrone will return to Division 1 at the first attempt, irrespective of how they fare against Armagh and Fermanagh over the final two rounds.
Division 1: who will join Dublin in the semi-finals?
Saturday: Dublin v Donegal, Croke Park, 7pm
Sunday: Cork v Down, Pairc Ui Rinn, 2pm; Monaghan v Kerry, Clones, 3pm; Roscommon v Mayo, Dr. Hyde Park, 3.30pm
Dublin have qualified for the Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-finals for a fourth successive year while there’s quite a battle for the other three places, with Roscommon (8pts), Kerry (6pts), Donegal (6pts), Cork (4pts), Monaghan (4 pts) in the chasing pack. Mayo are on two points.
Down have lost all five games and are now virtually certain to return to Division 2 after one season in the top flight. They travel to Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday to take on Cork, who have a very good record against the Ulster team.
Roscommon, who were promoted with Down this season, have climbed to second place behind Dublin, having beaten Kerry, Cork, Down and Donegal in their last four games. They lost to Monaghan in the opening round.
Roscommon’s clash with Mayo will be one of the highlights of the weekend as the great Connacht rivals have different priorities after mixed fortunes so far. Mayo have won only one of five games, leaving them in danger of relegation while Roscommon are in with a great chance of reaching the semi-finals, which would be a huge achievement after coming up from Divisions 3 to 1 in successive seasons.
Roscommon and Mayo haven’t met in the Allianz League for several years but did clash in the Connacht championship in 2014, when Mayo won by a point. Supporters are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance from their local SuperValu or Centra store for the reduced price of €10 and can also buy on-line although a postal fee applies with that option
Dublin’s win over Down in the last round extended their winning run to over a year and it’s now a question of the position they occupy in the top four.
Monaghan made a good start to the Allianz League, beating Roscommon and Down in the opening two rounds but have since lost to Dublin, Mayo and Cork.
Kerry have gone in the other direction. They lost their first two games to Dublin and Roscommon but have since beaten Down, Donegal and Mayo.
Monaghan beat Kerry by four points in last year’s Allianz Football League.
Division 2: Tyrone already guaranteed promotion
Saturday: Tyrone v Armagh, Omagh, 7pm
Sunday: Cavan v Laois, Kingspan Breffni Park, 3pm; Derry v Meath, Owenbeg, 2pm; Galway v Fermanagh, Tuam Stadium, 3pm
Tyrone have already guaranteed themselves promotion after five rounds but can still play a major part in deciding who joins them on the route to Division 1 and who drops to Division 2. Tyrone’s clash with Armagh is crucial for Kieran McGeeney’s men, who find themselves bottom of the table on three points. Laois and Meath are also on three points but have a superior scoring difference to Armagh, while Fermanagh are a point ahead.
It all points to a desperate struggle to avoid the drop. Laois will be away to Cavan, who are second on the table (6pts), edging Galway (also on 6 pts) on scoring difference. Cavan beat Laois in last Allianz Football year’s League.
Fermanagh travel to Tuam to take on Galway, who have picked up five of their six points on the road, beating Laois in Portlaoise, Derry in Celtic Park and drawing with Armagh in the Athletic Grounds. They lost to Tyrone and drew with Meath in Pearse Stadium. Derry, who are on five points, host Meath, who beat Armagh, drew with Galway and lost to Ulster trio Cavan, Fermanagh and Tyrone.
Division 3: Two points separate top five
Saturday: Tipperary v Kildare, Sean Treacy Park, 2pm
Sunday: Clare v Longford, Ennis, 3pm; Sligo v Limerick, Markievicz Park, 3pm; Westmeath v Offaly, Cusack Park.
This is an extremely tight group with Kildare on eight points, followed by Clare, Longford, Tipperary and Offaly on six points and Sligo on four points. Westmeath (3) and Limerick (1) are currently in the relegation zone.
It’s 1 (Kildare) v 4 (Tipperary) and 2 (Clare) v 3 (Longford) next weekend, games that will have a big impact on the promotion race. Westmeath v Offaly is crucial for both as a win for Pat Flanagan’s men would keep themselves firmly in the promotion race while Tom Cribbin’s 2015 Leinster runners-up would be relegated if they lost and Limerick lost to Sligo. Limerick need to win to have any chance of avoiding relegation.
Division 4: Antrim close to promotion
Saturday: Leitrim v Carlow, Carrick-on-Shannon, 2pm
Sunday: Waterford v London, Fraher Field, 1pm; Louth v Wexford, Drogheda, 3pm; Wicklow v Antrim, Aughrim, 3pm
Antrim, who together with Dublin and Tyrone are the only counties on full points across all the divisions, will be guaranteed promotion if they beat Wicklow in Aughrim. The Ulstermen have ten points, two ahead of Louth and Wexford. They meet in Drogheda in a repeat of last year’s Division 3 clash which Louth won. Leitrim, Carlow and Wicklow are all on four points, while London are the only team in the division without a point.
Results to date and remaining Fixtures:
Allianz Football League Division 1
Round 1: Dublin 2-14 Kerry 0-14: Donegal 3-15 Down 0-7; Cork 1-18 Mayo 0-12; Monaghan 2-10 Roscommon 1-9.
Round 2: Dublin 0-9 Mayo 0-7; Roscommon 0-14 Kerry 1-10; Donegal 2-14 Cork 1-7; Monaghan 0-13 Down 0-11.
Round 3: Dublin 1-14 Monaghan 0-16; Roscommon 4-25 Cork 3-10; Donegal 1-14 Mayo 1-12; Kerry 0-22 Down 0-6.
Round 4: Dublin 2-14 Cork 2-10; Roscommon 1-12 Down 0-6; Kerry 1-13 Donegal 1-8; Mayo 2-11 Monaghan 1-12.
Round 5: Dublin 1-15 Down 1-7; Cork 1-20 Monaghan 1-13; Kerry 2-13 Mayo 0-14; Roscommon 1-19 Donegal 0-17.
Round 6: Mar 26: Dublin v Donegal; Mar 27: Cork v Down; Monaghan v Kerry; Roscommon v Mayo.
Round 7: Apr 3: Kerry v Cork; Mayo v Down; Monaghan v Donegal; Roscommon v Dublin.
Semi-finals: Apr 10: 1 v 4; 2 v 3.
Final: Apr 24
Allianz Football League Division 2
Round 1: Meath 1-10 Armagh 0-8; Tyrone 0-10 Cavan 0-8; Galway 3-12 Laois 1-10; Derry 3-13 Fermanagh 1-9.
Round 2: Laois 1-13 Armagh 0-15; Derry 1-12 Cavan 1-11; Tyrone 1-11 Galway 1-9; Fermanagh 0-10 Meath 0-6.
Round 3: Armagh 1-10 Fermanagh 0-12; Galway 1-18 Derry 2-12; Cavan 1-20 Meath 1-13; Tyrone1-14 Laois 0-14.
Round 4: Cavan 3-18 Armagh 0-10; Tyrone 2-15 Derry 0-12; Galway 0-15 Meath 1-12; Fermanagh 1-17 Laois 0-10.
Round 5: Cavan 1-12 Fermanagh 0-9; Laois 1-22 Derry 5-10; Armagh 1-15 Galway 1-15; Tyrone 1-17 Meath 1-11.
Round 6: Mar 26: Tyrone v Armagh; Mar 27: Cavan v Laois; Galway v Fermanagh; Derry v Meath.
Apr 3: Armagh v Derry; Cavan v Galway; Fermanagh v Tyrone; Laois v Meath.
Final: Apr 24: 1 v 2
Allianz Football League Division 3
Round 1: Clare 1-11 Sligo 0-7; Limerick 1-12 Tipperary 2-9; Offaly 0-12 Longford 0-10; Kildare 2-9 Westmeath 0-11.
Round 2: Kildare 1-12 Offaly 1-8; Longford 0-13 Limerick 1-8; Sligo 1-11 Westmeath 1-10; Tipperary 2-7 Clare 1-7.
Round 3: Kildare 2-11 Longford 0-10; Offaly 1-13 Sligo 0-14; Westmeath 0-11 Tipperary 1-8; Clare 1-14 Limerick 0-11.
Round 4: Tipperary 2-11 Offaly 0-12; Clare 1-18 Westmeath 0-10; Kildare 1-11 Limerick 1-10; Longford 1-17 Sligo 2-9.
Round 5: Westmeath 3-14 Limerick 0-7; Sligo 2-15 Kildare 2-14; Longford 1-17 Tipperary1-11; Offaly 0-15 Clare 1-11.
Round 6: Mar 27: Clare v Longford; Sligo v Limerick; Westmeath v Offaly; Tipperary v Kildare.
Round 7: Apr 3: Kildare v Clare; Limerick v Offaly; Longford v Westmeath; Sligo v Tipperary.
Allianz Football League Division 4
Round 1: Louth 2-9 London 0-9; Antrim 1-12 Carlow 0-10; Wexford 0-14 Leitrim 1-10; Wicklow 0-13 Waterford 1-8.
Round 2: Carlow 4-4 London 1-11; Antrim 1-8 Wexford 0-7; Louth 1-10 Waterford 1-9; Wicklow 0-10 Leitrim 1-6
Round 3: Wexford 4-20 London 1-6; Antrim 2-14 Leitrim 0-10; Waterford 3-15 Carlow 0-15; Louth 0-15 Wicklow 1-2.
Round 4: Wexford 0-12 Waterford 0-11; Leitrim 0-16 Louth 2-9; Antrim 1-11 London 0-11; Carlow 0-17 Wicklow 0-14.
Round 5: Leitrim 1-16 London 1-11; Antrim 1-16 Waterford 0-6; Louth 2-17 Carlow 1-7; Wexford 4-23 Wicklow 3-14.
Round 6: Mar 27: Waterford v London; Leitrim v Carlow; Louth v Wexford; Wicklow v Antrim.
Round 7: Apr 3: Antrim v Louth; London v Wicklow; Waterford v Leitrim; Wexford v Carlow.