Some of the semi-finals and relegation slots are likely to be decided in Round 6 next weekend. With the top four to advance to the semi-finals, Dublin, Tyrone and Kildare, all of whom are on eight points after winning four of five games are within touching distance of a qualification place.
Dublin are best placed of the trio and in addition to having home advantage against struggling Down on Saturday, they also have a very favourable scoring difference (+32 points).
Kildare (-1 point) and Kildare (+3 points) clash in Newbridge where the winners will reach the semi-finals.
One of the highlights of the weekend will be the meeting of Kerry and Cork in Tralee on Sunday. Defending Division 1 champions, Cork have got back on track after a slow start and are now on six points, four ahead of Kerry. Kerry are bottom of the table, having an inferior scoring difference to Mayo and Down who are also on two points.
It means that if Kerry lose and Down or Mayo win, the Kingdom would almost certainly be facing relegation for the first time since 2001.
Down and Mayo are also in trouble with the former facing a huge challenge against Dublin on Saturday while Mayo travel to Castlebar for a re-run of last year’s All-Ireland final.
It’s a crucial game too as Donegal could be dragged into the relegation battle if they lose while defeat for Mayo would leave them in serious relegation trouble ahead of their final game against Cork on April 7.
Saturday: Dublin v Down, Croke Park, 7.00
Sunday: Kildare v Tyrone, Newbridge, 2.30; Kerry v Cork, Tralee, 2.00; Mayo v Donegal, Castlebar, 2.30.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 2: LONGFORD RELEGATED, WESTMEATH ON WAY UP
Sunday: Galway v Wexford, Pearse Stadium, 12.45; Louth v Derry, Drogheda 2.00; Westmeath v Armagh, Mullingar, 2.00; Longford v Laois, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park 2.30
Westmeath need only one more point from their remaining games against Armagh and Derry to clinch promotion after taking nine from a possible ten points in their first five games.
Derry (7pts) are also well-poised for a promotion push but can’t afford any slip-ups in their remaining two games against Louth and Westmeath. Laois, Louth, Galway and Wexford are all on five points and hoping that Derry lose their final two games.
Longford, who were promoted with Wexford at the end of this season, will drop back to Division 3 next year. They have lost all five games are five points and cannot now avoid the drop even if they beat Laois and Louth in their last two games.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 3: ALL VERY CROWDED AT THE TOP
Sunday: Antrim v Meath, Casement Park, 2.00; Fermanagh v Sligo, Enniskillen, 2.00; Wicklow v Cavan, Aughrim, 2.30; Roscommon v Monaghan, Dr. Hyde Park, 3.30.
Only four points separate the top six with Monaghan (8pts) and Fermanagh (7pts) lead the way. Monaghan, who hit Wicklow for 5-13 last weekend, head for Dr. Hyde Park to take on Roscommon (5pts) who edged back into promotion contention with an impressive win over Antrim in Casement Park last Saturday.
Fermanagh have done extremely well after being promoted from Division 4 at the end of last season and are now very much in contention to advance to Division 2. They will be at home to Sligo (3pts),
who slipped into the relegation zone when losing to Meath last Saturday. Wicklow (2pts) are in even bigger trouble.
Together with Longford, they are the only counties not to have won a game in the entire League and badly need to take both points at home to Cavan (5pts) if they are to have a realistic chance of remaining in Division 3. However, if they lose and Antrim (4pts) win or draw against Meath (6pts), Wicklow will be relegated ahead of the last round.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 4: ONLY FOUR POINTS SEPARATE TOP SEVEN
Sunday: Waterford v Offaly, Cariganore, 12.45; Tipperary v Leitrim, Semple Stadium, 2.00; London v Limerick, Ruislip 1.00; Carlow v Clare, Dr. Cullen Park, 2.30.
Limerick’s unbeaten record came to an end last Saturday when they lost to Tipperary, but they still lead the way on eight points, two clear of Tipperary and Offaly (6pts each) with Leitrim, Clare, Waterford and Carlow all on four points.
However, Clare have played one match less than the other three so they may be yet power their way into the promotion zone.
Limerick will be away to London (2pts) next Sunday while second placed (on scoring difference) Tipperary will have home advantage against Leitrim on Sunday. Third placed Offaly will be away to Waterford while Carlow host Clare in Dr. Cullen Park.