EXCITEMENT MOUNTS ON HOME STRETCH IN ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE
There are still two rounds to go in the Allianz Football League but some key issues could be decided in next weekend’s series of games.
However, the majority of the final pairings/promotion/relegation decisions won’t be settled until the last round of games on Sunday week.
DIVISION 1: DUBLIN ON THE VERGE OF CLINCHING FINAL PLACE
Saturday: Dublin v Down, Croke Park, 7.30 (Setanta)
Sunday (2.30): Monaghan v Kerry, Inniskeen; Armagh v Galway, Athletic Grounds; Mayo v Cork, Castlebar TG4 (deferred)
Dublin head into next Saturday evening’s game with Down, knowing that a draw would be enough to earn them a place in the final for the first time since 1999. Dublin lead the way on ten points from five games, three ahead of Down with Cork sandwiched between them on eight points.
Kerry (6pts) are still in with an outside chance of reaching the final but would need to beat Monaghan and Down in their final two games and hope that Cork slipped up.
While a draw against Down would be enough to earn Dublin a place in the final, they could still be edged out if they were to lose their last two games (v Down and Galway) and other results went against them.
However, all the signs are that Pat Gilroy’s men will take one of the places in the final.
Galway, the only team in the group without a point after five games have to beat Armagh to have any hope of avoiding relegation. Even then, they would need to beat Dublin in the final round and hope that other results went their way if they are escape the drop.
Monaghan (2pts), Mayo (3pts) and Armagh (4pts) are also in the relegation zone. Monaghan have been rather unlucky, losing two games by a point and will be hoping for a change of fortune when they host Kerry on Sunday. Cork travel to Castlebar for what will be a repeat of last year’s Division 1 final which the Rebels won easily.
DIVISION 2: FIVE OF EIGHT STILL IN PROMOTION RACE
Sunday (2.30 unless stated): Donegal v Antrim, Ballyshannon; Tyrone v Kildare, Omagh; Derry v Meath, Celtic Park; Sligo v Laois, Markievicz Park, 1.30.
Donegal lead the way on eight points in what is a very tight promotion race with Kildare on seven points, followed by Laois, Tyrone and Derry, all on six points. Tyrone, who have recovered well after a poor start, host Kildare in a key game which will leave the winners well-placed for a promotion drive in the final round. Antrim (2pts) appear to be on their way back down to Division 3 after being promoted last year. They take on high-flying Donegal, knowing that they must win their last two games to have a chance of survival.
Meath (2pts) are also in serious relegation trouble as they face Derry and Tyrone in their last two games. Sligo are a point ahead of Meath and will be hoping to pull away from the relegation zone when they host Laois, who still have promotion ambitions.
DIVISION 3: ONLY FIVE POINTS SEPARATE TOP FROM BOTTOM
Saturday: Cavan v Louth, Kingspan Breffni Park, 5.30.
Sunday (2.30): Limerick v Westmeath, Newcastlewest; Waterford v Offaly, Dungarvan; Tipperary v Wexford, Semple Stadium.
Only five points separate top (Wexford on eight points) from bottom (Cavan on three points). Cavan need to beat Louth on Saturday to give themselves a chance of avoiding the drop while Louth need to bounce back after losing their last two games to Offaly and Limerick.
Wexford, who were unlucky to lose out on promotion last year, have their fate in their own hands this time as they have a two-point advantage at the head of the table. They play Tipperary and Limerick in their last two games. Offaly lost to Tipperary last time out and will be hoping to re-ignite their promotion bid with a win over Waterford who, together with Limerick and Tipperary, are on four points. Westmeath, who are on five points, still have an outside chance of promotion but would need to beat Limerick and Offaly in their last two games to keep in the race.
DIVISION 4: ROSCOMMON ALL BUT GUARANTEED PROMOTION
Sunday (2.30 unless stated): Carlow v London, Dr. Cullen Park, 1.0; Roscommon v Kilkenny, Kiltoom; Longford v Leitrim, Pearse Park; Fermanagh v Clare, Enniskillen.
Roscommon (11 pts from six games) are on their way back to Division 3 after dropping down last year. A win over Kilkenny, who have lost all seven games so far, next Sunday would clinch promotion for Fergal O’Donnell’s men, irrespective of how other results go in the final two rounds. The second promotion slot is still some way from being decided. Wicklow are second on the table on nine points but have played a game more than Longford (8pts), Carlow (7pts), Clare (6pts) and two more games than Leitrim (6pts). Leitrim still have three games to play whereas Longford, Carlow and Clare have two games left while Wicklow have one so it really is extremely tight.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE 2011: RESULTS & FIXTURES
Round 1: Dublin 2-12 Armagh 1-11; Mayo 1-13 Down 3-7; Cork 0-17 Kerry 1-13; Monaghan 0-19 Galway 0-14.
Round 2: Dublin 3-13 Cork 0-16; Kerry 1-9 Mayo 0-8; Armagh 1-11 Monaghan 0-13; Down 2-11 Galway 1-9.
Round 3: Down 0-12 Armagh 0-11; Dublin 3-10 Kerry 1-15; Cork 1-15 Monaghan 1-12; Mayo 2-14 Galway 0-12.
Round 4: Cork 3-17 Down 0-15; Armagh 2-10 Mayo 1-10; Dublin 0-13 Monaghan 1-9; Kerry 0-16 Galway 0-8.
Round 5: Down 1-16 Monaghan 0-11; Cork 0-16 Galway 0-13; Kerry 1-13 Armagh 1-9; Dublin 4-15 Mayo 3-13.
Round 6: Apr 2 (Sat): Dublin v Down; Apr 3 (Sun): Monaghan v Kerry; Mayo v Cork; Armagh v Galway.
Round 7: Apr 10 (Sun); Monaghan v Mayo; Kerry v Down; Galway v Dublin; Cork v Armagh.
Apr 24: Final.
Round 1: Laois 1-14 Meath 1-11; Donegal 2-11 Sligo 1-14; Kildare 1-17 Antrim 0-11; Derry 1-11 Tyrone 0-13.
Round 2: Donegal 1-10 Tyrone 0-6; Derry 0-13 Kildare 0-11; Meath 1-12 Sligo 0-8; Laois 1-12 Antrim 0-10.
Round 3: Antrim 0-14 Meath 0-11; Tyrone 2-15 Sligo 0-15; Donegal 0-8 Kildare 1-5; Laois 1-21 Derry 1-7.
Round 4: Tyrone 1-16 Antrim 1-11; Donegal 0-15 Meath 0-9; Kildare 1-13 Laois 1-11; Derry 0-11 Sligo 0-8.
Round 5: Donegal 2-18 Derry 2-12; Tyrone 1-12 Laois 0-11; Kildare 1-14 Meath 1-12; Sligo 2-18 Antrim 1-11.
Round 6: Apr 3 (Sun): Donegal v Antrim; Tyrone v Kildare; Derry v Meath; Sligo v Laois.
Round 7: Apr 10 (Sun): Antrim v Derry; Laois v Donegal; Kildare v Sligo; Meath v Tyrone.
Apr 24: Final.
Round 1: Offaly 1-12 Cavan 0-8; Wexford 4-11 Waterford 2-6; Tipperary 0-10 Limerick 0-6. Louth 2-13 Westmeath 0-11.
Round 2: Waterford 2-8 Limerick 0-8; Westmeath 0-12 Cavan 1-9; Wexford 0-12 Offaly 0-11; Louth 1-12 Tipperary 1-10.
Round 3: Louth 1-12 Wexford 0-11; Cavan 0-13 Waterford 1-8; Westmeath 2-12 Tipperary 2-9; Offaly 2-10 Limerick 1-12.
Round 4: Waterford 2-8 Tipperary 0-9; Offaly 1-9 Louth 0-11; Limerick 2-14 Cavan 0-15; Wexford 0-13 Westmeath 1-7.
Round 5: Limerick 1-14 Louth 1-11; Westmeath 1-19 Waterford 1-14; Tipperary 1-11 Offaly 0-13; Wexford 1-14 Cavan 2-9.
Round 6: Apr 2 (Sat): Cavan v Louth; Apr 3 (Sun): Limerick v Westmeath; Waterford v Offaly; Tipperary v Wexford.
Round 7: Apr 3 (Sun): Westmeath v Offaly; Waterford v Louth; Limerick v Wexford; Cavan v Tipperary.
Apr 23: Final
Round 1: London 0-16 Kilkenny 0-2; Leitrim 0-12 Clare 0-11; Longford 1-7 Roscommon 0-10; Carlow 2-10 Wicklow 1-13; Fermanagh (bye).
Round 2: Roscommon 1-14 London 0-5; Clare 5-17 Kilkenny 1-1; Wicklow 1-15 Leitrim 1-10; Fermanagh 1-10 Carlow 0-6; Longford (bye).
Round 3: Longford 1-8 Fermanagh 0-5; Leitrim 3-18 Kilkenny 0-0; Roscommon 2-13 Carlow 0-8; Wicklow 2-22 London 1-4.
Round 4: Fermanagh 0-13 Wicklow 2-7; London v Leitrim – postponed; Longford 4-24 Kilkenny 0-5; Carlow 1-11 Clare 1-10; Roscommon (bye).
Round 5: Clare 5-10 London 0-4;Wicklow 2-9 Longford 1-12; Roscommon 1-12 Fermanagh 1-9; Carlow 2-21 Kilkenny 3-1; Leitrim (bye).
Round 6: Longford 1-15 London 0-8; Roscommon 0-16 Clare 1-10; Leitrim 0-11 Fermanagh 0-10; Wicklow 4-15 Kilkenny 1-5; Carlow (bye).
Round 7: Roscommon 3-14 Wicklow 2-16; Carlow 1-10 Leitrim 0-10; Clare 1-7 Longford 0-8; Fermanagh 0-22 Kilkenny 1-3; London (bye).
Round 8: Apr 3 (Sun): Longford v Leitrim; Roscommon v Kilkenny; Carlow v London; Fermanagh v Clare; Wicklow (bye).
Round 9: Apr 3 (Sun): Roscommon v Leitrim; Wicklow v Clare; Longford v Carlow; Fermanagh v London; Kilkenny (bye).
Apr 23: Final