So it’s all over bar the shouting and yes, the play-off games are still take place, but the Allianz 2012 Football league, bar Division 4, has finished with a bang. Promotions and relegations all played a massive part on the final day of the leagues as some teams had to endure the agony of relegation while others revelled in the ecstasy of promotion, with literally the last kick of the game.
Cork defeated All-Ireland champions Dublin, who subsequently miss out on a pay-off spot, in Division 1. This sets up a semi-final spot against Down, who defeated Laois, who in turn were relegated back to Division 2 after only one season in the dizzying heights of the top tier. A superb second-half display from Donegal at Ballybofey over Armagh means Jim McGuinness’ troops stay in Division 1 for next season at the expense of their opponents. Mayo deservedly clinched a draw against Kerry in Austin stack Park, who had already earned top spot, and now both teams square-off in next week’s other semi-final.
In Division 2 it was heart-break for Galway, thanks to John Doyle’s stoppage time penalty which secured his Kildare side a draw and thus, stole promotion from the Tribesmen’s grasp. Tyrone had already earned top spot in the league with an impressive seven wins from seven and yesterday’s one hundred per cent clinching win of the campaign left Monaghan rock bottom of the table and relegated. Derry were well beaten by Westmeath but survived the cut after Meath’s woeful display against Louth sent them packing to Division 3.
In Clonmel Offaly lost out to Tipperary and even though Cavan were hammered by Antrim, still head to Division 4 for next season. That was Tipp’s first and only win of the season but still could not avoid joining Offaly in the drop as Longford and Wexford powered their way to promotion. The top two played each other yesterday with Longford coming out on top but the result had little consequence even though Sligo defeated Connacht neighbours Roscommon.
It’s not a fore gone conclusion in Division 4 yet as one more round of games are to be played. Clare and table leaders Fermanagh are looking pretty at the top but Wicklow are still in with a shout as they take on the Banner at home next week and a win for the home team would bring them level on points with Clare. It might be a dramatic finish for promotion but the less said about bottom placed Kilkenny the better, who finished with zero points and a shocking 273 points against. They are the class act at hurling but the game of football seems to have passed them by.