Following another epic weekend of Allianz Football League action we now get a clearer picture of how the four divisions are shaping up ahead of the final two fixtures.
There were plenty of talking points following the weekend’s action. Sligo are now a confirmed Division 4 team following an eight-point defeat to Westmeath. Leitrim and Derry are going in the opposite direction after keeping up their 100 percent winning record.
Kerry look difficult to stop en route to a Division 1 title meanwhile, Meath and Fermanagh are on the brink of top-tier football next season.
As we head into the business end of the league campaign, we take a look at some of those whose stock is rising and whose is falling after five rounds of the Allianz Football League.
Whose Stock Rose?
The young Kerry man’s stock continues to rise week on week. The Kenmare native has averaged seven points a game so far this season and at only 20 years of age, he looks to be one of those players that come along once in a generation.
His epic sideline score at the weekend was akin to one Maurice Fitzgerald and while it would be unfair to compare him with a GAA icon at such a young age, so far, he looks like the future.
The Fermanagh native’s stock arguably dropped considerably after his departure from the Donegal hot seat in 2017. Gallagher was part of the management team that won the Sam Maguire in 2012 before stepping away in 2013. He returned following Jim McGuinness’ departure in 2014 following Donegal’s run to another All-Ireland final but he was unable to rekindle the magic.
Since taking over his native county, however, Gallagher’s stock has continued to grow. He guided them to Allianz League promotion and a first Ulster final in 10 years in 2018. This year, he has picked up where he left off as Fermanagh look to be on the brink of Division 1 football, something that nobody could have foreseen. Gallagher has come in for a lot of flak for his playing style, but at the end of the day, senior inter-county football is a results business and Rory Gallagher continues to eek results out of Fermanagh.
They are still bottom of Division 2, but Cork’s stock rose slightly over the weekend with a much-needed win over Tipperary.
It was their first win of the campaign and will come as a great relief to players, management and supporters as we head into the final two games. Had they lost on Sunday they would have been all but doomed to life in Division 3, however, they are back in the fight now and will feel heading into the final two games that they can save themselves from what would be a catastrophe in the Rebel County.
Whose Stock Crashed?
Armagh fell to Donegal on Saturday night in a game played in terrible conditions that in truth wasn’t a reflection of either side. It was a tense game with a lot of bite to it that sometimes spilt over the line.
Revered in Armagh, there is no question that the whole county is behind McGeeney. There are no calls for his head and never have been, despite not winning an Ulster Championship match throughout the entirety of his tenure.
Armagh have yoyo’d up and down the divisions this past few seasons and given their qualifier record and the return of some key personnel, a strong league campaign was expected. However, with just one win from five, they are now in a relegation fight. If the worst is to happen yet again and Armagh suffer relegation, McGeeney’s time could be up.
The Saffron County sit second from bottom of Division 4 following a defeat to a resurgent Waterford.
It is a difficult time for Antrim who would have been viewed as potential promotion candidates not just this season but last season also.
To date though, they have completely underperformed and seem to be at a low-ebb, despite the run of Glengormley side Naomh Eanna to the All-Ireland intermediate club final.
Antrim supporters would have expected them to beat Wexford, Leitrim and Waterford but they haven’t and now they sit dangerously close to finishing bottom of the entire Allianz Leagues.
A difficult one as they still sit joint second of Division 1 and are very much in the hunt for a league final.
However, there is no denying that a seventh straight defeat against their arch-rivals no doubt hampers Mayo’s stock. They began the league like a house on fire with wins over Roscommon, Tyrone and Cavan and while they can be forgiven for losing in Croke Park to Dublin, the manner in which they were defeated was definitely a cause for concern.
To follow up that poor performance with a home defeat against Kevin Walsh’s side will be a worry, but at the same time, Mayo normally come good in the summer months so expect that stock to rise once more.