It was a hectic weekend in the Allianz Football League and while some counties were celebrating their significant victories, others were left to ponder their demise.
There were wins for Dublin, Tyrone, Kerry and Galway in Division 1 while Cork recorded their first win of the competition in Division 2, leaving it all to play for. Further down the line, matters were settled in the bottom two divisions, rendering the final weeks of the League as virtual dead rubbers.
Here are our winners and losers from across the divisions.
It was a day that will live long in the memory of Leitrim supporters as they sealed promotion to Division 3 of the Allianz League with a one-point win over London yesterday.
— Emlyn Mulligan (@emlynmulligan) March 3, 2019
Their fifth successive victory in the competition also ensured their spot in the Division 4 final against Derry, who were also promoted over the weekend, and it will be only the second time in 15 years that Leitrim have graced the field of Croke Park.
The celebrations following the final whistle, from both the players and the supporters, showed just how much it means to the Connacht side.
The Rebel county badly needed a result to go their way as they clung to life in Division 2 and they finally emerged with a win in Semple Stadium yesterday against Tipperary.
Ruairi Deane’s second-half goal proved the difference as Cork left the home side with a mountain to climb in the final few minutes and though they allowed Tipperary to halve the deficit, they hung on for the win.
They are far from out of danger yet, however. They still lie bottom of the Division 2 table but the win represents a significant lifeline for them and it may just provide the timely boost they need going into the final rounds.
#AllianzLeagues Football Division 2 Table after Round 5.
Donegal 1-09 v 0-11 Armagh
Tipperary 0-12 v 1-12 Cork
Meath 1-09 v 1-08 Kildare
Fermanagh 0-12 v 0-09 Clare#gaa #allianzleagues #Armagh #Clare #Cork #Donegal #Fermanagh #Kildare #Meath #Tipperary #gaaleaguetables pic.twitter.com/SLa3LycYny
— GAA League Tables (@GAALeagueTables) March 3, 2019
Kerry look almost certain to contest the Allianz League Division 1 final following their four-point victory over Monaghan in Killarney yesterday afternoon.
It was far from an easy ride for Peter Keane’s side as they trailed by a point entering the final 10 minutes while they also had to contend with horrendous conditions, but the character and coolness they showed in the dying minutes to seal the win, were very impressive.
What must be pleasing to Peter Keane is the maturity and ability demonstrated by his young players like Sean O’Shea and Dara Moynihan. They look virtually unstoppable at the moment as they aim to continue their winning streak.
Following their fifth loss in Division 3, Sligo have now been officially relegated to the bottom division.
During yesterday’s game against Westmeath, they produced a strong showing in the first-half in Collooney but conceded three second-half goals, thus ending any hopes of remaining in the third division.
It has been a campaign to forget for Paul Taylor’s charges and it’s not over yet as they still have two games remaining against Longford and Offaly who lie in sixth and seventh place respectively.
There’s no doubt that Clare are one of the top emerging counties in the Gaelic Football scene. In an ideal world, they would have envisaged themselves contesting the Division 2 final, so if they were to be relegated, it would be a major blow to the Banner County.
A win over Fermanagh at the weekend would have seen them safely out of the danger zone but sadly for them, that did not transpire. They lost out by 0-12 to 0-9 in Enniskillen but Clare also squandered two second-half goal chances.
They now find themselves in a battle with Cork, Tipperary and, to a lesser extent, Armagh to decide who will be playing in the third division of the Allianz League next year.
Mayo fell to their seventh successive loss to Galway on Saturday night in MacHale Park. For a team that looked so assured at the start of the Allianz League campaign, they have been far from convincing during their last two outings.
This weekend’s result may not have a huge bearing on the outcome of the competition but Mayo have gone four years without a win against the closest neighbours and that must be a slight cause for concern.
James Horan’s side are now third in the Division 1 table on level points with Dublin and Galway and they will need a strong finish if they hope to make the final at the end of the month.