We are at the business end of the Allianz Football League and it’s all to play for across each of the four divisions.
Round Four left us with plenty of questions. Are Mayo the real deal? Were Tyrone just warming up in rounds one, two & three? When will Leitrim be knocked off their pedestal and who the hell is coming out of Division Three?
Come the end of the weekend we will have plenty of answers heading into the second break of the campaign. We may even have some relegation fears confirmed by close of business on Sunday.
Here are our four games to watch in Round Five of the Allianz Football League.
Mayo v Galway
The west’s old rivalry returns on Saturday evening as Kevin Walsh takes his Galway side to Castlebar for a crunch tie against James Horan’s Mayo.
Not only a huge game in terms of rivalry but both teams will be looking to bounce back from defeats last weekend. Mayo looked back to their best in the opening stages of this year’s campaign with strong wins over Roscommon, Tyrone and Cavan. However, they came crashing back down to earth against Dublin last weekend.
Galway have a 50% record thus far in the league with wins over Monaghan and Cavan balanced out by defeats to Dublin and Kerry. They are still in the promotion hunt and a win over their old rivals this weekend will bring them level on points and set-up a mouthwatering finish.
Both teams are chasing a league final, so the outcome of this weekend’s tie cannot be understated.
Donegal v Armagh
We still can’t decide whether these teams are chasing promotion or fighting off relegation and it seems as though they haven’t decided either.
Armagh travel to Ballybofey on Saturday evening buoyed by their first league win of the season against Tipperary last Sunday. Meanwhile, Donegal enter the game off the back of successive defeats to Tipperary and Fermanagh, two games they would have been expected to win.
Pundit Arena predicted these two sides as this year’s league finalists, so seeing them hovering around mid-table is worrying. However, whoever wins on Saturday evening is right back in the hunt for Division One.
If Clare and/or Tipperary win this weekend then the loser will find themselves in the relegation zone, that’s how small the margins are with this one.
Carlow v Louth
Carlow began the season well, picking up three points in their opening two games, but they followed it up with back-to-back defeats against Offaly and Longford meaning the Carlow rising has stalled somewhat.
Turlough O’Brien’s men now find themselves in Division Three relegation territory. The last place they will want to see having just got promoted for the first time in 34 years.
However, such is the nature of Division Three all is not lost, not only can they steer themselves to safety, but they are still a very, very small, outside bet for promotion. At this stage though, it’s about Carlow’s continued development and that can only be achieved by remaining in Division Three.
Louth are flourishing under Wayne Kierans. The soccer coach turned Gaelic football manager has clearly worked wonders with the Wee County who have gone from the second lowest scoring team in 2018 to the highest scoring team in 2019. Five goals last weekend proved the difference against struggling Sligo and they will fancy their chances against Carlow this weekend.
Wicklow v Wexford
An extremely intriguing game in Division Four.
Wexford have really fallen on hard teams, back-to-back defeats against minnows London and Waterford have really cemented their place as the bottom county in the country. A huge fall from grace for a county who only 11 seasons ago contested an All-Ireland semi-final.
They travel to Aughrim this weekend, one of the country’s notoriously tough grounds and face a Wicklow side who still have a small chance of promotion. A lot riding on this game for both teams.