The Allianz Football League has firmly kicked into gear and already it’s looking like a campaign that will go right down to the wire across all four divisions.
The action got underway last night in Castlebar where Dublin ran out relatively comfortable winners over Mayo while Kerry scraped over the line in a thriller with Galway.
In the second division, Laois backed up last week’s late rally to draw with Roscommon by comprehensively defeating Armagh. Cavan bounced back from last week’s loss to defeat Westmeath at Breffni Park. Lower down the leagues, Down and Derry played out an epic Ulster derby clash in Division 3 while Paul Galvin finally got a win in inter-county management in Division 4.
On Sunday, Monaghan and Donegal claimed wins in Division 1 while Clare and Fermanagh upset the odds in Division 2. Cork went about their business in the third tier as did Munster rivals Tipperary while Longford and Offaly played out an entertaining draw. In Division 4, Limerick kept up their winning ways, as did Sligo and Wicklow.
Here are our divisional talking points following round 2 of the Allianz Football Leagues.
Galway lose but are looking ready
Austin Stack Park played host to Kerry and Galway on Saturday night with the home side coming away with the two points thanks to Killian Spillane’s late winner. However, the manner with which this new-look Galway side under Padraic Joyce performs is really beginning to make fans sit up and take notice.
While Dublin are in a class of their own with Kerry following behind them. The best of the rest looks pretty even at present. Mayo look a shell of the team from three years ago while Tyrone these days have become an unknown commodity. It looks like Galway are about the step up and really challenge for honours in 2020…. and doing it the way Galway should too.
Division 2 the minefield we all expected
With the added threat of a tier-two championship facing the relegated pair from Division 2, it’s clear each team is going out all guns blazing looking to avoid the dreaded drop.
After two rounds, just two points separate all eight teams. Savage stuff.
Laois, promoted from Division 3, are the only undefeated side while Roscommon, relegated from Division 1, are the only side yet to win. Obviously, a lot of football is still to be played but this is clearly a sign of things to come over the next seven weeks.
Cork going about their business
They’ve been saying this is the most important league campaign in Cork’s history and they would be right. Seeing the Rebel county compete in a second-tier championship is almost unthinkable.
Ronan McCarthy’s side know they need to secure promotion in order to avoid what’s around the corner and while many thought they may choke under the pressure, so far, they look to be going about their business in the way we are used to seeing Cork perform.
Two wins from two, sitting pretty at the top having scored more than anyone else while only Tipperary have conceded less. Cork look primed and ready to get the job done.
Paul Galvin off to the races
Life as an inter-county manager hasn’t got off to the best of starts for Paul Galvin. The 2009 Footballer of the Year has had to contend with backlash after dropping a few players before falling to a big defeat in last week’s opening league fixture with Antrim.
Wexford were at home today where promotion favourites Carlow came to visit. Fresh off a good win last week, many would have expected Carlow to come away with the two points but Galvin’s side put in a commanding performance to win by seven points.
Finally, something to smile about for one of the game’s most high profile figures.
Allianz Football League Round 2 results – league tables provided by GAA League Tables:
Elverys MacHale Park
Mayo 0-8 Dublin 1-11
Austin Stack Park
Kerry 1-15 Galway 2-11
Monaghan 1-12 Tyrone 0-11
Meath 0-7 Donegal 3-8
Laois 0-16 Armagh 0-10
Cavan 1-17 Westmeath 1-13
Fermanagh 0-13 Roscommon 0-12
Clare 0-11 Kildare 0-10
Down 0-14 Derry 0-12
Louth 1-7 Tipperary 0-11
Offaly 0-10 Longford 0-10
Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada
Leitrim 0-9 Cork 1-15
Wexford 2-10 Carlow 1-6
Mick Neville Park Rathkeale
Limerick 0-8 London 0-7
Sligo 0-15 Antrim 0-14
Wicklow 2-11 Waterford 1-6