With only the finals left to be played in the Allianz Football League (apart from Louth & Westmeath’s Round Six clash), it’s time to reflect on some of the things we’ve learned over the past couple of months.
Despite falling off the wagon after a promising start, Mayo recovered well to make the league final where they face Peter Keane’s in-form Kerry side.
Donegal also bounced back from successive defeats to gain promotion back to the top-flight at the expense of Fermanagh who battled bravely throughout but just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to get over the line.
Division 3 was a total clusterf**k with Laois eventually prevailing in the end. Who joins them in the league final we are yet to know as it comes to the re-fixture between Louth and Westmeath, all we know at this stage is that it won’t be Down.
The fourth tier was all but wrapped up by Round Five as Leitrim and Derry blazed a trail through the basement division.
Here are some conclusions following the final round of the Allianz Football League.
Cavan & Roscommon Are Not Top-Tier Teams
It’s been a difficult couple of seasons for these two counties if truth be told. Both were relegated from Division 1 in 2017, only to win promotion in 2018 followed by a second relegation in three seasons in 2019.
Having yoyoed between the two divisions it was difficult to tell where exactly both times are at in terms of those top-level teams. However, given Cavan’s failure to make the Super 8s last year coupled with Roscommon’s dismal display in said tournament, followed by another relegation it’s safe to say that neither county are in that top-bracket right now.
That’s not to say that all hope is lost. Cavan are building under Mickey Graham and will come again, while Roscommon are still legitimate contenders in Connacht.
Clifford Returns Just In Time
David Clifford’s return just in time for the league final will come as great news to Kerry fans who are already on ‘cloud nine’ following a strong league campaign.
The Fossa man scored 0-5 in their rout of Roscommon on Sunday and will be a great addition heading into their league final meeting with Mayo.
The thought of Clifford linking up with Sean O’Shea, a man who has improved ten-fold this season, is an extremely exciting prospect for the Kingdom.
Munster Football On The Decline
It was only nine years ago that Cork were crowned All-Ireland champions. Indeed, it was only three years ago that both Clare and Tipperary reached the last eight (with the Premier County reaching the final four).
Munster football was supposedly on a high, but here we are now, in 2019, with both Cork and Tipperary relegated to the third-tier of the Allianz Football League and Clare only just surviving the drop.
With Kerry having won the last six Munster Championship titles, the fear of it becoming like the Leinster Championship is very much real.