Each of the four divisions are beginning to take shape as we pass the halfway point of the Allianz Football League series.
However, things are still tight at the top and tough at the bottom as teams scramble for the all-important league points that could save their season.
Watch the best action of Monaghan vs Mayo in the Allianz National Football League, here on GAA NOW! pic.twitter.com/rNF047Fry5
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 23, 2020
In Division 1, Galway moved top of the table where they sit level on six points with a Dublin side still unbeaten in four games. Kerry and Monaghan are close behind on five while Tyrone slipped back into fifth position following their drumming from the Tribesmen.
The Red Hands now look to be in a battle with Mayo and Donegal to avoid the drop alongside Meath.
Cavan’s third win on the bounce sees them go top of Division 2 on six points, however, with Armagh, Roscommon, Westmeath and Laois all on five points, promotion is still anybody’s guess. The relegation battle in Division 2 is a lot more intriguing given what’s at stake and with three games to go, it looks as though Fermanagh, Clare and Kildare might be battling out to avoid the dreaded drop.
Cork keep their 100 per cent record intact in Division 3 while Down inflicted a first defeat of the year on Longford to blow open the division once more. The Mourne County is level on five points with Longford, Derry and Offaly with Tipperary, Leitrim and Louth bringing up the rear.
Limerick also keep their 100 per cent record running in Division 4 with Wexford and Antrim looking like their closest challengers thus far. Sligo’s shock defeat to Waterford sees them slip to fifth where they are level with Wicklow. Carlow’s struggles continue after drawing with Antrim to leave them third from the bottom just above Waterford and London.
Here are the main divisional talking points following round four of the Allianz Football League.
Monaghan proving doubters wrong while McShane injury highlights fickleness of sport.
It’s often been said that Monaghan punch above their weight, however, many thought their bubbles had burst when last year’s early championship exit was compounded by Malachy O’Rourke’s resignation after seven years at the helm.
A fantastic goal from Conor McCarthy yesterday that helped ensure Monaghan's win 🤩💪
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) February 24, 2020
The re-appointment of Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney hardly inspired confidence, however, as alluded to by Sean Cavanagh on RTÉ’s League Sunday showing, the decision to surround himself with high-level coaches such as Peter Donnelly, Conor Laverty and David McCague has clearly had a positive impact on Monaghan. Their only defeat so far has been a one-point loss to Galway, that in hindsight looks a lot better.
They’ve beaten Tyrone and Mayo and should have beaten Dublin. They sit third in the table and a league final is far from out of the question.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 23, 2020
On the other side of the coin, the injury suffered by Cathal McShane during Tyrone’s defeat to Galway highlights the fickleness of sport. McShane had the world at his feet two weeks ago, life as a professional looked to be looming but he opted to remain loyal to his home and his people. Now, he’s expected to sidelined for a number of months. Desperately harsh.
Cavan turn it around while Kildare’s fortunes take a tumble
Not many would have predicted after week one that Cavan would be out in front of Division 2 past the halfway mark but here we are after three wins in a row. Credit must go to Mickey Graham, much like Monaghan, many felt Cavan were set for a dip in form but Graham has managed to turn things around and the Breffni County now look poised to make a run at promotion.
Meanwhile, Jack O’Connor must surely be feeling the heat after Kildare’s third straight loss leaves them battling with Fermanagh and Clare to avoid the tier-two championship. Having already played both of their relegation rivals, Kildare face a huge uphill task if they are to survive in the division.
Back-to-back wins for Offaly a fresh twist in the race for a top-tier place
Offaly recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time in three years after defeating Leitrim on Sunday. Before last weekend it looked as though Offaly would be scrambling to save themselves from dropping to Division 4 after just one point from two games. However, promotion is now a realistic goal for John Maughan’s side but they’ll have their work cut out with Derry, Longford and Down each expected to be able to out-gun the Faithful County.
Longford’s undefeated record came to an end meaning they missed out on a huge opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the remainder of the chasing pack. Cork look nailed on for promotion, but choosing who will join them is anybody’s guess.
Waterford claim scalp while Wexford move second
Before yesterday, Waterford were winless and many felt it could have stayed that way but they managed to put a dent in Sligo’s promotion chances with a hard-fought away win in Markievicz Park. The win sees Sligo slip to fifth place while Waterford remain seventh.
After suffering an opening day defeat amid rumours of an unsettled camp, Wexford have recorded three wins in a row to bring them to within two points of league leaders Limerick. With Antrim followed closely behind, it is still all to play for in Division 4.
Allianz Football League Round 4 results – league tables provided by GAA League Tables:
Dublin 1-15 Donegal 1-14
Kerry 1-19 Meath 2-13
Galway 2-25 Tyrone 0-12
Monaghan 2-16 Mayo 0-13
Fermanagh 1-11 Cavan 2-11
Cusack Park, Ennis
Clare 1-11 Laois 1-12
TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar
Westmeath 3-12 Armagh 2-15
Kildare 0-13 Roscommon 2-11
Down 2-13 Longford 1-14
Tipperary 0-21 Cork 3-13
Derry 2-10 Louth 1-9
Avantcard Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada
Leitrim 0-14 Offaly 2-16
Sligo 0-16 Waterford 2-12
Chadwicks Wexford Park
Wexford 4-15 London 1-9
Limerick 5-10 Wicklow 1-14
Antrim 0-11 Carlow 1-8