Home Features Pundit Arena Allianz League Predictions: Expectation Versus Reality

Pundit Arena Allianz League Predictions: Expectation Versus Reality

The 2019 Allianz Football League has officially come to a close following Westmeath’s victory over Laois in yesterday’s Division 3 Final at Croke Park. 

It was an exciting league campaign that will live long in the memory given the exploits of both Leitrim and Mayo, who ended a streak of nine straight Croke Park final losses.

There were shocks at the other end of the divisions as tradition powerhouse Cork found themselves slipping into Division 3 alongside Munster rivals, Tipperary, while Sligo’s winless run in the third tier condemned them to the basement division alongside Carlow, whose rise came to an abrupt halt.

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Prior to the start of the Allianz Football League here at Pundit Arena GAA, we penned our predictions heading into the 2019 league campaign and it’s now time to reflect on how far off the mark we were.

Take a look at our Allianz Football League predictions here.

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Division 1

Pundit Arena Predictions:

Champions – Dublin

Relegated – Cavan & Roscommon

 

Actual results:

Champions – Mayo

Relegated – Cavan & Roscommon

Going into this year’s league campaign it was always hard to look past a dominant Dublin side fresh off a relatively comfortable All-Ireland final victory, however, when round one rolled in it became clear that the Dubs were slightly off key while Kerry and Mayo set a pace that would take them all the way to a final meeting.

Dublin would eventually lose three games which in hindsight isn’t that surprising considering the experimental rules coupled with Dublin’s focus being solely on the ‘drive-for-five’.

It was tight at the bottom of the division as Monaghan, Cavan and Roscommon battled it out for final day survival. In the end, it was Cavan and Roscommon that were the unlucky souls to drop back down into Division 2 for the second time in three seasons.

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Division 2

Pundit Arena Predictions:

Champions – Donegal

Promoted – Armagh

Relegated – Fermanagh & Cork

 

Actual results:

Champions – Donegal

Promoted – Meath

Relegated – Tipperary & Cork

Donegal left it late but they bounced back from consecutive defeats to qualify for the Division 2 Final before going on to lift the title in Croke Park last Saturday.

The division was always going to be tight but it was a league that Donegal should have won, hence the reason we predicted them.

Donegal are joined in the top-tier by Meath who were the form team in the division by a distance. Unfortunately, our selection of Armagh was always going to be an outside shot and that proved to be the case as they finished fifth.

At the bottom of the table, it was Munster rivals, Cork and Tipperary who fell victim to the drop following a final day fight with Clare. While we did indeed predict a Cork collapse prior to the league, seeing Tipperary go down with them comes as a surprise.

We also predicted Fermanagh to fall into tier-three for 2020 but Rory Gallagher’s side proved us all wrong as it looked for the longest time that they were going to gain promotion to Division 1 only to fall on the final day against Meath.

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Division 3

Pundit Arena Predictions:

Champions – Laois

Promoted – Westmeath

Relegated – Sligo & Offaly

 

Actual results:

Champions – Westmeath

Promoted – Laois

Relegated – Sligo & Carlow

Division 3 was as tight as a snare drum from start to finish. Beforehand, Down looked like the team best equipped to gain promotion, however, a final day defeat to Louth scuppered their chances of going straight back up to Division 2.

Despite Laois being one of the two promoted teams from the previous season, we felt they had enough firepower up front with the Kingston brothers and Evan O’Carroll to power themselves to back-to-back league titles. While we were wrong on that one, they still gained promotion and the team who defeated them in the league final, Westmeath, was our pick to meet them there.

It looked for the longest time that our prediction on the two relegated sides would come to fruition. Sligo looked doomed from day one en route to losing seven straight games while Offaly gave a good account of themselves in most games but came out on the wrong side of a few narrow encounters.

In the end, Offaly defeated Sligo on the final day to save themselves and relegate Carlow at the same time.

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Division 4

Pundit Arena Predictions:

Champions – Derry

Promoted – Leitrim

 

Actual results:

Champions – Derry

Promoted – Leitrim

The one division we got dead on and we are proud of that fact considering the incredible run that Leitrim embarked on to gain promotion out of Division 4 for the first time in 11-years.

Derry were always expected to win the league. Anything other than a Division 4 title would have been viewed as a disaster for the Oak Leaf County but thankfully they got the job done and can now look to Division 3 football in 2020.

About Michael Corry

Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10