With the provincial finals done and dusted and the qualifiers very much in full swing let’s take a look at the first week of the GAA power rankings.
The only true contenders to the Dubs throne Kerry made a huge statement over the weekend when they destroyed Cork to win their sixth Munster title in a row.
The Kingdom seem to have found the perfect blend of experience and youth, with players like Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue hitting their stride just at the right time.
Their forward line have been in incredible form as of late and as Pat Spillane said on the Sunday Game, Kerry can match Dublin “in terms of pace, enthusiasm and youth.”
Victims almost, of dominance becoming the norm, Dublin slept to their eighth Leinster title in a row with an 18 point victory over Laois in Croke Park.
Not a question of Jim Gavin’s side getting any worse or not performing well, but they sit behind Kerry because of the rarity of seeing a strong challenger to their throne this early in the season.
They’ll be without Diarmuid Connolly for the Super 8s and onwards but likely will not need him and should easily top a group that includes a relatively good Donegal but although not confirmed yet, no other team that will really challenge them.
Will need to continue winning big if they’re to leap above Kerry.
Galway are in limbo a little bit. A very strong side so far this season but tendencies to show spells of inconsistency still hamper some of their fine performances.
They’ve had an excellent league campaign and despite an early scare were able to overcome Roscommon in the Connacht final so perhaps signs that they’re more resilient than last season. They also have one of the finest footballers in the country right now in Shane Walsh at their disposal.
The Tribesmen will go into their group as second favourites behind Kerry and will be hoping they can cause Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side problems when they clash.
A first provincial crown since 2014 for Donegal, as they took a previously so resolute Fermanagh side to the cleaners in their 12 point victory over Rory Gallagher’s men.
They’ll likely finish second in their group as they should be no match for Dublin but the news that they’ve lost Paddy McBrearty for the campaign could prove a big blow as Donegal seek to advance out of the Super 8s.
Another season and another trip through the qualifiers for Stephen Rochford’s Mayo. After easily dispatching of Limerick in round one they put a resilient Tipperary to bed by seven points in the second round on Saturday.
Beaten All-Ireland finalists in the last two years Mayo should still comfortably (it could even be a walkover) defeat Kildare in the next round and will fancy their chances against a beaten provincial finalist but will likely begin to feel the losses of Tom Parsons and Seamie O’Shea the further into the championship they get.
Beaten by Fermanagh in their Ulster final but bounced back with a 27 point drubbing of Waterford in the second round of the qualifiers.
Should handily dispose of Leitrim and could be a team to watch in the Super 8s if they can hit their stride.
Performed well in their Connacht final defeat against Galway and looked as though they were going to repeat last year’s heroics at one stage but it wasn’t to be.
Could cause teams problems should they reach the quarterfinals.
Well beaten by Donegal in the Ulster final but picked up that aforementioned win over Monaghan in the semis.
They have an excellent coach in Rory Gallagher and it’ll be intriguing to see if they can catch teams out with the dogged defensive tactics that didn’t quite work out last weekend.
Still suffering from their poor performance in Ulster and scraping by Meath in round one, Tyrone will likely climb up the rankings over the next number of weeks. One of the better sides in the qualifiers and showed it in the dismantling of Carlow.
Face a tough task against Cavan in the next round.
Certainly not the 10th best team in the country and some may see it as harsh on Kildare but a huge win for Leitrim means that they deserve their spot inside the top 10.
They may not stay there for long as Monaghan will provide much tougher competition than Louth did in the last round but deserved recognition for Brendan Guckian’s men.
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