This weekend sees round six of the National Football League and the last round of the group stage of the National Hurling League take place.
Some of the relegation and promotion permutations are already set but there is to be a much clearer picture after this weekend’s fixtures.
After a disappointing defeat to Cavan last weekend, Mayo have been dragged into the relegation dog fight. They face a Tyrone side who are one of four teams on seven points at the top of the table.
While the Red Hand county will not want to lose pace at the top, Mayo will be keen to ensure victory and hold onto their Division 1 status. With Cavan playing Roscommon in the last round, Mayo will more than likely need one more win to stay up.
Despite being in third place, the Royals are only one point off the relegation zone in this ultra tight division. After coming back from nine points down to draw with Cork last weekend, it would be a waste if they couldn’t back that up with a victory over Fermanagh.
It hasn’t been a bad campaign for Meath, but they will want to stay in the promotion hunt until the end.
After defeat to Armagh last time out, the Wee County face Tipperary in a top of the table clash in Semple Stadium. With the winner guaranteed promotion, Louth will not want to see a great start to the campaign go to waste.
Also, given that Armagh face Antrim on Saturday night (and will probably win) both sides will be under pressure to get the win here. Tipp face Armagh in their final game so have two chances at securing promotion.
The Cats will want to avoid a relegation play-off by beating Dublin on Sunday. Brian Cody’s side have been in indifferent form so far in 2017 and will want to get to a league quarter-final as they continue their preparation for the championship.
A win over Leinster rivals is welcome also. Given their poor score difference, it is unlikely that a win would get the Dubs out of the bottom two.
Given that Cork have beaten Clare and Waterford, it is likely that when the sides meet on Sunday, that the loser will be in the bottom two. Seeing as Waterford have more of a focus on August and maybe even September, falling into a relegation play-off won’t bother them as much as they get their system in place for the summer.
Clare, under new management, will want to prove that the win over Kilkenny wasn’t a once-a-year performance and show that they can consistently compete against the top teams.
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena