One step down from the top tier but just one step up from mediocrity
Published 19/03/2014 | 05:36
FOR a number of reasons Division Two is, arguably, the most competitive of the five tiers of the county football league. For a start, there is no promotion out of division one or relegation out of division five, so it might be determined that divisions two, three and four clubs have more to gain and more to lose. Division two, however, is in that place between the top flight - where every club wants to be - and the middle tier where, with all due respects, you're being to drift back down into medocrity and obscurity of sorts.
As well as that , this division usually houses a lot of clubs that compete in the intermediate championship which is, to many, the most competitive of the club championship, and to cap it all off you have three teams just after arriving down from division one who are pretty peeved at losing their top-tier status and who want nothing more than a swift return there. All in all that makes for a snake-pit of a division in which, if numerical evidence was needed then take a look at the final table from last year. Just four points separated champions Currow and the three clubs locked on 10 points each and who had to enter a relegation play-off to see which two joined Annascual (on 8 points) for the drop. Five teams finished the campaign on 11 points, while no team of the 12 won more than five games and no team, with the exception of Annascaul (six defeats) lost more than five games.
The presence of Laune Rangers in this division for the first time since 2002 makes for an interesting campaign, while another senior club, Legion, has also dropped down from division one to add to the competition. Those two teams will certainly have ambitions to make an immediate return to the top flight, but there are several others here who will fancy themselves as top tier teams.
Spa are the third team to drop down, but after such an abject campaign last year it is difficult to see the Killarney club find enough of form and consistency to push on for promotion in such a competitive field.
John Mitchels, Skellig Rangers and Gneeveguilla are seasoned Intermediate championship teams who all narrowly missed out on the promotion places last year, while Tarbert and St Pats Blennerville were also just one more win away from making it to the top flight.
Even recent county junior champions, Kenmare, and newly promoted Castleisland Desmonds, another tough intermediate club, will be weighing up their chances of using a strong early start to the county league as a platform from which to launch their club championship aspirations.
Glenbeigh/Glencar are another of the promoted teams and certainly have the ability to stay up at this level and cause quite a few problems for a number of teams here, especially when they take them down to the mid Kerry village.
Listry are the third club to make the step up and they are the highest ranked county league club that is still competing in the Novice championship. They did well to get promotion from the third tier but they can be expected to struggle here against plenty of this opposition, especially when they go on the road, so every home point they can earn will be vital in the final shake-up.