Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 23 August 2014

Allianz NFL under the microscope: Division 4

Brian Brehany

Published 27/01/2014 | 02:30

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Division 4

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Antrim

Manager: Liam Bradley (1st season)

2013 NFL: 7th Div 3 – relegated (P7, W1, D2, L4)

2014: Home 4 (Wicklow, Waterford, London, Clare); Away 3 (Leitrim, Carlow, Tipperary)

1st game: Next Sunday v Leitrim, Carrick-on-Shannon

Odds: Title 13/8

Favourites for a quick return to Division 3 after being relegated last year, Antrim's fixtures schedule (four home games) is favourable for a promotion push. Liam Bradley, who did well in his first stint as manager, knows the Antrim scene well, which is a significant plus.

Wicklow

Manager: Harry Murphy (3rd season)

2013 NFL: 8th Div 3 – relegated (P7, W0, D2, L5)

2014: Home 3 (London, Leitrim, Waterford); Away 4 (Antrim, Clare, Carlow, Tipperary)

1st game: Next Sunday v London, Aughrim

Odds: Title 8/1

Relegated last year after one season in Division 3, they should be in the promotion mix if Harry Murphy can call on a full squad.

Tipperary

Manager: Peter Creedon (3rd season)

2013 NFL: 3rd Div (P7, W4, L3)

2014: Home 4 (Waterford, Clare, Antrim, Wicklow); Away 3 (Carlow, London, Leitrim

1st game: Next Sunday v Carlow, Dr Cullen Park

Odds: Title 7/4

Third in the group last year, Tipp look well placed to make a real push for promotion this time.

Clare

Manager: Colm Collins (1st season)

2013 NFL: 4th Div 4 (P7, W4, L3)

2014: Home 3 (Leitrim, Wicklow, Carlow); Away 4 (Waterford, London, Tipperary, Antrim)

1st game: Next Sunday v Waterford

Odds: Title 9/2

Mid-table last year, they will expect to press on this season. At peak power, they are good enough to do that and challenge strongly for promotion.

Leitrim

Manager: Sean Hagan (1st season)

2013 NFL: 5th Div 4 (P7, W3, L4)

2014: Home 3 (Antrim, Carlow, Tipperary); Away 4 (Clare, Wicklow, Waterford, London)

1st game: Next Sunday v Antrim, Carrick-on-Shannon

Odds: Title 14/1

This is an important restabilisation campaign after losing to London in last year's Connacht championship and the demolition by Armagh in the qualifiers. Unlikely to make the promotion cut but Leitrim could reach the top four.

Waterford

Manager: Niall Carew (2nd season)

2013 NFL: 6th Div 4 (P7, W3, L4)

2014: Home (Clare, London, Leitrim, Carlow); Away (Tipperary, Antrim, Wicklow)

1st game: Next Sunday v Clare

Odds: Title 10/1

Running Galway to a point in last year's All-Ireland qualifiers in Pearse Stadium underlines the heights Waterford can reach on a really good day. They need to deliver that more consistently, starting in this year's league.

Carlow

Manager: Anthony Rainbow (2nd season)

2013 NFL: 7th Div 4 (P7, W2, L5)

2014: Home: (Tipperary, Antrim, Wicklow); Away (London, Leitrim, Clare, Waterford)

1st game: Next Sunday v Tipperary, Dr Cullen Park

Odds: Title 25/1

They started last year's league impressively but dropped off alarmingly. It's difficult to see them getting into the promotion zone this time.

London

Manager: Paul Coggins (4th season)

2013 NFL: 8th Div 4 (P7, W1, L6)

2014: Home: (Carlow, Clare, Tipperary, Leitrim); Away (Wicklow, Antrim, Waterford)

1st game: Next Sunday v Wicklow, Aughrim

Odds: Title 50/1

It's a hugely important campaign for London after their championship exploits last summer. How will they cope with a return to the Division 4 slog? The first two games against Wicklow and Carlow will be very revealing.

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