Big guns in a shootout for big prize
Published 18/07/2016 | 02:30
This weekend's football clashes have proved a point because the last 12 will include Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone, Donegal, Roscommon, Mayo - all of whom will be in Division 1 of the league next year.
Joining the league's elite will be Divison 2 sides Derry, Clare, Galway and Cork. While Westmeath - who showed up particularly well in the first half at Croke Park - and Tipperary are the only representatives from the bottom 16 counties
Mayo made the biggest impression and looked at least a bit further along the way towards regaining the form they've displayed in recent years but they still have quite a bit to go. Newcomer Evan Regan looks a valuable addition to the attack but only time will tell if he is the new great white hope.
Clare's progress in football has been remarkable despite all the rows we heard regarding their difficulties with dual players etc. Their demolition of Sligo was very impressive and they also got promoted to Division 2.
Longford did well for about 45 minutes against a far superior Cork team that could afford to only bring in Paddy Kelly as a sub at half-time when he changed the game. But it has been a great summer for Longford nevertheless.
Cavan were the weekend's big losers as they should have been capable of beating Derry at home.
But having a player sent off before half-time cost them dearly and they have much to ponder upon and fret about as they plan for a return to Division 1 football in 2017.