Saturday 1 October 2016

Dublin foot-perfect but who was good, bad and indifferent in League 2016?

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

New Mayo manager Stephen Rochford Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
New Mayo manager Stephen Rochford Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Dublin's 100pc record as they powered to a fourth successive Allianz League title made it the perfect spring for the All-Ireland champions but what of the rest? What can they take from the campaign?

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Good

Kerry, Roscommon, Tyrone, Cavan, Fermanagh, Kildare, Clare, Offaly, Longford, Antrim, Louth

The manner of Sunday's defeat was a sickener for Kerry but in an overall context they had a progressive League.

Indeed, the setback in the final could have long-term benefits as they now face hard decisions - especially in defence - that they might not have deemed necessary if they hadn't got the opportunity to test where they stood against Dublin just ahead of the Championship.

Roscommon (beaten semi-finalists) can feel quite satisfied, having easily beaten the odds which had them as relegation probabilities with Down.

The six counties (Cavan, Tyrone, Clare, Kildare, Antrim, Louth) that won promotion from Divisions 2, 3, 4 will be delighted with their progress. Offaly and Longford, who lost out to Clare for second place in Division 3 on scoring average, can be quite pleased too after coming up from Division 4.

Fermanagh had a good campaign in Division 2 when finishing fourth, a satisfactory position for a team just out of Division 3.

Indifferent

Donegal, Mayo, Monaghan, Galway, Meath, Sligo, Tipperary, Wexford, Wicklow, Carlow

Donegal reached the Division 1 semi-final but experienced a sharp decline after winning the first three games, losing the next five, which is not good preparation for the championship.

Mayo went in the other direction, losing the first three before winning three of the remaining four, which will have pleased new manager Stephen Rochford.

Monaghan had to win their last game to avoid relegation to Division 2, a perilously close call for a team that won its first two games.

Galway had another very average campaign where they failed to escape from Division 2 for a fifth successive year, confirming the reality that they have not been a top 10 side for quite a long time now.

Meath are another former force to have become becalmed, finishing fifth in Division 2 after an uninspiring campaign.

Tipperary came third in Division 3 last season but finished sixth this year while Sligo dropped a place despite picking up a point more than in 2015.

Wexford missed the promotion cut in Division 4 after being relegated last year while Wicklow and Carlow finished mid-table after losing more games than they won.

Bad

Cork, Down, Laois, Armagh, Derry, Limerick, Westmeath, London, Leitrim, Waterford

Cork's worst League run for a long time left them relegated. Extensive repair work is required, especially in defence, if they are to make any impact later on.

That also goes for Down, who lost all seven games.

Indeed, all six relegated teams have been left with serious confidence deficits. So too with Derry, who finished sixth in Division 2. It's quite a drop for the 2014 Division 1 finalists.

Irish Independent

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