Kerry send Rebels down as Cavan rise to the top tier
Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30
Kerry secured their first league semi-final place during Eamonn Fitzmaurice's four-year reign with victory at home to Cork but, even more significantly, it was achieved while relegating the Rebels to Division 2.
The defeat left Cork level (-16) with Donegal (+12), Mayo (-9) and Monaghan (-11) on six points but their inferior scoring difference, highlighted by their harrowing 18-point loss to Roscommon, came back to haunt them.
Last year's Division 1 finalists are relegated along with the winless Down while Kerry earn a rematch with the Rossies in the last four, and an opportunity to atone for their surprise round two reversal in Killarney.
Elsewhere, the Dubs may have been rerouted to Carrick-on-Shannon at late notice but they edged the Rossies to make it seven wins on the bounce, setting up a semi-final clash with Donegal, who scraped through on scoring difference.
In Division 2, not even the absence of star forward Seanie Johnston could not halt Cavan's momentum as they prevailed in a promotion showdown with Galway to join Tyrone in the top tier in 2017.
In a scrap for survival at the bottom of the table, Fermanagh (-2), Meath (-6) and Derry (-8) all survived by the skin of their teeth on six points, while Armagh (-16) join Laois in the third tier next year despite victory over Derry.
Kildare and Clare go in the opposite direction with the Banner's healthy scoring average (+26) saving their bacon despite defeat to the Lilywhites as they edge Offaly (-1) and Longford (-5) despite all finishing together on eight points. Kildare and Clare will meet again in the Division 3 final on April 23 while at the other end, Westmeath's remarkable fall from league grace was completed as their defeat to neighbours Longford consigned them to Division 4.
The Lake county have now dropped three divisions in three years and are joined by Limerick in the bottom tier. Antrim and Louth go in the opposite direction and will meet again in three weeks after drawing yesterday.
Allianz Division 1
Relegated: Cork, Down
Promoted: Tyrone, Cavan
Relegated: Armagh, Laois
Promoted: Kildare, Clare
Relegated: Westmeath, Limerick
Promoted: Antrim, Louth
April 9-10 - Division 1 Semi-finals:
Dublin v Donegal, Kerry v Roscommon
April 23 - Division 3 Final:
Kildare v Clare
Division 4 Final: Antrim v Louth
April 24 - Division 1 Final:
Dublin/Donegal v Kerry/Roscommon
Division 2 Final: Tyrone v Cavan