Thursday 29 September 2016

Kings of the road fare better than home birds

Published 02/04/2015 | 02:30

With home victories far from guaranteed across Divisions 1 and 2 it adds to the intrigue of next Sunday's final series of games, which will decide several play-off and relegation places in various divisions
With home victories far from guaranteed across Divisions 1 and 2 it adds to the intrigue of next Sunday's final series of games, which will decide several play-off and relegation places in various divisions

Home comforts are proving much less useful than usual in this year's volatile Allianz Football League Division 1 and 2 campaigns.

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Monaghan, Mayo, Tyrone and Derry have better away than home records in Division 1, while Down, Roscommon, Cavan, Galway, Laois and Kildare have picked up more points on the road than in their local haunts.

The unlikely trend adds to the intrigue surrounding next Sunday's final series of games, which will decide several play-off and relegation places in various divisions.

Home teams hold a slight edge in Division 1, picking up 26 of the available 48 points, but the differential is small enought to defy the conventional view that away teams are at a serious disadvantage.

That's certainly not the case in Division 2, where the point share-out for the first six rounds is 30-18 in favour of visiting teams.

It's 37-11 in favour of home teams in Division 3 and 28-20 in Division 4.

Monaghan have done best on the road in Division 1, beating Tyrone, Donegal and Kerry, returning six of the eight points that have taken them within a point of being guaranteed to finish second in the group.

Bagged

Donegal, in contrast, have bagged all six of their points at home.

Tyrone's draw with Derry yielded their only home point from three outings in Omagh (they lost to Monaghan and Cork), which will boost Kerry as they prepare for the relegation shoot-out in Healy Park on Sunday.

Tyrone's poor home record has extended over recent seasons, including the last two years when they lost their final round league games to Kerry and Dublin respectively by a point on each occasion. Last season's defeat cost them a place in the semi-finals.

Donegal have lost two away game so far to Dublin and Kerry, which will add to the pressure against Mayo in Castlebar.

Dublin have picked up only two away points to date, which makes their trip to Clones quite daunting, even if they did beat Monaghan easily in the All-Ireland quarter-final in Croke Park last August.

Division 2 results lean so heavily in favour of away teams that Kildare, Cavan, Laois and Roscommon, all of whom travel next Sunday, will be quite hopeful of success.

If that proves to be the case, it will have quite an impact on the table since Kildare and Laois are in relegation trouble while Cavan and Roscommon are pursuing promotion.

Kildare, who play Galway in Tuam Stadium, are in the unusual situation of having lost all three home games (Down, Westmeath, Roscommon) while winning two of three away tests (Cavan, Laois).

Meath are the only Division 2 team with a better home than away record. That's a boost for their clash with Cavan in Pairc Taliteann.

Irish Independent

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