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Kerry hold keys to Division 1 ahead of Easter Sunday shoot-out

Division 1: Who will join Kerry in the semi-finals?

THE Easter Sunday shoot-out in the Allianz Football League will see no fewer than 14 of the 16 counties in Divisions 1 and 2 battling for semi-final and promotion places or against relegation.

That's a higher-than-usual number of teams still with something to play for in a final round, which promises to deliver a high-tension Sunday afternoon programme.

It's more clear-cut further down the line, where only five counties remain involved in the promotion/relegation struggles in Divisions 3 and 4.

Kerry and Tyrone are the only two in the top groups who will freewheel into the next phase but their games against Mayo and Monaghan respectively on Sunday could have a major bearing on the final look of the top two groups.

Division 1: Who will join Kerry in the semi-finals?

Kerry (10pts): They will top the group, irrespective of how they fare against Mayo and will play the fourth-placed side in the semi-finals on Sunday week.

Cork (7pts): It tends to be forgotten that they are chasing a third successive Division 1 title, a feat not achieved since 1973, when Kerry won the third leg of a four-timer. A win or a draw against Dublin earns them a semi-final place while a defeat would leave them needing favours from Kerry or Laois.

Mayo (6pts): A win over Kerry would earn them a semi-final place; a draw might also be enough while a defeat would leave them at the mercy of other results.

Dublin (6pts): A win over Cork earns them a semi-final place; a draw might be enough while a defeat leaves them needing other results to go their way.

Down (6pts): A win over Laois earns them a semi-final place; a draw or defeat would leave them reliant on other results.

Armagh (5pts): They're on the high wire and could either reach the semi-finals or be relegated. If they beat Donegal and other results go their way, Armagh can make the semi-finals. On the minus side, if Armagh lose to Donegal, they will be relegated.

Laois (4pts): Promoted last year, they need to beat Down in what will be their fifth home game to avoid relegation.

Donegal (4pts): Promoted last year, they need to beat Armagh to avoid the drop.

Division 2: Galway or Kildare for promotion?

Tyrone (12pts): Mickey Harte's team are the only one with a 100pc record in any division, they are guaranteed promotion and a place in the final against Galway or Kildare.

Kildare (8pts): A win or a draw against Galway ensures a return to Division 1 for the first time since 2008.

Galway (7pts): They need to win to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

Derry (5pts): A win against Westmeath sustains them in Division 2; a draw would probably save them would but defeat would leave them relegation-bound if Monaghan beat Tyrone.

Meath (4pts): Survived in Division 2 in 2011 by taking a point off Tyrone in the last game. A win over Louth keeps them in Division 2; a draw or a defeat leaves them relying on other results going their way.

Monaghan (4pts): A win away against Tyrone keeps them in the group; a draw or a defeat would leave them dependent on other results. Monaghan are rightly aggrieved over the loss of home advantage for the clash with Galway and are now perilously close to dropping from Divisions 1 to 3 in successive seasons.

Louth (4pts): A win against Meath keeps them in Division 2; a defeat sends them down while a draw almost certainly wouldn't be of any use either.

Westmeath (4pts): They need to beat Derry to give themselves any chance of survival. A draw would leave them needing other results to fall their way.

Division 3: Offaly or Cavan for the drop?

Longford and Wexford, who meet on Sunday, will be promoted and have qualified for the final while Tipperary will be relegated. Tipp will be joined by Cavan (4pts) or Offaly (2pts). Offaly need to beat Tipperary but, even then, they will only avoid the drop (on the head to head rule) if Cavan lose to Antrim.

Division 4: Three chasing promotion places

There's still one round to go after next Sunday. Fermanagh (11pts), Clare (10pts) and Wicklow (8pts) are in contention for the two promotion places. If Fermanagh beat Carlow next Sunday, they will be promoted, irrespective of the final game against Leitrim. Clare will beat Kilkenny next Sunday while Wicklow will be well fancied to beat London, leaving the Wicklow-Clare game in Aughrim on Sunday week as a promotion decider.

Irish Independent