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So how was it for your county?

P8, W 4, L4; 3rd (beaten semi-finalists)

Priced pre-league to finish seventh in the table and thus headed for relegation, Kildare disregarded that rating by winning four of their first five games, which was enough to finish third. A most impressive start, but four defeats from their last five games by a combined total of 30 points divides the county into glass half-full versus glass half-empty factions.

Reason to be cheerful: Scored 12 goals, the highest in the league. An average of 1.5 goals per game in the championship would win more games than it lost.

Reason to be fearful: Goals again. They were hit for eight in the seven group games, the worst in the division, and for two more last Sunday. Is their more productive approach to attack loosening some defensive bolts?

League mark (from 10): 7


P8, W3, L5; 4th (beaten semi-finalists)

Six points from a possible 14 is more relegation than semi-final territory, but then it was an unusual campaign where the line between the drop and the top four was very narrow. James Horan stressed the need to raise fitness levels after last Sunday's semi-final defeat. Three wins from eight games was not a good return for last year's second-ranked championship team.

Reason to be cheerful: Maintained their record for the longest presence in Division 1, which didn't look likely when they lost four successive games in rounds two to five. The win in Cork underlined their real determination when relegation threatened.

Reason to be fearful: The last time (2007) Mayo went into the Connacht championship as the previous year's All-Ireland runners-up, they lost to Galway by seven points in Pearse Stadium. Where are Mayo headed on May 19? Pearse Stadium.

League mark: 5


P7, W3, L4; (5th)

Did Cork absorb the dubious theory that their excellent league form over the past four seasons might in some way have drained them in the championship? From the start of this year's campaign, they gave the impression that finishing outside the top four wouldn't worry them, as long as they avoided relegation. They got their way, but only time will tell if the different approach will have a positive or negative impact.

Reason to be cheerful: Everybody still regards them as being among the top three contenders for the All-Ireland, based on their resources, plus the fact that they have reached the semi-finals in seven of the past eight years.

Reason to be fearful: Still heavily reliant on older players for leadership.

League mark: 5


P7, Won 3, Lost 4 (6th)

Four defeats in their first four games was their worst start to the league for a long time. Adding to the concerns was an abysmally low scoring return in those games (average eight points), but they turned it around and had three straight wins – enough to avoid relegation. Coming so close to the drop is not the Kerry way, but, significantly, they dug their way out.

Reasons to be cheerful: They looked like the dynamic power of old for long periods when beating Tyrone last time out, when their forwards (with more than a little help from Tomas O Se) ran in 1-16.

Reasons to be fearful: Overly reliant on proven war-horses.

League mark: 5


P7, W2, D1, L4 (7th – relegated)

The first reigning All-Ireland champions to be relegated since Kerry in 2001, this was not what the script called for. The belief that everything will come right in the championship relies heavily on assumption. Besides, Donegal have conceded psychological ground to most of their main rivals, which could damage them later on. Had the second-lowest scoring average behind Kerry, but the latter won their last three games; Donegal took one point from their last three games.

Reason to be cheerful: Had an indifferent league campaign last year, but improved dramatically in the championship.

Reason to be fearful: Those relegated from Division 1 don't win All-Irelands.

League mark: 2


P7, W2, L5 (8th - relegated)

Pre-League favourites to be relegated, they lived down to their rating. Wins over Mayo and Kildare, the latter having already qualified for the semis, were their only successes, though they were unlucky to lose to Cork, who got a late goal. Had Down won, they would have survived in Division 1 at Kerry's expense.

Reason to be cheerful: Signed off on a high, hitting Kildare for 3-13 in the final game.

Reason to be fearful: Seem a long way from the level which took them to the All-Ireland final in 2010.

League mark: 2



P7, W5, D1, L1 (1st – promoted)

Recovered from a first-round defeat by Galway to take 11 from 12 points in the next six games and look very much like a side whose upward graph will continue over the next few seasons.

Reason to be cheerful: Achieved the primary aim of winning promotion.

Reason to be fearful: Topping the group has increased expectations, but just how good was Division 2?

League mark: 9


P7, W5, D1, L 1 (2nd – promoted)

Galway, Laois, Armagh and Derry were ahead of them in the pre-league betting, but only the latter beat them. Even then, Westmeath had secured promotion before that game, whereas Derry needed to win to ensure a top-two finish. A very satisfactory spring campaign for Pat Flanagan's squad.

Reason to be cheerful: Beat the odds to win promotion.

Reason to be fearful: They didn't need to win the last game against Derry, but losing by 15 points sent out a worrying sign-off signal.

League mark: 9


P7, W4, D1, L2 (3rd)

Losing to Westmeath and drawing with Louth, games they expected to win, cost them dearly in their attempt to return to Division 1 after dropping down last year.

Reason to be cheerful: Will have home advantage against Louth in the first round of the Leinster championship, raising prospects of a successful start.

Reason to be fearful: All-Ireland odds of 66/1.

League mark: 6


P7, W3, D1, L 3 (4th)

Deserve higher league rating than Laois because less was expected of them. The view was that they would be relegated with Longford, but, instead, they moved into the top half of the table, thanks to wins over Galway, Armagh and Longford and a draw with Laois. All of which made their one-point defeat by Westmeath in the first round so important in deciding the final table.

Reason to be cheerful: Exceeded expectations.

Reason to be fearful: Must go to Portlaoise to play Laois in the first round, which is likely to leave them headed for the long qualifier road.

League mark: 7


P7, W3,D1, L3 (5th)

Pre-season favourites for promotion. it wasn't to be, though, as they suffered defeats to Louth, Laois and Armagh by an average of seven points. They took three of four points from promoted pair Derry and Westmeath, but lacked consistency elsewhere.

Reason to be cheerful: Mayo, whom they meet in the first round of the Connacht championship, have an indifferent record in years after they reached All-Ireland finals.

Reason to be fearful: Terrible record in the qualifiers over the last nine years won't leave them with much optimism if they find themselves heading for the first round after the Mayo game.

League mark: 4


P7, W2, D2, L3 (6th)

Needed to win the last game (versus Galway) to avoid following Monaghan who dropped from Division 1 to 3 in successive seasons. They survived after a good performance, but narrowly avoiding Division 3 is not where Armagh expect to find themselves.

Reason to be cheerful: Wins over Cavan, Fermanagh and Antrim/Monaghan – games Armagh expect to win – would earn them a place in the Ulster final.

Reason to be fearful: Has rate of decline slowed or is there worse to come?

League mark: 4


P7, W2, D1, L4 (7th – relegated)

Undermined by poor defence, Wexford dropped down to Division 3 after being promoted last year. Surrendering an 11-point lead against Armagh (it ended level) cost them a place in Division 2.

Reason to be cheerful: Their style is better suited to summer grounds.

Reason to be fearful: Conceded 11 goals in seven league games.

League mark: 2


P7, L7 (relegated)

The only team in any division not to take a single point – a depressing return after being promoted last year. Luck wasn't with them as the average defeat in their first four games was by three-point margins.

Reason to be cheerful: Better than their pointless league campaign suggests.

Reason to be fearful: A win over UCD is their sole success from seven league and three O'Byrne Cup games this year. League mark: 1



P7, W5, L 2 (1st – promoted)

Return to Division 2 after dropping down last year. The highest scorers in the division, they hit Meath for 1-18, Wicklow for 5-13 and Antrim for 3-15.

Reason to be cheerful: Will be high on confidence going into championship and on the easier side of Ulster draw.

Reason to be fearful: Opener against Antrim is in Casement Park... danger signs everywhere.

League mark: 8


P7, W5, L2 (2nd – promoted)

Clinched promotion after dropping down last year, but had to win their last four games to do so after losing heavily to Monaghan and Cavan early on. That created a scare – but held their nerve.

Reason to be cheerful: They are on the easier side of the Leinster draw.

Reason to be fearful: Division 3 isn't a noted grooming ground for major championship advances.

League mark: 8


P7, W4, D1, L2 (3rd)

dropped point against Antrim cost promotion. Still, progress for a side that came up a division this year.

Reason to be cheerful: Graph going very much in the right way.

Reason to be fearful: Meet Cavan or Armagh in Ulster quarter-final; both have a championship edge over them.

League mark: 7


P 7 W4, D1, L2 (4th)

Dropping a point to Wicklow after conceding a stoppage-time goal proved costly, but overall ran a solid campaign.

Reason to be cheerful: They finished only a point adrift of promoted Meath and Monaghan, which was a decent effort.

Reason to be fearful: Will be away to either Mayo or Galway in their championship opener.

League mark: 6


P7, W3, D1, L3 (5th)

When will the underage surge of recent years translate to the senior scene? It was frustrating for Cavan that they beat Monaghan and Meath – both of whom were promoted – but failed to retain consistency against others.

Reason to be cheerful: The good youngsters will surely make an impact soon at senior level.

Reason to be fearful: Without a win in the Ulster championship since 2009 – not exactly a good omen.

League mark: 5


P7, W2, D1, L4 (6th)

GOT the win they needed against Wicklow in the last round to ensure survival in Division 3. Well deserved.

Reason to be cheerful: They are on the easier side of the Connacht draw.

Reason to be fearful: They have painful memories of their last championship clash with Leitrim (their likely Connacht semi-final opponents) in 2011.

League mark: 4


P7, W1, D2, L4 (7th – relegated)

Took three points from their first three games, but collected just one more in a disappointing campaign.

Reason to be cheerful: They have home advantage against Monaghan in the Ulster quarter-final.

Reason to be fearful: Their form deteriorated along the way on a journey where they were hit for an average of 17 points per game.

League mark: 3


P7, W0, D2, L5 (8th - relegated)

One of only two counties (Longford were the other) not to win any game, their graph was very much the opposite to that of Fermanagh, who were also promoted last year. They took heavy beatings from Fermanagh, Meath and Monaghan.

Reason to be cheerful: Will have the 'Aughrim factor' as a support in the first-round clash against Longford.

Reason to be fearful: Longford were relegated from Division 2, but the experience of playing at a higher level than Wicklow could be important.

League mark: 2



P7, W6, L1 (1st – promoted)

They lived up to their rating as promotion hotshots in a campaign where their scoring averages read: For: 0-12; Against: 0-11. Low scoring and tight margins all the way.

Reason to be cheerful: A secure defence is a great starting base for a championship bid.

Reason to be fearful: Scoring an average of 0-12 won't prolong a summer run.

League mark: 9


P7, W 5, Lost 2 (2nd – promoted)

Two defeats in their first three games left them with no room for error in their drive to spend just one season in Division 4 and they delivered efficiently, reeling off four wins to take second spot.

Reason to be cheerful: They averaged 15 points per game.

Reason to be fearful: They lost to Kildare by 13 points last year – that's a whole lot of ground to make up before the rematch on June 1.

League mark: 8


P7, W4, L3 (3rd)

Defeats by Carlow and Waterford in their first two games, and by Offaly in their last outing, meant that four victories in between was not enough to enable them to live up to their rating as pre-season promotion favourites.

Reason to be cheerful: They found the qualifiers fertile territory last year.

Reason to be fearful: They're drawn against Kerry (again) in the first round of the Munster championship.

League mark: 6


P7, W4, L 3 (4th)

The first-round defeat by a point against Waterford cost them a promotion place. Had they won, they would have finished on 10 points with Limerick and Offaly and squeezed out Maurice Horan's men on scoring difference.

Reason to be cheerful: They have championship specialist Mick O'Dwyer plotting their summer season.

Reason to be fearful: They will most likely be facing Cork, who beat them by 15 points last year.

League mark: 6


P7, W3, L4 (5th)

Hopes were high for a promotion drive after winning the FBD Connacht League, but three defeats in their first four games ended that ambition.

Reason to be cheerful: They are on the easier side of the Connacht draw.

Reason to be fearful: One of these years, New York, whom Leitrim meet on May 5, will deliver a big shock.

League mark: 4


P7, W3, L4 (6th)

Successful in their first two games, but then lost by two points to Limerick and by one point to London, which sent their campaign on a downward spiral.

Reason to be cheerful: They beat Munster rivals Clare and Tipperary, which is a success of sorts in a private battle in the south.

Reason to be fearful: Once Kerry beat Tipperary, they will be coming Waterford's way.

League mark: 4


P7, W2, L5 (7th)

Wins over Tipperary and London in the first two rounds raised hopes, but it was downhill all the way from there as they suffered five successive defeats.

Reason to be cheerful: Four points probably wasn't a fair reflection of their overall merit.

Reason to be fearful: Drawn against rapidly improving Westmeath in the Leinster round in Mullingar. Opposition and venue is a daunting prospect for Carlow.

League mark: 3


P7, W1, L6

One win (versus Waterford) was a disappointing return in a season where they lost to Carlow and Limerick by a point each and to Leitrim by two points.

Reason to be cheerful: They are due a big result in the Connacht championship.

Reason to be fearful: If they could win only one game in Division 4, how will they bridge the gap to Sligo who survived in Division 3?

League mark: 2

Irish Independent