Dublin and Galway are first into semi-finals
Dublin and Galway, winners and runners-up respectively in this year's League (Division 1), have taken that good form into the championship and are the first two to secure places in the All-Ireland semi-finals, writes Martin Breheny.
They will be joined by two from Monaghan, Kerry, Donegal and Tyrone. Kildare and Roscommon are both eliminated. Kerry's late goal against Monaghan yesterday kept them in contention ahead of their final 'round robin' game against Kildare on Saturday week but even a win there brings no guarantee of a semi-final place.
They also need Galway to beat Monaghan, in which case the second semi-final slot from Group 1 would be decided by scoring difference.
Monaghan are currently on +2 points while Kerry are on -3 points. A draw against Galway would be enough for Monaghan to win a semi-final place for the first time since 1988. Effectively, it means that even if Kerry beat Kildare, they are relying on Galway to do them a favour.
The Donegal v Tyrone game in Ballybofey on Sunday week will decide who joins Dublin in progressing to the semi-finals from Group 2. A draw would be enough for Tyrone, who have a better scoring difference than Donegal.
The semi-finals pairings will be as follows: Top Group 1 v 2nd Group 2; Top Group 2 v 2nd Group 1. They will be played on the weekend of August 11/12.