| 4.4°C Dublin

Every point precious in congested Division 2

Close

'Laois lead the way with three points, injury-depleted Roscommon are down in eighth with a solitary point, while six teams are stuck in an expanded mid-table with two points apiece.' (stock photo)

'Laois lead the way with three points, injury-depleted Roscommon are down in eighth with a solitary point, while six teams are stuck in an expanded mid-table with two points apiece.' (stock photo)

SPORTSFILE

'Laois lead the way with three points, injury-depleted Roscommon are down in eighth with a solitary point, while six teams are stuck in an expanded mid-table with two points apiece.' (stock photo)

Before a ball had been kicked, there were lots of strongly-held convictions - and confident predictions - about this year's National Football League Division 2.

Just two rounds later, we're in a very different place and the future is impossible to fathom.

Trying to make sense of Division 2 would test the wisdom of Solomon and the gambling wits of Barney Curley.

Even the bold Barney wouldn't have spied profit in last weekend's 80/1 accumulator backing home wins for Laois (11/4) against Armagh, Cavan (evens) against Westmeath, Clare (11/4) against Kildare and Fermanagh (15/8) against Roscommon.

The above combination, unexpected as it was, has underlined the following:

*Never under-estimate the value of home advantage in league combat.

*The preconception that promotion was a three-way battle between Kildare, Armagh and Roscommon now looks wilfully presumptuous - especially when you consider that the Rossies are currently rock-bottom.

*Ditto with the firmly-held belief, even by some partisan Portlaoisians, that Laois were favourites for doomsday demotion.

Guess who's sitting pretty at the top right now?

There is, we suspect, another fundamental factor behind this roller-coaster necklace of results.

And it's this: the two teams relegated from Division 2 face the double-whammy of demotion to the new second-tier football championship, presuming they don't embark on a redemptive run to their provincial final.

The flip side is that those promoted from Division 3 will be guaranteed their place in the qualifiers, however theoretical their prospects of winning Sam.

As a consequence, every single point in the two middle divisions is being fought over more ferociously than ever.

All of this has left us with a very congested table: Laois lead the way with three points, injury-depleted Roscommon are down in eighth with a solitary point, while six teams are stuck in an expanded mid-table with two points apiece.

Irish Independent