Thursday 24 May 2018

Martin Breheny: From top dogs Dublin to bottom feeders Wicklow - every team's League performance rated

 

Ciaran Kilkenny with the trophy after Dublin’s Allianz Division 1 league final win over Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
Ciaran Kilkenny with the trophy after Dublin’s Allianz Division 1 league final win over Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The Allianz football League is over and the inter-county season closes down until mid-May when the provincial championships begin.

What did your county take out of the spring campaign? Is it positive, negative or neutral? Ratings are based solely on how counties performed in their groups, rather than comparisons between divisions.

Roscommon captain Conor Devaney with the Division 2 Cup. Photo: Sportsfile
Roscommon captain Conor Devaney with the Division 2 Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

DIVISION 1

DUBLIN

"To turn up this year with two weeks' preparation for the National League, get themselves in a final, find themselves in a real dogfight with 25 minutes to go and a man down into the wind... and to still produce what they did is remarkable," said Jim Gavin last Sunday. Put it another way: what are the rest doing if Dublin can win the League off much less pre-season that everyone else? Rating - 10

GALWAY

Patrick Burns of Armagh lifts the Division 3 NFL trophy. Photo: Sportsfile
Patrick Burns of Armagh lifts the Division 3 NFL trophy. Photo: Sportsfile

Favourites for relegation on their return to the top flight, they were the surprise packet in Division 1, taking 13 of 14 points before testing Dublin in the final. Rating - 9

MONAGHAN

Per head of population, they are the top side in the country, completing another successful season in Division 1 with a third-place finish. They beat Kerry, Tyrone and Dublin - quite a feat over five weeks. Rating - 8

TYRONE

Laois captain Stephen Attride with the Division 4 Cup. Photo: Sportsfile
Laois captain Stephen Attride with the Division 4 Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

Finished well when beating Donegal and Kerry but had a disappointing campaign earlier on, during which they lost three of four games. That slow start ended the Red Hands' prospects of living up their pre-season profile among the favourites to reach the final. Rating - 6

KERRY

Won their first two games, before losing four of the next five. Among the residual worries is a goal concession rate of ten. Kildare were the only opposition not to score a goal against Kerry. Rating - 5

MAYO

Scenes of joy followed their late survival act against Donegal in the final round but the fact remains that they won only two games (Monaghan and Kildare). They also had by far the lowest scoring return in Division 1. Rating - 5

DONEGAL

The unluckiest team in the division, they were relegated after being caught for a late equaliser by Mayo in Round 7. They were unfortunate in the first two rounds too, losing by a point to Kerry and Galway, which left them under pressure - and that ultimately weighed them down. Rating - 4

KILDARE

Lost all seven games on their return to Division 1, with a giveaway rate which was the highest in the group - despite having four home games. Rating - 2

 

DIVISION 2

 

ROSCOMMON

Booked a return to Division 1 at the first attempt, which has left them nicely set up for a Championship where they can reach the Connacht final by beating Leitrim or New York. Rating - 10

CAVAN

Like Roscommon, they bounced back after being relegated last year. The general view was that a third-placed finish looked the best they could hope for, so they are in bonus territory already. Rating - 10

CLARE

The bookies rated them joint-favourites with Louth for relegation - instead they finished third. They remain on a momentum-building course. Rating - 8

TIPPERARY

It was a frustrating campaign for Tipp, but it says a lot for how they are perceived under Liam Kearns that there's disappointment in the county that they didn't go from Divisions 3 to 1 in successive seasons. Rating - 7

CORK

New manager Ronan McCarthy said Cork were "in a good place" at the end of the campaign. Is fifth in Division 2 - five points off the promotion pace - really a good place for a county like Cork? Hardly. They avoided relegation ahead of Down on scoring difference only. Rating - 4

MEATH

They took three of four points in their first two games and then lost their next three. It left them needing to beat Louth last Saturday to survive. They managed it, but it was still a very disappointing League, leaving them headed for Division 2 for a 13th successive year in 2019. Rating - 4

DOWN

They had four points after three rounds but added only two more, which wasn't enough to avoid relegation. Down in Division 3 - it's a sad reflection on the county. Rating - 3

LOUTH

Having come up from Division 3, they were out of their depth, losing all seven games - by an average of almost 10 points. Rating - 2

 

DIVISION 3

 

ARMAGH

Many felt they should never drop as low as Division 3 - and certainly not for successive seasons - but they have finally escaped. It was all about promotion so the campaign was a success. Rating - 10

FERMANAGH

They return to Division 2 after one season in the third tier, which will certainly please new manager, Rory Gallagher, who watched his former charges in Donegal drop out of Division 1. Rating - 10

LONGFORD

How unlucky can they get? A controversial free, which led to the winning point for Fermanagh, in the final round cost Longford promotion. Such are the tight margins that seasons hang on. Rating - 8

WESTMEATH

Having come up from Division 4, a fourth-place finish looks encouraging but Westmeath will feel they should have got more. Having taken eight points from their first five games, which included a win over Fermanagh, they lost to Longford and Offaly. Rating - 7

SLIGO

Division 3 has become their natural habitat - they will be there for an 8th successive season next year. Rating - 6

OFFALY

Sligo's win over Derry in the final round kept the Faithful County in Division 3 after taking five points. Rating - 5

WEXFORD

After one season in Division 1, they are headed back to Division 4, having lost six of their seven games. Rating - 2

DERRY

From Division 1 finalists in 2014 to Division 4 in 2019. The decline has been quick, steep and very worrying for the game in Derry. Rating - 1

 

DIVISION 4

 

LAOIS

Okay, so they should never have dropped as far as Division 4 but, having done that, they had to make sure they began the return journey straight away, which they did. They finished as the only county across all four divisions with a 100pc record. Rating - 10

CARLOW

They secured promotion to Division 3 for the first time since 1984 with one round remaining. It was quite an achievement by an ambitious group led by Turlough O'Brien. Rating - 10

ANTRIM

Flagged as promotion fancies with Carlow and Laois, they didn't quite make it, which was disappointing after dropping down from Division 3 last year. Rating - 7

LEITRIM

They only played five games, winning two and losing three, in a disrupted campaign. Rating - 6

LONDON

They won and drew one of six games, which is above their usual average. Rating - 6

LIMERICK

Like London, they finished on three points from six games - not a great return. Rating - 6

WATERFORD

Same as Limerick and London on three points; manager Tom McGlinchey was very annoyed their final game with Leitrim wasn't played. Whatever the division, League placings matter for every team. Rating - 6

WICKLOW

Together with Kildare and Louth, Wicklow were the only county not to win a game, albeit having played one less than the teams in the top three divisions. However, they drew with Waterford and third-placed Antrim. Rating - 4

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport