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This was the day to put the League out of its misery

It's all to play for in the final round of league games in Division 1, but while getting extra matches is useful there are many managers and players who would be just as happy ending the whole thing after today.

At one time the Allianz League was very important. Now as it runs close to the championship it is looked on in a different light and playing the same teams again in a semi-final and final is not high on the agenda in any county.

First of all, the county board would prefer to see club matches going ahead with the county men back where they belong. Any club which has a county player and whose county gets to a league final can say goodbye to them until the summer or until the county team is out of the championship. Dublin have postponed the first round of the championship already because the team is in the league semi-final. It's a pity really, but in a lot of counties, clubs' access to their players is limited.

Why semi-finals were introduced is beyond comprehension. Obviously it was decided by the same people who complain about clubs being squeezed out. In that regard, the league has run its course after today. It is most unusual in that there's often more interest in the beginning of this competition than the end of it.

In Omagh today, however, the opposite is very much the case. This game matters to Kerry from a survival point of view and while the official GAA line that games between these counties over the last decade have been keenly contested, the proper words to use when refering to recent clashes would be bile, venom and spite.

After the poisonous fallout from the club match between Finuge and Cookstown, the atmosphere today will be tense, the travelling support will be small but the Kerry supporters, to their credit, treated Mickey Harte with due respect after the spiky clash in Killarney last year. Hopefully that goodwill prevails this afternoon.

Anyone who thinks that the sort of rivalry that has existed between Kerry and Tyrone over the last decade is a first in football should have a look around any county where they will quickly find several clubs who don't like each other very much. And if you watch some of the old matches in the great rivalry between Dublin and Kerry in the 1970s, you will get a proper idea about what a fatwa meant in a GAA context. Those players are all friends now, but at the time it was no old boys' club. I don't think the Cork players of the '80s liked Meath very much either, but we all read the section in the Bible about loving your neighbour so we never felt the same. For some it has always been all fair in love and war.

It may be a bit simplistic to say that Tyrone appear on the way up while Kerry are running out of road. Eamonn Fitzmaurice has drawn the short straw of getting the job when a lot of brilliant players are coming close to the end of their careers and there is no orderly queue to replace them.

It's hard to see Kerry being as dominant in this decade as they were in the last and it won't be long before Marc and Tomás ó Sé move on as well as Paul Galvin, Declan O'Sullivan and Colm Cooper. Could there be a famine on the way? Maybe Tyrone will send some barley loaves and fish to alleviate distress. Whether Kerry win or lose today and whether they are relegated too is largely immaterial to my mind. It may be a news item but it is a nine-day wonder.

If Kerry are going to win the All-Ireland this year then relegation will have no impact whatsoever on preparations. Far bigger and more important battles lie ahead and all the old guard will be needed. Of course a good performance and a win today would be a considerable boost but the players Kerry will rely on when the west wind starts blowing again are not going to be judged on a league match in Omagh.

Dublin will be travelling the same road and a bit further to Ballybofey. They would like to prevail in a battle as most of their good performances have been on their own terms in Croke Park. This is a different riddle and it was at this stage last year that Donegal's championship team and style became properly honed. Jim Gavin will be interested to see whether the free-flowing, high-scoring and hard-running type of game will work against the spider's web defence. This happens when the forwards are sucked in and over time become mentally smothered. Nothing Dublin have faced so far can prepare them for this but the Donegal model this year is thrown off a bit by injuries

and they have nothing like the pool of players Dublin have at their disposal. Donegal need Karl Lacey back quickly as it appears that they have not really discovered anyone who is going to make a huge impact this summer.

On the other hand, with the Ballymun players back, Jim Gavin and his selectors are caught on a double-edged sword. All they have touched has turned to gold. Eventually, though, there has to be a fairly consistent first 15 and while most counties would admire this dilemma, it is a real problem in Dublin with so many playing well when they get the chance. There will be a lot of long faces on the Dublin bench this summer as players who would get a game anywhere else have to sit and appear patient. At the moment though Dublin are the team to beat in league and championship.

Fans will be out in force in Navan as Meath and Fermanagh have a winner-takes-all contest. Promotion for Meath from Division 3 is now possible after a couple of less-than-inspiring displays against Monaghan and Cavan. It may not seem like a hill of beans for many but a move up would be a big step forward. The same is true for Peter Canavan's Fermanagh, who have put themselves in a position to go up with a win.

An interesting day all round, then, and a day when many will find out who their real friends are.

Irish Independent