Sunday, April 2nd. 2:00pm
Monaghan v Dublin, Clones.
Mayo v Donegal, Elvery’s MacHale Park.
Kerry v Tyrone, Fitzgerald Stadium.
Roscommon v Cavan, Dr. Hyde Park.
It’s hard to believe that the Allianz Leagues are almost over already. It seems like only last week when Dublin and their huge army of fans made the trip to Breffni Park for their opening game against Cavan. And it’s been anything but a boring journey since then. This weekend the last of the round games will take place, all on Sunday, all at 2:00pm.
And with the slight change to proceedings this year with no semi finals, the final day’s result will decide the top two teams in the table, and they will contest the League Final.
Before we get the pencils and calculators out, it’s worth bearing in mind that should two sides finish level on the same points, their head to head record will separate them. But in the event of three teams or more finishing level on points then they’re separated by their scoring difference. So let’s dig into the detail and we’ll find the devil.
The top two slots in the table are currently held by Dublin and Donegal. However, Monaghan, Tyrone, Kerry, and Mayo all still stand a viable chance of qualifying.
Let’s take Dublin’s away trip to Clones first. A win for either team will guarantee a League Final slot. But that’s the only result that will suit Monaghan, as a draw would be sufficient for Dublin.
Donegal will earn their slot should they beat Mayo in MacHale Park. Outside of that, things get much more interesting, depending on results from other games. Are you ready?
Mayo’s situation is like a high wire act and shows just how finely balanced things are. If they lose to Donegal they’re very much in danger of relegation. But if they manage to beat the Tir Connaill men, Kerry beat Tyrone, and Dublin beat Monaghan, they may still be able to qualify for the final. And if that were to happen, it would leave Donegal, Monaghan, Kerry, and Mayo level on eight points each, and this would be were scoring difference would come into play.
Let’s look at the dangerous end of these permutations. We already know that after a two year stint, Roscommon will be saying goodbye to Division 1 Football, having not won a game in the six fixtures so far. Cavan sit just above them in the table and if they beat Roscommon on Sunday that gives them a very good chance of avoiding the drop, putting them on six points.
If Mayo were to lose to Donegal, Cavan would overtake them in the table based on the head to head rule, and Mayo would be relegated.
However if Cavan were to beat Roscommon, Mayo lose to Donegal, and Kerry lose to Tyrone, then Cavan, Mayo, and Kerry would all finish on six points. This would again bring scoring difference into play to determine which side of the three would be relegated. And at the moment that would be Cavan, unless they pile a huge scoreline up against Roscommon, as their scoring difference right now is -20, whereas Mayo’s is -5 and Kerry’s is +6.
So that’s Division 1. It could end up being straight forward, but you can never hang your hat on these things. It just makes Sunday a very interesting day.
(image credits: GAA.ie)