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Explainer: What's at stake for every county in the football league final round?

The Round 7 games take place next weekend.

Roscommon, Armagh, Dublin and Tipperary all have plenty to play for.
Roscommon, Armagh, Dublin and Tipperary all have plenty to play for.
Image: INPHO

IT’S CRUNCH TIME in the GAA football league next weekend across the four divisions with promotion and relegation issues to be decided.

There’s plenty at stake in the Round 7 games that are all scheduled to take place. If two teams finish level in a table, then the head-to-head record will come into play.

If there are more than two teams tied, then it is scoring difference, highest total score and highest total goals that will be the determining factors, before a play-off would need to be held.

Here are the main permutations.

Division 1

Kerry have already qualified for the league final. It will likely be Mayo or Armagh, both on seven points, who they will face. If both win, Mayo will advance as they previously defeated the Orchard County.

If both sides lose, then there is a chance of another team coming into play with scoring difference coming into play if Kildare (+1), Donegal (-9) and Tyrone (-12) win. The Lilywhites have the best chance there of pegging back either Mayo (+6) or Armagh (+11) if the results fell their way.

When it comes to relegation, that outcome is still a live prospect for Kildare, Donegal, Tyrone, Dublin and Monaghan. There is a huge game in Clones as Monaghan host Dublin, both teams currently on four points.

If either win, they have a strong chance of staying up but if Kildare, Donegal and Tyrone all win, they would still be relegated. A draw could also be good enough for Dublin and Monaghan, as the previously mentioned trio are all on five points.

Scoring difference may be a factor in a complex relegation battle.

Division 2

A more clearcut situation here. Galway are promoted with Roscommon (10 points) and Derry (9 points) both challenging for that other spot. Roscommon host Galway and are in control of their own destiny, while Derry are away to Meath. If Roscommon win, they are promoted. If they draw and Derry win or if Roscommon lose and Derry draw, the head-to-head won’t apply as the teams previously drew. Currently it’s Roscommon (+31) and Derry (+26) on scoring difference.

At the bottom, Down are relegated and Clare could still go down but it’s unlikely, even if they lose, as their scoring difference is in healthy state. The big match here is in Tullamore as Offaly entertain Cork. Offaly must win, while a draw or a win would suffice to keep Cork up.

a-general-view-of-bord-na-mona-oconnor-park O'Connor Park in Tullamore. Source: Tom Maher/INPHO

Division 3

There’s a huge amount to play for here. In the promotion race, Louth (9 points), Limerick (8 points), Antrim and Westmeath (both 7 points), and Fermanagh (6 points), all still have a chance of going up. Louth are guaranteed a promotion spot if they win or draw with Wicklow. Similarly, Limerick will go up if they beat Fermanagh.

If that duo don’t win, Antrim and Westmeath, who face each other, could come into the reckoning if either claim a victory. Fermanagh must beat Limerick and hope for a draw between Antrim and Westmeath. Then there would be four teams on eight points with scoring difference proving decisive.

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At the bottom, it’s between Laois, Wicklow and Longford to avoid relegation. Laois are on five points, while the other duo Wicklow and Longford are both on three points. Laois face Longford on Sunday, knowing a win or a draw will keep them up.

If Longford beat Laois and Wicklow defeat Louth, then all three teams will be on five points and it’ll come down to scoring difference. If Longford win and Wicklow fail to beat Louth, Laois and Wicklow are both relegated, Laois losing out to Longford on the head to head rule.

Division 4

In the final division, it is Cavan (10 points), Tipperary (9 points), Sligo and Leitrim (both 8 points), who are in contention for the promotion places. Cavan play Waterford and Tipperary play London, both knowing if they win, then they’ll advance. Cavan only need a draw.

The only way Cavan can get caught is if they lose, Tipperary draw and there’s a winner in the Sligo-Leitrim game to see three teams on 10 points.

A new episode of The Front Row, in partnership with Guinness, is out now. After Ireland’s Triple Crown win, Murray Kinsella gives us the rundown on his team of the tournament. Ireland international Sene Naoupu also joins the panel to chat about her career and look ahead to the start of the Women’s Six Nations. Click here to subscribe or listen below:


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