Dublin: 4°C Thursday 9 December 2021
Advertisement

Explainer: What's at stake for each county in the last round of the GAA football league?

The final round of games take place next weekend.

Kerry, Tyrone and Clare all in the hunt for top two league spots.
Kerry, Tyrone and Clare all in the hunt for top two league spots.
Image: INPHO

THE LAST ROUND of the Allianz football league takes place next weekend, the Round 3 fixtures bringing an end to this season’s compressed schedule.

The top two teams in the North and South sections of each division will advance to semi-final games, which will determine the champions for Division 1 and those promoted from the other tiers. The bottom two sides then face relegation playoffs.

The pairings for the playoffs will be 1st North v 2nd South, 2nd North v 1st South, 3rd North v 4th South and 4th North v 3rd South.

If two teams are tied on points this weekend, it will be decided on the head-to-head record between them. If it’s more than two sides tied on points then the following criteria will be used in order – scoring difference, highest total score for, highest total goals for and then a play-off will be required.

Here’s the state of play heading into the final weekend.

Division 1

The action begins here on Saturday night in the North section with Donegal (3 pts), Tyrone and Armagh (2 pts apiece), Monaghan (1 pt) all involved. It’s extremely tight as all four can still reach the league semi-finals or face relegation playoffs.

A win or draw will guarantee Donegal a top two spot. Tyrone and Armagh also both know a victory will clinch a league semi-final place for them. Monaghan must win and hope Armagh lose to retain their chance of reaching that stage.

Saturday

  • Armagh v Donegal, Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm
  • Tyrone v Monaghan, Healy Park, 7.30pm

In the South section, the action is on late Sunday afternoon with Kerry and Dublin (3 pts apiece) leading the way ahead of Galway (2) and Roscommon (0). The only thing determined here is that Roscommon are in the relegation match.

If Kerry avoid defeat they will be through to the league semi-finals and joined by the winners of Dublin and Galway. Even if Kerry lose, their scoring difference of (+22) puts them in a strong position, unless they suffer a heavy defeat and Galway win which could create the possibility of them losing out.

Galway must win to progress, a draw would suffice for Dublin.

Sunday

  • Roscommon v Kerry, Dr Hyde Park, 3.45pm
  • Galway v Dublin, Tuam Stadium, 3.45pm

ciaran-kilkenny-and-shane-walsh Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny and Galway's Shane Walsh. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Division 2

Everything has already been settled in the North section of the second tier with Mayo and Meath assured of semi-final places after both winning their two games to date. They meet next Sunday while Down and Westmeath are in opposition with both already set for a relegation battle.

Sunday

  • Mayo v Meath, Castlebar, 1.45pm
  • Westmeath v Down, Mullingar, 1.45pm

Clare (4 pts) lead the way in this South section and know if they avoid defeat they are assured of a play-off spot. Kildare and Cork (both 2 pts) are also in the hunt, if they both win then there will be a three-way tie for promotion. Two draws would see Kildare edge out Cork on the head-to-head rule.

There’s an outside chance Laois could end up in the top two but they must win and hope Clare do as well, while the scoring difference swings their way. It’s currently Clare (+10), Cork (+4), Kildare (+1) and Laois (-15). 

Sunday

  • Laois v Kildare, Portlaoise, 1.45pm
  • Clare v Cork, Ennis, 1.45pm

jack-oconnor Kildare boss Jack O'Connor. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Division 3

Derry (4 pts) are almost guaranteed a promotion playoff spot from the North section. A win or a draw on Saturday will clinch that. If Cavan (2 pts) and Fermanagh (2 pts) both win, there will be three teams tied on four points but given current scoring differences that see Derry (+35), Cavan (+5) and Fermanagh (-18), there will need to be a major swing to rule out the Oak Leaf County.

Longford have lost their two games to date, so they must win and hope Derry beat Cavan to create a scenario where they can avoid the relegation playoffs, but again with their scoring difference currently (-22), they need to win with a bit to spare.

Saturday

  • Cavan v Derry, Kingspan Breffni, 3pm
  • Fermanagh v Longford, Enniskillen, 3pm

Offaly (4 pts) lead the South section and avoiding defeat on Saturday will assure them of a top two spot. Wins for Tipperary and Limerick would leave three teams on four points, it’s currently Offaly (+6), Tipperary (+1) and Limerick (0) in scoring difference.

Wicklow (-7 in scoring difference) have lost their two games to date and they must win while hoping for an Offaly victory to leave them with a chance.

Saturday

  • Offaly v Tipperary, Tullamore, 3pm
  • Wicklow v Limerick, Aughrim, 3pm

Division 4

Antrim (4 pts) have already qualified from the North section. Louth and Sligo (both on 2 pts) play each other so both cannot overtake the Saffron county. It’s a winner takes all clash in that game in Dundalk, a draw would do Louth as they currently have the better scoring difference of +8 to +6. 

  • Antrim v Leitrim, Corrigan Park, Belfast, 3pm
  • Louth v Sligo, Dundalk, 3pm

The South section is contested by three teams with it currently Carlow (2 pts and +15 scoring difference), Waterford (2 pts and -14) and Wexford (0 pts and -1).

Carlow are guaranteed to finish in the top two before they play Wexford on Saturday. A Carlow win would see them and Waterford progress. A Wexford win would see them and Carlow progress. A draw sees Carlow and Waterford progress.

  • Carlow v Wexford, Dr Cullen Park, 5pm

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel