Big weekend ahead for Kildare, Dublin and Cork. INPHO

Who is under pressure after two rounds of GAA football league?

The threat of relegation already looms large for some.

WITH TWO ROUNDS of the National Football League played, the pressure is already on.

The threat of relegation looms large for some. For others, the promotion dream could be slipping away.

Here’s a look at some teams under pressure early doors.

Division 1


The All-Ireland champions have suffered successive one-point defeats upon their return to the top-flight.

Monaghan had the last say in a madcap opener in Croke Park. The Farney county pounced on a Brian Fenton mistake, and teenager Ciaran McNulty was the match-winning hero.

Seven days later in Castlebar, Fergal Boland hit the winning point in the fourth minute of added time to snatch victory for the league champions.

Dessie Farrell’s side might feel hard done by losing by such narrow margins, but an opportunity to get off the mark awaits against fellow strugglers Roscommon at Croke Park on Saturday. Difficult assignments against Kerry and Derry follow thereafter.


Pádraic Joyce’s side failed to beat both of their big Connacht rivals through a shaky start to the league. They fell to a 2-12 to 0-10 defeat to Mayo at Pearse Stadium on opening day, before a 0-9 apiece draw with Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.

Goals were key as Mayo won the local derby for the third time in-a-row, but in truth, the Tribe were poor. Conditions were difficult the following week, and both sides picked up their first points in a low-scoring affair.

Galway travel to Tyrone this weekend, before hosting Derry and facing Monaghan in Clones.

davy-burke-after-the-game-with-kieran-molloy Galway's Kieran Molloy with Roscommon manager Davy Burke. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO


After a three-point defeat to Tyrone at Healy Park, Davy Burke’s men got up and running with that draw against Galway. They meet Dublin in Croke Park on Saturday night, where a win would be a sizeable boost for either side. 

Roscommon welcome Monaghan to the Hyde the following week, and they will surely be targeting a result there, before a trip to Castlebar.

They’re operating without the experienced Ciarán Murtagh this year, but welcomed Enda Smith back from suspension for the Galway game. The St Brigid’s contingent are back in the fold after their All-Ireland campaign, and will hope to translate that form to the inter-county stage.

Division 2


The Rebels are one of two teams on zero points in the second tier. They suffered an 11-point defeat away to Donegal (1-20 to 2-6) before a two-point loss on the road against Louth (2-9 to 0-13).

They have consistently struggled in their opening Division 2 league games since getting relegated in 2016, but they’ll hope to take something from a home game this weekend. Sean Powter is due to return from injury in a boost, but it won’t be easy. Cavan arrive to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on the back of an impressive win over Kildare, and losing to Donegal by the minimum.

Cork face Fermanagh away and Kildare at home thereafter. “The next three games will define our league season,” as manager John Cleary told the media after the Louth game. “We have a hill to climb, but all we can do is go back to the drawing board.”

Relegation would be a concern as Division 2 status could count towards All-Ireland qualification this summer — even more so for Cork, as they’re on the same side of the Munster draw as Kerry.


Glenn Ryan’s side have a similar uphill battle ahead, also pointless in Division 2, with the same relegation worry hanging over them.

After that disappointing defeat to Cavan, Kildare lost to Fermanagh on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-12 in Enniskillen.

glenn-ryan-watches-on-from-outside-the-grounds Kildare manager Glenn Ryan. James Lawlor / INPHO James Lawlor / INPHO / INPHO

That’s back-to-back losses to teams up from Division 3, whereas many would have expected the Lilywhites to be in the running for promotion to the top-flight this season.

They play Armagh this weekend, where a win would be a real confidence-booster, but Kieran McGeeney’s side have hit the ground running and sit top of the table. Due to redevelopment work in Newbridge, Kildare are playing their home games at Netwatch Cullen Park so can’t necessarily rely on home comforts.

There’s no shortage of off-field drama in the county too, with Ryan and his management team coming in for criticism from the county board.


The Royals’ promotion hopes suffered a hit after rallying to draw with Fermanagh in their opener in Navan. The following week, they shipped a 12-point defeat to Armagh.

The pressure is on the Tailteann Cup champions, with Colm O’Rourke’s side desperate to make amends for that hammering. Louth come to Páirc Tailteann for a local derby next, with Kildare following suit the week after, and Meath know they need points.

“The long-term future of this team has to be in Division 1 of the league if we want to be serious about Leinster and All-Ireland championships within the next few years,” O’Rourke told the Drogheda Independent before the league got underway.

Early signs indicate rather than chasing promotion, they may be staving off relegation. The only comfort is they’re guaranteed All-Ireland football this year after their Tailteann Cup win.

Division 3


Under new manager Declan Kelly, Offaly have lost to Westmeath (1-11 to 0-10) and Antrim (2-5 to 1-7). They host Clare in Tullamore this weekend before a trip to Down.

The Faithful county were fifth in Division 3 last season, and would have been looking to improve on that mid-table finish. They’ll still be hoping to harness the 2021 All-Ireland U20 winning talent.


Wicklow have endured defeats to Down (0-18 to 0-13) and Sligo (2-10 to 1-11), and play high-flying Westmeath this weekend. They’ll do so without manager Oisín McConville on the line as he serves a four-week ban for “abusive language towards a referee”.

It’s a blow for the Garden county as they try to avoid an immediate return to Division 4.

brian-nesbitt-dejected Brian Nesbitt dejected after Wicklow's loss to Down. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO


Limerick are rock bottom of Division 3 with a -23 points difference. A 3-16 to 0-9 defeat to Down the last day was a sucker-punch, after a seven-point home loss to Antrim. They play Sligo next.

The Treaty were relegated to Division 3 as the basement team in the second tier last year, but a swift promotion looks out of reach at this juncture. Avoiding a second consecutive relegation will be the target now for new manager Jimmy Lee.

Division 4


Longford dropped from Division 3, and have had a frustrating start to life in the basement thus far.

After a second O’Byrne Cup success in-a-row, Paddy Christie’s side have shipped back-to-back two-point losses to Laois and Tipperary. They’ll hope to kickstart their campaign when they visit Waterford this weekend.


London finished bottom of Division 4 with one point last year. They have zero so far in 2024 after a four-point defeat to Wexford and a five-point reversal to Leitrim.

The Exiles host Tipperary next, and will be hopeful of improving on last season’s finish by the end of the league.


The Déise are in dire straits. They have a -26 points difference in their 13th successive season in the basement. They finished second bottom last year, only just ahead of London thanks to a win over the Exiles. Before that, their previous victory was in 2021.

Paul Shankley’s side lost to Leitrim (2-17 to 1-5) and Carlow (1-17 to 0-9), and welcome fellow strugglers Longford to Fraher Field on Saturday.

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