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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Super 8s power rankings after opening weekend of GAA's new football format

Galway and Tyrone have both jumped up the pecking order.

THIS IS THE second instalment of Super 8s power rankings. Read the first here.

8. Roscommon (down one place)

olm Lavin and Conor Devaney before the game Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The Rossies got their Super 8s campaign off to the worst possible start with an 18-point pummeling by Tyrone in Croke Park.

While Ciarain Murtagh and Enda Smith had some bright moments in attack, Roscommon were naive defensively and couldn’t live with Tyrone’s powerful running game.

They need a victory over Donegal at home on Saturday evening and to at least avoid defeat against Dublin in round 3 if they’re to stand any chance of progressing.

7. Kildare (up one place)

Kildare huddle before the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kildare’s run of four consecutive victories was ended with a 0-15 to 1-10 defeat to Monaghan in Croke Park.

The game was in the balance with the sides deadlocked after 62 minutes, but Monaghan’s big game experience saw them home. With Galway and Kerry to come, these were two points Cian O’Neill would have been targetting at the outset of the All-Ireland quarter-final series.

Lose to the Tribesmen on Sunday and Kildare will be going nowhere after Newbridge.

6. Monaghan (unchanged)

Darren Hughes, Shane Carey and Ryan McAnespie celebrate after the game Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Monaghan ended a run of four straight defeats in the All-Ireland quarter-finals and now effectively find themselves in a three-way scrap with Galway and Kerry for the top two spots in Group 1.

The weekend’s results means the Kingdom’s trip to Clones on Sunday has taken on even greater significance.

The Farney have got form against Kerry, having beaten them in three of their last four league meetings. In Conor McManus, they’ve got one of the top two or three forwards in the country.

5. Donegal (unchanged)

Donegal team huddle before the match Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The Ulster champions gave a very good account of themselves in their five-point loss to Dublin.

It was a game they never looked like winning, but Declan Bonner’s team deserve credit for not wilting after Niall Scully’s second goal shortly after half-time. Physically and football-wise they look like a side capable of having a big say in the competition yet.

The Super 8s roadshow sends them to a winnable fixture in Dr Hyde Park this weekend before a mouthwatering showdown with Tyrone.

4. Kerry (down two places)

The Kerry team huddles during the game Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Kerry were the only team to drop two places in our rankings this week and it’s not hard to see why.

David Clifford’s 1-5 from play was just about the only good thing to come out of their three-point defeat to Galway, which flattered the Munster champions. Kerry emphatically failed their first real test of the summer and head into the lion’s den in Clones with elimination at the quarter-final stage hanging over them.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s tactical approach and game management must now come into question, while his failure to introduce Kieran Donaghy was puzzling.

3. Tyrone (up one place)

Tyrone team huddle Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Make no mistake, Tyrone confirmed their reemergence at the weekend as genuine threats to Dublin’s All-Ireland crown.

The full-forward combination of Connor McAliskey and Richard Donnelly is working a treat and the runners from deep – Peter Harte, Niall Sludden, Mattie Donnelly, Conor Meyler and Tiernan McCann – are a sight to behold as they bound into open country. The 7-44 Tyrone have posted in the last two games indicates they now have an attacking game that compliments their defensive one.

Saturday’s visit of Dublin to Omagh promises to be one of the games of the summer.

2. Galway (up one place)

Shane Walsh celebrates after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Doubt them now. Galway’s first championship win over Kerry since 1965 and their first at Croke Park since 2001 made the country sit up and take notice.

They are legitimate contenders for the Sam Maguire and after shutting down a Kerry attack that put up 3-50 in their two previous games the Tribe’s defensive, counter-attacking game can’t be questioned any longer.

Shane Walsh is enjoying the sort of consistency that could lead to his first All-Star and his team-mates are playing with an edge reminiscent of the great Armagh and Tyrone sides of the 2000s. A win over Kildare this weekend could seal their passage to the semi-finals.

1. Dublin (unchanged)

Jack McCaffrey, Michael Fitzsimons and Stephen Cluxton after the game Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Dublin’s five-point victory over Donegal was rarely in danger but Jim Gavin cut a frustrated figure afterwards at their unforced errors and missed scoring opportunities.

Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion and Con O’Callaghan will hardly be as subdued again, and this below-par performance is likely to give the reigning champions a wake-up call. Cian O’Sullivan and Jack McCaffrey made their first starts after long-term injuries while Eoin Murchan, Brian Howard and Scully impressed. They remain the frontrunners to go all the way.

Winning this game without playing close to their best is impressive in itself, but they’ll have to drastically improve for the trip to Omagh this weekend.



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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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