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Kerry on the slide, Dublin still the kingpins: Super 8s power rankings after round 2

The Kingdom have dropped two places, while Donegal and Monaghan are on the rise.

THIS IS THE third instalment of our Super 8s power rankings. Read the second one here.

8. Roscommon (unchanged)

Roscommon on the pitch before the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Rossies were eliminated from the All-Ireland race after their 0-20 to 0-13 defeat to Donegal in Dr Hyde Park on Saturday evening.

They set-up more defensively against Declan Bonner’s side and despite some early promise the quality long-range scores eventually dried up as Donegal took control of the contest.

Playing for a third weekend on the trot may have hurt Roscommon’s chances and they now have a two-week break before taking on Dublin at Croke Park with only pride to play for.

7. Kildare (unchanged)

inpho_01401408 Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The All-Ireland semi-finals are also out of reach for Kildare after their second straight Super 8s defeat, this time a 0-19 to 0-16 reversal to Galway.

It was a spirited display from Kildare, who lost Daniel Flynn to a red card on 46 minutes but pushed right up on Galway and forced the issue late on. The Lilywhites hit three unanswered scores to move within a point with five minutes left, but a brace of injury-time scores sealed the win for the Tribesmen.

Kildare were competing on their fifth weekend in succession and now have a week off before they travel to Killarney to face Kerry, with nothing at stake for the Cian O’Neill’s team.

6. Kerry (down two places)

A general view of the Kerry football team Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

David Clifford’s 74th minute goal stole a share of the spoils for Kerry in Clones and kept their season just about alive.

The Kingdom must now beat Kildare in a fortnight’s time in Killarney and hope Galway do the same to Monaghan, while Kerry must also better the Farney’s scoring difference.

Worryingly for Kerry, they’re currently 0-5 behind Monaghan in the scoring stakes, while a draw against the Farney is enough for Galway to top the group.

Brian Kelly is now manning the goals but there are still familiar question marks over the defence while outside of Clifford the Kerry attack has yet to sparkle in the Super 8s.

5. Monaghan (up one place)

Malachy O'Rourke speaks to his team after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Malachy O’Rourke’s side led Kerry for 72 of the 75 minutes but still failed to seal their first appearance at the semi-final stage in 33 years. A draw away to Galway in the final game would be enough to set-up last four clash with Dublin, while victory would pit them against either Tyrone or Donegal.

Conor McManus did his chances of claiming a third All-Star no harm with a brilliant display at the weekend where he posted 1-9. Rory Beggan gave a masterclass with his kick-outs and clipped over four vital frees.

Both men might be the best players in their positions, as is flying wing-back Karl O’Connell who was in brilliant form once again. Monaghan have built a very strong side around their three most important players and they would really fancy their chances of taking down Donegal or Tyrone in the semi-final.

4. Donegal (up one place)

Donegal during the national anthem Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

After beating Kildare and outplaying Kerry, Monaghan will feel aggrieved they’re not higher up in the rankings. But Donegal’s strong showing against Dublin and easy win over Roscommon sees them edge the Farney into fourth.

Michael Murphy gave a tantalising glimpse of the damage he can do at full-forward on Saturday with a nine-point haul, but the Glenswilly man will likely be back around the middle third for the round 3 tie against Tyrone.

Donegal have injury concerns over Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Paddy McGrath but they’ll hope the extra week break will have them back for Tyrone. Both men are key to Bonner’s side, as is Odhrán Mac Niallais who kicked 0-4 against the Rossies.

3. Tyrone (unchanged)

Mickey Harte Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Three of the top four sides in these rankings come from the Group 2. The round 3 meeting between Donegal and Tyrone will determine who advances alongside Dublin into the semi-finals.

The Red Hand saw no repeat of their 2017 All-Ireland semi-final mauling by Dublin at the weekend, but James McCarthy’s goal was enough to edge a tactical battle for the visitors.

Granted, the game was played in the tighter confines of Healy Park, but there was enough evidence in Omagh to suggest that Tyrone will fancy another crack at the Dubs, although they can’t meet again until the final.

2. Galway (unchanged)

Peter Cooke and Barry McHugh celebrate winning Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Galway went about their business in an efficient manner against Kildare in Newbridge and kept their composure to become one of just two teams in the Super 8s with a 100% record.

A draw in the final round robin game against Monaghan would see them top the group and avoid a semi-final against Dublin. The Tribesmen had 13 players on the scoresheet at the weekend and landed 19 points despite wasting a host of scoring chances.

They still look best placed to challenge Dublin’s crown. Kevin Walsh’s side have become a meaner side and boast a fluid counter-attacking system combined with the brilliance of Ian Burke, Damien Comer and Shane Walsh up front.

Right now they look primed to reach a first All-Ireland final since 2001.

1. Dublin (unchanged)

The Dublin team take to the field Source: James Crombie/INPHO

They were sent out of Croke Park for championship football against top quality opposition and Dublin continued their winning run without much fuss. Jim Gavin’s side showed their steel with a confident 1-14 to 0-14 win over Tyrone to assure them of top spot in the group.

It was Dublin’s appetite for work that saw them past Tyrone rather than any swashbuckling attacking play, but there was a marked improvement from their previous game against Donegal.

After a deeply satisfying win over the Red Hand, Dublin will play Roscommon – who are already out – in the final group game. Gavin says he won’t rotate his squad for the meeting in Croke Park for what is Dublin’s official home game of the All-Ireland quarter-final phase.

Dublin remain the team to beat there’s been nothing so far in the Super 8s to suggest otherwise.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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