Tyrone will be looking to get a first win under new management following an opening day defeat to old rivals Donegal.
IT'S straight into Round 2 of the Allianz Football League with 15 games on the busy programme next weekend.
With only four teams in seven groups (three in Division 4 South), there’s no room for error so all Round 1 losers know that they have to win to give themselves any chance of achieving their ambitions for the shortened campaign.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1 SOUTH: CLASH OF ‘BIG TWO’ ON NEUTRAL TERRITORY
Sunday: Dublin v Kerry, Semple Stadium, 1.45pm; Galway v Roscommon, Pearse Stadium, 2pm.
There’s no greater rivalry than Dublin v Kerry, the two most successful counties in football history. Between them, they have 101 All-Ireland and Allianz League titles and are the current holders of both crowns, Dublin clinching the All-Ireland six-in-a-row last December while Kerry won the Division 1 title two months earlier.
This Sunday will stage the 83rd meeting between the counties (31 championship, 52 League) with results as follows: Kerry wins 40; Dublin wins 32; Draws 10. It’s very close in the League: Kerry 23 Dublin 21, Draws 7
Their most recent meeting ended level (1-19 each in Croke Park), with David Clifford grabbing the equaliser deep in stoppage time last year.
Both Dublin and Kerry head for Round 2 full of confidence after big first round wins over Roscommon and Galway respectively last weekend. Kerry had a whopping 22 points to spare over Galway while Dublin beat Roscommon by nine points.
It leaves the Connacht pair under pressure as they prepare for their clash in Pearse Stadium on Sunday. The losers will be in relegation trouble heading for Round 3 where Galway will play Dublin while Roscommon face Kerry.
Galway v Roscommon has been a keenly-fought rivalry over the years too, including recent seasons when they met in Connacht finals in 2016-17-19. They drew in 2016, with Galway winning the replay while Roscommon won in 2017 and 2019. Their last League clash was in 2019 when Galway won by 1-17 to 1-10.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1 NORTH: DONEGAL AND ARMAGH PUT DOWN EARLY MARKERS
Saturday: Donegal v Monaghan, Ballybofey, 5pm; Armagh v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 7pm
Donegal and Armagh got off to a good start in the all-Ulster group, beating Tyrone and Monaghan respectively last weekend. Donegal made it a losing start for Tyrone’s new management team (Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher), who will be looking for a big reaction from their squad.
They face a real test against a rejuvenated Armagh team, who marked their return to Division 1 for the first time since 2012 with a four-point win over Monaghan.
Armagh v Tyrone will be the first League clash between the counties since 2016 when they drew in Division 2. They hadn’t met in the League prior to that since 2003.
Donegal beat Monaghan by 2-12 to 0-8 in last year’s League.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 2 SOUTH: FIRST ROUND WINNERS IN NEWBRIDGE SHOWDOWN
Saturday: Laois v Cork, Portlaoise, 7pm; Sunday: Kildare v Clare, Newbridge, 2pm.
The two first round winners (Clare and Kildare) clash in Newbridge while last weekend’s losers (Laois and Cork) meet in Portlaoise in a game where the losers will have relegation woes heading into Round 3.
Clare beat Kildare by a point in last year’s clash in Ennis while the Lilywhites won in Newbridge (1-16 to 0-13) in 2019 and will be hoping that the home win sequence continues in their favour.
Cork and Laois meet in the League for the first time since 2012 when they were in Division 1. Their last competitive meeting was in the 2019 All-Ireland qualifiers when Cork by 14 points.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 2 NORTH: MAYO MAKE EARLY STATEMENT OF INTENT
Saturday: Westmeath v Mayo, TEG Cusack Park, 3pm; Sunday: Down v Meath, Athletic Grounds, 3.45pm.
Mayo’s 24-year stint in Division 1 ended last year, but on the evidence of their impressive win over Down (2-21 to 1-11) in the first round last weekend, they are intent on making a quick return to the top flight.
They easily overpowered the Mourne men and will be high on confidence when they head for Mullingar to take on Westmeath, who lost by a point to Meath on Sunday.
The last Mayo v Westmeath League game was in 2014 when the westerners won by 2-17 to 3-9 in a Division 1 clash.
Down and Meath last met in the League in 2018 (Division 2) when the Royals won by nine points.
Down have lost home advantage for this game, caused by breaking Covid-10 regulations. Meath, who were relegated with Mayo last year, got their promotion push off to a good start with a one-point win over Westmeath on Sunday.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 3 SOUTH: TIPPERARY’S PROMOTION PLANS HIT BY EARLY SETBACK
Saturday: Offaly v Limerick, Tullamore, 3pm; Tipperary v Wicklow, Semple Stadium, 4.30pm.
Tipperary’s historic success in the Munster championship last year left them favourites to take one of the two promotion places but they suffered a big setback in the opening round last weekend when Limerick, who were promoted from Division 4 last year, beat them by two points.
It was a very encouraging performance by Billy Lee’s side, who turned a two-point interval deficit into a two-point win in the second half.
It leaves Tipperary under big pressure as they prepare for Wicklow’s visit to Semple Stadium for what will be the first League game between the counties since 2014 when Wicklow won by two points in Division 4.
Limerick take on fellow-first round winners, Offaly in a clash where the winners will be well-placed in the promotion drive. It’s the first League clash between the counties since 2016 when Offaly won by six points.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 3 NORTH: DERRY & FERMANAGH SET EARLY PACE
Saturday: Derry v Fermanagh, Owenbeg, 5pm; Cavan v Longford, Breffni Park, 7pm
Fermanagh’s win over Ulster champions Cavan provided one of the big talking points in Round 1, underlining just how unpredictable games between Ulster counties can be.
Fermanagh now head to Owenbeg to take on Derry, who romped past Longford (0-21 to 0-5). It will be the first league clash between the counties since 2017 when Derry won in Division 2 by 2-8 to 0-13.
Cavan and Longford last met in the League in 2014 when Cavan won by two points.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 4 SOUTH: WATERFORD’S PROMOTION AMBITIONS ON THE LINE
Saturday: Wexford v Waterford, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 3pm
Carlow have already secured two points after their easy win over Waterford, who have to win this one to have any chance of staying in the promotion hunt. Wexford , who are having their first outing of the season, beat Waterford by 2-3 to 0-8 in last year’s League.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 4 NORTH: SLIGO & ANTRIM BOOST PROMOTION CHANCES
Sunday: Leitrim v Louth, Carrick-on Shannon, 3pm; Antrim v Sligo, Corrigan Park, 4pm
Last weekend’s winners (Antrim and Sligo) meet in Corrigan Park while the losers (Louth and Leitrim) clash in Carrick-on-Shannon, knowing that only a win will be good enough to keep them in promotion contention.
Leitrim beat Louth by eight points in last year’s League while Sligo beat Antrim by a point.
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE SHORTS
* Of the 15 games played in Round 1, seven were home wins, six away while two were at neutral venues.
* Cavan’s poor run in the opening round of the Allianz League continued when they lost to Fermanagh. It was the seventh year in a row that they failed to win a first round game since beating Fermanagh (Division 3) in 2014. Their record since then reads: 2015: Drew with Roscommon (Div 2); 2016: Lost to Tyrone (Div 2); 2017: Lost to Dublin (Div 1); 2018: Drew with Clare (Div 2); 2019: Lost to Galway (Div 1); 2020: Lost to Armagh (Div1); 2021: Lost to Fermanagh (Div 3).
* Teams promoted at the end of last season had mixed look on opening day. Armagh (Div 1) and Limerick (Div 4) both won but Roscommon (Div 1), Cork and Down (Div 2) and Wicklow (Div 3) all lost.
* Of the six teams relegated last season from the top three divisions, three (Mayo, Meath, Fermanagh) won, while Cavan, Leitrim and Louth lost.
* Top first round scorers:
Div 1: Cormac Costello (Dublin) 1-13 (1-1 pens, 0-8 frees, 0-1 ‘mark); David Clifford (Kerry) 3-6 (0-1 free, 0-1 ‘mark’); Paul Donaghy (Tyrone) 0-10 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘mark).
Div 2: Eoin Cleary (Clare) 0-10 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘mark’); Cillian O’Connor (Mayo) 0-8 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘45’); John Heslin (Westmeath) 0-7 (0-5 frees).
Div 3: Sean Quigley (Fermanagh) 0-9 (0-7 frees); Shane McGuigan (Derry) 0-7 (0-5 frees); Hugh Bourke (Limerick) 0-6 (0-3 frees).
Div 4: Sean Carabine (Sligo) 0-7 (0-5 frees); Keith Byrne (Leitrim) 0-7 (0-3 frees); Niall Murphy (Sligo) 1-43 (0-1 ‘mark’).
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE 2021 – RESULTS AND FIXTURES
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
Round 1: Kerry 4-21 Galway 0-10; Dublin 1-22 Roscommon 0-16
Round 2: May 23: Dublin v Kerry; Galway v Roscommon.
Round 3: May 30: Galway v Dublin; Roscommon v Kerry.
DIVISION 1 NORTH
Round 1: May 15: Donegal 0-18 Tyrone 0-16; Armagh 1-16 Monaghan 1-12.
Round 2: May 22: Donegal v Monaghan; Armagh v Tyrone
Round 3: May 29: Armagh v Donegal; Tyrone v Monaghan.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH
Round 1: Kildare 2-12 Cork 0-14; Clare 1-16 Laois 0-12.
Round 2: May 22: Laois v Cork; May 23: Kildare v Clare
Round 3: May 30: Laois v Kildare; Clare v Cork.
DIVISION 2 NORTH
Round 1: Mayo 2-21 Down 1-11; Meath 0-16 Westmeath 0-15.
Round 2: May 22: Westmeath v Mayo; May 23: Down v Meath.
Round 3: May 30: Mayo v Meath; Westmeath v Down.
DIVISION 3 SOUTH
Round 1: May 15: Limerick 1-13 Tipperary 0-14; Offaly 1-14 Wicklow 1-10.
Round 2: May 22: Offaly v Limerick; Tipperary v Wicklow.
Round 3: May 29: Offaly v Tipperary; Wicklow v Limerick.
DIVISION 3 NORTH
Round 1: Derry 0-21 Longford 0-5; Fermanagh 0-15 Cavan 0-14.
Round 2: May 22: Derry v Fermanagh; Cavan v Longford.
Round 3: May 29: Cavan v Derry; Fermanagh v Longford.
DIVISION 4 NORTH
Round 1: Antrim 1-15 Louth 3-8; Sligo 2-19 Leitrim 0-18
Round 2: May 23: Leitrim v Louth; Antrim v Sligo.
Round 3: May 30: Antrim v Leitrim; Louth v Sligo.
DIVISION 4 SOUTH
Round 1: Carlow 3-16 Waterford 0-10.
Round 2: May 22: Wexford v Waterford
Round 3: May 29: Carlow v Wexford