Previewing the last round of league games as Cork enjoy a weekend off

Previewing the last round of league games as Cork enjoy a weekend off

Cork's Paul Walsh breaks from Louth's Emmet Carolan during the Allianz Football League Division 3 tie at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK footballers never realised Longford had their best interests at heart, when conceding Sunday’s final Division 3 tie in their own back-yard.

They didn’t want Ronan McCarthy’s charges to go through with the bother of travelling tomorrow, overnighting in Johnstown Castle in Enfield, Meath, where Cork had 40 rooms booked, and then heading home on Sunday.

Why incur all the expense and expose themselves to the threat of contracting Covid-19 for a game Cork were going to win anyway?

It doesn’t say much for the confidence Longford have in their players with such a defeatist attitude, a week out from their Leinster championship tie with Louth.

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Cork manager Ronan McCarthy. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Compare Longford’s approach to Donegal, who travel to Kerry.

Either way, Down are set to move up a level along with champions Cork as they pop down the road to Drogheda needing just a point against relegated Louth.

Leitrim, who conceded a walk-over to Down last week in much different circumstances, must defeat Tipperary in Carrick-on-Shannon to avoid division 4 next year.

Kerry will be crowned Division 1 champions if they prevail against Donegal in Tralee tomorrow at 2pm.

The Ulster county could still sneak the title, but you suspect there’s only one game on their minds, the Ulster championship tie with Tyrone the following weekend.

You’d wonder accordingly about the strength of the visiting team, who, if they managed to triumph and Dublin and Galway drew, Donegal would claim the title.

Kerry sit top of the table with nine points one more than the Dubs and Galway with Donegal on seven.

At the other end, one from Tyrone, Mayo and Monaghan will accompany Meath to division 2 next season.

Just one point separates Tyrone on six from the other pair on five and the Ulster side must travel to cock-a-hoop Mayo on Sunday.

Whoever wins survives though a draw will suffice for Mickey Harte’s men while Monaghan will fancy their chances at home to Meath.

Division 2 is a nightmare to predict because there are half-a-dozen clubs in the promotion frame.

Roscommon lead the way on nine and look poised to grab one of the slots, but only one point separates five counties below them.

Armagh and Westmeath have seven points with Kildare, Clare and Laois on six apiece.

The only certainty at the moment is that Fermanagh, who lost to Clare with a weakened team last week, are relegated with Laois, on five points, most likely to join them in division 3 in 2021.

The Rossies were boosted by a smashing win over Armagh a week ago and need only a draw away to Cavan to earn promotion to the top tier.

Even a low-scoring defeat might be enough because should Armagh and Westmeath overcome Clare and Kildare respectively, Roscommon’s scoring difference should still be in their favour.

The Armagh-Westmeath game ended level at the start of the year, but the Ulster side have a much better scoring difference if they finished tied on nine points.

Division 4 is also full of possibilities as only two points separate Wicklow, Wexford and Limerick on top with eight from Antrim on seven and Carlow and Sligo on six apiece. Waterford, like Longford, have conceded their last game.

The Shannonsiders head for Sligo, knowing victory would secure Division 3 football next season, as will the winners of the game between Wicklow and Wexford.

FIXTURES:

TOMORROW

NFL Division 1: Kerry v Donegal, Tralee.

Division 2. Kildare v Westmeath, Newbridge; Cavan v Roscommon, Cavan; Clare v Armagh, Ennis; Fermanagh v Laois, Brewster Park.

Division 4: Sligo v Limerick, Markievicz Park; Wexford v Wicklow, Wexford.

Leinster SHC: Laois v Dublin, Croke Park, 6pm.

Christy Ring Cup: Offaly v Kildare, Tullamore, 1pm.

All-Ireland U20 football final: Galway v Dublin, Portlaoise, 4pm.

SUNDAY

NFL Division 1: Monaghan v Meath, Clones; Mayo v Tyrone, Castlebar; Galway v Dublin, Pearse Stadium.

Division 3: Offaly v Derry, Tullamore; Leitrim v Tipperary, Carrick-on-Shannon; Louth v Down, Drogheda.

Joe McDonagh Cup: Kerry v Meath, Tralee, 1pm; Antrim v Westmeath, Belfast, 2pm.

Munster SHC: Limerick v Clare, Thurles, 3.45.

Christy Ring Cup: Roscommon v Wicklow, 1.30; Derry v Sligo, 2pm. All 2pm unless stated.

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