2020 Allianz Football League permutations
By John Harrington
There’s a lot to play in the final round of Allianz Football League matches across all four divisions this weekend.
It’s worth remembering that because of the constriction of the playing calendar by the Covid-19 pandemic that there will be no League Finals this year.
Instead the top team in each division after the final round of matches this weekend will be crowned champions of their respective divisions.
In a scenario whereby two teams vying for promotion or battling to avoid relegation are level on points, here is how a tie-break is determined.
- The team that won the head-to-head match is ranked first
- If this game was a draw, scoring difference is used to rank the teams
- If scoring difference is identical, the total scores is used to rank the teams
- If this is still identical, a play-off is required
If three or more teams are level on points, then the head to head rule no longer applies and scoring difference is used to rank the teams.
Saturday October 24
Kerry v Donegal, Austin Stack Park, 2pm - eir Sport1
Sunday October 25
Galway v Dublin, Pearse Stadium, 2pm -TG4
Mayo v Tyrone, Castlebar, 2pm - Deferred coverage on TG4/Live on TG4 Player
Monaghan v Meath, Clones, 2pm - Deferred coverage on TG4
Kerry are currently top of Division 1 and will be crowned league champions if they defeat Donegal on Saturday afternoon in Austin Stack Park.
If Donegal win this match, then they could be crowned champions were Dublin and Galway to draw their match on Sunday. In that scenario, Donegal, Dublin, Galway and Donegal would all finish on nine points each, but Donegal’s superior scoring difference would see them top the Division.
If the Kerry-Donegal match ends in a draw or Donegal win, then that Galway-Dublin match will be decisive with a win for either team more than likely ensuring they are crowned champions.
The only scenario that would preclude this outcome would be if Kerry were to draw with Donegal and Galway to defeat Dublin. That would see Kerry and Galway both finish on 10 points each, but Kerry would be top of the Division on the head to head record having defeated Galway in Round 2.
Were Dublin to defeat Galway and Kerry to draw with Donegal then Dublin and Kerry would finish on ten points but Dublin would be crowned champions. Both teams drew in Round 1 so scoring difference would come into play, and Dublin’s is superior.
At the other end of the table Meath are already relegated, while Mayo, Monaghan, Tyrone are fighting to also avoid the drop.
Mayo currently occupy the second relegation spot but if they defeat Tyrone on Sunday they’ll be safe. If Tyrone lose that match they’ll be relegated if Monaghan defeat or draw with Meath.
If Mayo draw with Tyrone and Monaghan draw with Meath, then Mayo will be relegated on the head to head rule having lost to Monaghan in Round 4. Mayo will also be relegated if Tyrone defeat Mayo and Meath defeat Monaghan.
Saturday October 24
Cavan v Roscommon, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm_ - TG4_
Clare v Armagh, Cusack Park, 2pm
Kildare v Westmeath, Newbridge, 2pm
Fermanagh v Laois, Brewster Park, 2pm
Table-toppers Roscommon are guaranteed to be crowned Division 2 champions and secure promotion if they draw with or defeat Cavan.
Even if they lose that match, it’s likely they will still be champions and promoted. The only scenario that precludes that outcome would be if Armagh defeated Clare, Westmeath defeated Kildare and Roscommon lost to Cavan.
In that scenario, Armagh, Roscommon, and Westmeath would all finish on nine points each and would need to be separated by scoring difference.
Armagh’s superior scoring difference would see them top the table, while Roscommon would most likely finish second as currently their scoring difference is 21 points better than Westmeath’s.
If Roscommon finish level on nine points along with just one of either Armagh or Westmeath then they will be Division Two champions as they have previously defeated both teams so would rank higher on the head to head.
If Armagh and Westmeath draw their matches and Cavan defeat Roscommon, then Armagh, Westmeath, and Cavan will be tied on eight points but Armagh’s greater scoring difference would see them crowned champions and promoted with Roscommon.
There are a myriad of other possibilities too because Kildare, Cavan, and Clare (all on six points) also still have a shot at promotion. Were all three to win their matches, then the team with the best scoring difference would be promoted. Currently that’s Kildare (+2), but Cavan (-2) and Clare (-4) aren’t too far behind them.
If Clare and Kildare both win on Saturday but Cavan lose, then Clare will be promoted to Division 1 on the head to head rule as they defeated Kildare in Round 2.
It’s a testament to how tight things are in Division two that Kildare, Cavan, and Clare are also in a battle to avoid being relegated along with Fermanagh who are already consigned to the drop.
Laois currently occupy that other relegation spot but will fancy their chances of surviving if they can beat Fermanagh on Saturday. That would guarantee their safety if even one of Kildare, Cavan, or Clare lose their match.
In a division of fine margins, don't be surprised if relegation is decided by an injury-time score.
Sunday October 25
Louth v Down, Drogheda, 2pm
Leitrim v Tipperary, Carrick-on-Shannon, 2pm
Offaly v Derry, Tullamore, 2pm
Cork have already been crowned champions and are promoted along with Down.
Relegation is still a live issue though with Leitrim and Tipperary all hoping to avoid the drop along with Louth who are already relegated.
The fact that both of them play each other on Sunday means the match is akin to a relegation play-off. If Tipperary win or draw it, then they are safe and Leitrim are relegated.
After that, things become a little bit more complicated.
You could have a situation where Leitrim, Tipperary and Offaly all finish on five points each if Leitrim defeat Tipperary and Offaly lose to Derry, but that will not drag Offaly into the relegation picture.
A motion passed at Congress earlier this year means that in the event that two teams or more finish with equal points, but have been affected by a disqualification, loss of game on a proven objection, retirement or walk over, the tie shall be decided by score difference from the games in which only the teams involved who are tied on points have played one another.
The walkover that Leitrim handed to Down means that rule comes into effect in this scenario, and because it won't be possible for both Leitrim and Tipperary to overtake Offaly's scoring difference in their 'mini-league' of three, the Faithful County are safe from relegation.
But if Offaly do lose to Derry and Leitrim defeat Tipperary, then scoring difference from the games contested between the three teams will come ito play and simply beating Tipperary by any margin won't be good enough for Leitrim because the head to head rule no longer applies.
For Leitrim to avoid relegation, they would have to beat Tipperary by a margin of six points or more were Offaly to lose to Derry
If Offaly draw with or defeat Derry, then a win of any kind for Leitrim over Tipperary is enough for them to stay up on the head to head rule.
Saturday October 24
Antrim v Waterford, Geraldines club grounds, Dundalk, 2pm
Sligo v Limerick, Markievicz Park, 2pm
Wexford v Wicklow, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 2pm
There are a wide range of possibilities in Division 4 where five counties – Wicklow, Wexford, Limerick, Antrim, and Sligo still have a chance to win promotion.
Carlow currently have more points on the board than Antrim and Sligo, but they’re out of the running because they have played all their matches and scoring difference will go against them even if the second-placed team doesn’t have more than eight points on the board.
Wicklow and Wexford currently occupy the two promotion spots so their match on Saturday is pivotal.
A win for either will guarantee promotion while a draw would also be good enough for Wicklow thanks to their impressive scoring difference of +36.
Wexford have the next best scoring difference in the division with +19, which could stand to them if Wicklow are crowned champions and they are one of three or more teams that finish behind the Garden County on the same points.
Limerick will be promoted regardless of any other results if they defeat Sligo. A draw would also be good enough for them if the Wexford-Wicklow match produces a winner and Antrim fail to beat Waterford.
The scenario that sees Antrim promoted would be if they defeated Waterford, there’s a win for either Wexford or Wicklow, and Limerick either lose to or draw with Sligo.
The odds are long against a Sligo, but if they defeat Limerick by a good margin, Wicklow defeat Wexford by a good margin, and Antrim can do no better than draw with Waterford, then the Connacht side can still get promoted because their decent scoring difference gives them a chance if three or more teams finish behind the Division 4 champions on the same points.