2023 Allianz Football League permutations
By John Harrington
There’s a lot to be decided this weekend in the final round of Allianz Football League group matches.
It’s worth remembering that when teams finish with equal points for qualification for the concluding stages, or for promotion or relegation, the tie shall be decided by the following means and in the order specified:
(i) Where two Teams only are involved - the outcome of the meeting of the two Teams in the previous game in the Competition;
(ii) Where three or more teams are involved - scoring Difference (subtracting the total Scores Against from total Scores For);
(iii) Highest Total Score For;
(iv) Highest Total Goals For;
(iv) A Play-Off
The full Allianz League tables with scoring differences included can be downloaded at the bottom of this article and also found at the following link - https://www.gaa.ie/fixtures-results/tables.
This year’s Allianz Football League carries added significance because it impacts what teams can participate in the newly restructured All-Ireland SFC.
Ultimately the 16 counties that will compete in Round One the All-Ireland series are to be seeded in the following way:
First seeds: The four provincial champions
Second seeds: The four provincial runners-up
Third seeds: The next four highest ranked teams at the conclusion of the league
Fourth seeds: The next four highest ranked teams at the conclusion of the league
There is one exception - the previous year's Tailteann Cup winner (Westmeath, 2022) if not already qualified as one of the teams will be eligible instead of the lowest ranked fourth seeded team following the conclusion of the Allianz Football League.
It must be noted that a league final winner will be considered a higher seed than the team they defeated in the final.
The remaining 16 teams, who don't advance to the All-Ireland SFC, will compete in the Tailteann Cup. New York will enter the Tailteann Cup at the preliminary quarter-final stage.
This weekend’s matches
Galway v Kerry, Pearse Stadium, 1.45pm
Roscommon v Donegal, Dr Hyde Park, 1.45pm
Tyrone v Armagh, O'Neill's Healy Park, 1.45pm
Mayo v Monaghan, Hastings MacHale Park, 1.45pm
Mayo have already qualified for the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final with 10 points from their six matches played.
Galway on eight points are currently best placed to join them there and a draw against Kerry will suffice to secure their berth.
Kerry, Roscommon, and Tyrone, all on six points each, are also still in the running going into the final round of fixtures.
If Kerry defeat Galway and neither Roscommon nor Tyrone win their final round matches against Donegal and Armagh respectively then Kerry will join Mayo in the Final.
In a scenario where Kerry defeat Galway and one or both of Roscommon and Tyrone win their matches, then scoring difference will decide who progresses to the League Final.
Galway’s scoring difference (+10) is currently the best of the bunch with Kerry on +4, and both Roscommon and Tyrone on +1. That advantage would obviously be eaten away by the margin of a hypothetical Kerry victory, though, so every score could count on Sunday for the four teams in the hunt for a League final place.
Such are the fine margins in Division 1 that, mathematically, any two of six teams – Donegal, Monaghan, Armagh, Tyrone, Roscommon, and Kerry - could still be relegated.
Bottom of the table Donegal would need to pull of a miraculous escape to avoid disappearing through the trap-door. Not only would they have to beat Roscommon and hope Tyrone do them a favour against Armagh, they’d also have to make up the 28 points scoring difference that currently exists between them and Armagh.
Monaghan are currently bottom and need to defeat Mayo. If they manage that and Tyrone beat Armagh, then Monaghan survive and Armagh are relegated.
That’s not the only route to survival for Monaghan, but it’s the most likely one as their scoring difference (-16) means they’re currently at a big disadvantage compared to the other teams they could finish on six points with – Tyrone (+1), Roscommon (+1), and Kerry (+1).
This weekend’s matches
Clare v Limerick, Cusack Park, 2pm
Cork v Derry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2pm
Dublin v Louth, Croke Park, 2pm
Kildare v Meath, St Conleth's Park, Newbridge 2pm
Derry have already qualified for the Allianz Football League Division 2 Final with a perfect record so far of six wins from six.
Dublin’s match against Louth will effectively decide which team joins them there. A draw will suffice for Dublin, but only a win will do for Louth.
If the Wee County manage that they’ll finish level on 10 points with the Dubs but finish above them on the Head to Head rule.
Limerick and Clare are already doomed to relegation to Division 3. Clare could finish level on four points with Kildare if they beat Limerick and Kildare lose to Meath, but because Kildare defeated the Banner County in Round 3 they would finish above them on the Head to Head rule.
The meeting of Kildare and Meath might ultimately have far-reaching consequences for the championship picture. Depending on how the provincial campaigns go, finishing 14th in the League might not be enough to guarantee participation in the All-Ireland SFC.
A draw will suffice for Meath to finish above the Lilywhites, whereas Kildare need to win to climb above the Royals in the Division 2 table.
This weekend’s matches
Cavan v Fermanagh, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm
Longford v Antrim, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm
Offaly v Down, Bord na Mona O’Connor Park, 2pm
Westmeath v Tipperary, 2pm
Cavan and Fermanagh currently occupy the top two spots in Division 3 on 10 points each and play one another this weekend.
A draw would ensure they are both promoted and play one another again in the Division 3 Final, as would a win for Fermanagh.
Cavan are guaranteed of promotion even if they lose to Fermanagh and finish level on 10 points with either Down or Offaly who are both currently on eight points and play each other this weekend.
The Breffni County would finish above both of them on head to head rule because they’ve already beaten them in the earlier rounds.
Down can’t be promoted because they’ve lost to both Cavan and Fermanagh but Offaly are still in the promotion picture.
If they defeat Down and Cavan defeat Fermanagh, then Offaly will finish level on points with Fermanagh but climb above them into second place on the table on the head to head rule because they defeated them in Round 2.
At the other end of the table both Tipperary and Longford are already resigned to relegation to Division 4.
This weekend’s matches
Leitrim v Sligo, Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, 1pm
London v Laois, McGovern Park, 1pm
Waterford v Wicklow, Fraher Field, 1pm
Wexford v Carlow, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 1pm
We’re set for a dramatic final round in Division 4 where five teams are still in the promotion picture.
Sligo are currently top on 10 points, Leitrim, Laois, and Wicklow are on eight points, and Wexford on six points are still in with a mathematical chance too of finishing in the top two.
If Sligo draw with or defeat Leitrim then they’re guaranteed to go up. But if they lose they could be squeezed out of the promotion picture on scoring difference if Laois defeat London because currently their scoring difference is only two points better than that of Laois.
So if Laois beat London by more than a point and Leitrim defeat Laois, then Leitrim and Laois are promoted as long as Wicklow don't defeat Wateroford by a huge margin.
If Sligo defeat or draw with Leitrim, Laois defeat London, and Wicklow defeat Waterford then Sligo and Wicklow will be promoted. That’s because Wicklow have already defeated Laois so would finish above them on the head to head rule.
If Leitrim defeat Sligo, Laois defeat London, and Wicklow defeat Waterford, then more than likely Leitrim and Laois will be promoted because Wicklow's scoring difference is so relatively inferior. Currently their's is +6, while Leitrim are on +29 and Laois are on +24.
Wexford’s chances of promotion are very slim. They need to beat Carlow and hope that Sligo beat Leitrim, Wicklow lose to Waterford, and Laois lose to London.
That would leave them on eight points along with Leitrim, Laois, and Wicklow, but still with a mountain to overcome in terms of scoring difference as the Slaneysiders are currently on +2.