The clash of Dublin and Monaghan will be pivotal in terms of the relegation battle in Division 1.
The clash of Dublin and Monaghan will be pivotal in terms of the relegation battle in Division 1. 

Preview: Weekend's Allianz Football League action


ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Donegal v Armagh, Letterkenny, 1.45pm

Kerry v Tyrone, Fitzgerald Stadium, 1.45pm

Mayo v Kildare, Avant Money Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 1.45pm

Monaghan v Dublin, Clones, 1.45pm - TG4

Every match in Division 1 this weekend is a meaningful one with five teams (Mayo, Armagh, Kildare, Donegal, and Tyrone) still in with a chance of joining Kerry in the Final, and five (Kildare, Donegal, Tyrone, Dublin, and Monaghan) still in danger of being relegated.

There are many permutations in terms of that race for the second spot in the table, but the simplest of them all is that Mayo will qualify for the Final if they beat Kildare.

Mayo have made three changes to the team beaten last weekend by Tyrone with Padraig O’Hora replacing Donnacha McHugh in the Mayo full-back line, Conor Loftus coming in for the injured Fionn McDonagh at wing-forward, and Jack Carney starting at centre-forward in place of Paul Towey.

Such are the fine margins in Division 1 that a win for Kildare, Donegal, or Tyrone, all on five points, could secure a spot in the League Final depending on how other results go, but defeat could result in relegation.

Kildare are best placed of the three as they have a scoring difference of +1, whereas Donegal’s is -9 and Tyrone’s is -12.

Mayo (+6) and Armagh (+11) are together on seven points each and have even healthier scoring differences so it’s still conceivable for one of them to qualify for the League Final even if they lose their match this weekend and end up as one of three or more teams on seven points.

Monaghan and Dublin currently occupy the two relegation places on four points each so their meeting in Clones could well be decisive.

There’s a good chance a win for either would see them retain their Division 1 status, but even that’s not guaranteed. If Kildare, Donegal, and Tyrone all win their matches, then both Monaghan and Dublin will be relegated regardless of their result.

Such are the mathematical vagaries in the Division, that both Dublin and Monaghan could survive if they draw their match and at least two out of Tyrone, Donegal, and Kildare lose theirs.

Scoring difference could well be crucial in the final reckoning, so every point scored and conceded will be vital.

Roscommon can clinch a place in the Division Two Final by beating Galway on Sunday. 
Roscommon can clinch a place in the Division Two Final by beating Galway on Sunday. 

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 2

Down v Clare, Pairc Esler, 2pm

Meath v Derry, Pairc Tailteann, 2pm

Offaly v Cork, Bord na Mona O'Connor Park, 2pm

Roscommon v Galway, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm

Two teams, Roscommon and Derry, are vying to join Galway in the Allianz Football League Division 2 Final.

Roscommon are currently in second place on 10 points while Derry are third place on nine points.

That being the case, Roscommon will be guaranteed promotion and a place in the Division 2 Final if they can beat Galway on Sunday. Galway are the form team in the division with six wins from six, but Roscommon are also undefeated with four wins and two draws, so it should be a serious match.

Derry are playing a Meath team who can’t be promoted or relegated, so will hope that the Royals aren’t as motivated as they would be were something at stake.

In the event that both Roscommon and Derry finish on 10 points each (by Derry drawing and Roscommon losing this weekend), then the head to head rule won’t apply as they drew their match in Round 5.

Scoring difference would be used to separate them and currently Roscommon’s is a little bit healthier on +31 compared to Derry’s +26.

At the other end of the table, the match between Cork and Offaly will almost certainly decide who drops down to Division 3 along with Down.

A win for either will ensure their own survival while a loss is guaranteed relegation.

There’s a very slight mathematical chance Clare could be relegated, but it’s a highly unlikely scenario.

If they lose to Down and Cork and Offaly draw, then Clare, Cork, and Offaly will all finish on four points each and will be separated by scoring difference.

That shouldn’t be a worry for Clare though as they’re currently in much ruder health in this regards on -7, whereas Cork are on -27 and Offaly are on -34.

Louth will hope the in-form Sam Mulroy can kick them to promotion with a win over Wicklow. 
Louth will hope the in-form Sam Mulroy can kick them to promotion with a win over Wicklow. 

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 3

Antrim v Westmeath, Corrigan Park, 2pm

Laois v Longford, MW Hire O'Moore Park, 2pm

Limerick v Fermanagh, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 2pm

Wicklow v Louth, Aughrim, 2pm

Division 3 is extremely tight with every team having something to play for this weekend.

Louth are currently the table-toppers on nine points and are guaranteed promotion and a place in the League Final if they draw with or defeat Wicklow.

Limerick are in second-place on eight points and they too can clinch promotion with a Round 7 win over Fermanagh.

If either Louth or Limerick don’t win though, then Antrim and Westmeath, currently third and fourth with seven points each, are in a position to take advantage.

They play one another on Sunday, so a win for either could be enough to clinch promotion if other results go their way.

There’s a possible scenario of four teams – Limerick, Antrim, Westmeath, and Fermanagh – all finishing on eight points if Fermanagh beat Limerick and Antrim draw with Westmeath.

Scoring difference would be needed to separate them and currently the hierarchy there is as follows: Antrim +17, Westmeath +11, Limerick +8, and Fermanagh 0. Advantage Antrim in that scenario so, unless Fermanagh somehow manage to defeat Limerick by 18 points.

At the other end of the table, Longford and Wicklow currently occupy the relegation places on three points each, but Laois on five points aren’t safe either.

Were Longford to beat Laois and Wicklow fail to beat Louth, then Laois and Wicklow are relegated because Longford will finish above Laois on the head to head rule.

If Laois beat Longford, then Longford and Wicklow are relegated regardless of how Wicklow do against Louth.

If Longford beat Laois and Wicklow beat Louth, then all three teams will finish on five points each and will need to be separated by scoring difference. That almost certainly means Laois would be the team to stay up because their scoring difference of +4 is currently so much better than Longford’s -21 and Wicklow’s -26.

Tipperary can clinch promotion to Division 3 with a victory on Saturday evening over London. 
Tipperary can clinch promotion to Division 3 with a victory on Saturday evening over London. 

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 4

Saturday, March 26

Tipperary v London, FBD Semple Stadium, 7pm

Cavan v Waterford, Kingspan Breffni, 6pm

Carlow v Wexford, Netwatch Cullen Park, 1pm

Sunday, March 27

Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 1pm

Cavan on 10 points and Tipperary on nine points currently occupy the two promotion spots. Sligo and Leitrim, both on eight points, also go into the final round of fixtures with a chance of breaking into the top two.

The picture will be become clearer by Saturday evening with Tipperary hosting London and Cavan hosting Waterford.

A win for Tipperary and a win or draw for Cavan would ensure promotion and a place in the Division 4 Final for both.

Sligo and Leitrim play each other on Sunday and a win for either could see them promoted, but only if other results in the Cavan v Waterford and Tipperary v London games go their way.

If Tipperary are defeated by London, then a draw would be good enough for Sligo to be promoted because if they finish level on nine points with Tipperary and Leitrim their superior scoring difference will see them finish second.

The Head to Head could also come into the picture if two teams finish in second place on 10 points in the event of a Tipperary draw with London and a win for either Sligo or Leitrim.

A draw between Tipperary and London and a win for Sligo would see Tipp promoted. Whereas a draw between Tipperary and London and a win for Leitrim would see Leitrim promoted as Leitrim have previously defeated Tipperary whereas Tipperary have previously defeated Sligo.

The one unlikely scenario that would see Cavan miss out on promotion would be if they lost to Waterford by 16 points, Tipperary drew with Sligo and either Sligo or Leitrim won.