WE take a look at how all nine Ulster counties sit ahead of the remaining two rounds of games…
Armagh (Division One)
ARMAGH’S league campaign is delicately poised with two rounds of fixtures remaining. Sitting fourth in Division One, they aren’t quite out of the woods just yet, but on the other hand, they still have a shout of reaching the league final with two games remaining. That trip to Omagh on the final day (Sunday, March 26) certainly stands out as potentially a massive clash with potential repercussions for both teams.
Remaining fixtures: Galway (H) Tyrone (A)
Tyrone (Division One)
BEFORE Sunday’s morale-boosting victory over Kerry, Tyrone were dead last in Division One. Now they’re sixth in the table – better, but it’s likely that they’ll need to pick up at least one victory from their final matches. The Red Hands generally do enough to stay up – they claimed a brilliant victory against Kerry in Killarney on the last day of the league last year, and it would be a big enough blow to the 2021 All-Ireland champions if they end up being relegated.
Remaining fixtures: Monaghan (A) Armagh (H)
Monaghan (Division One)
A SIX-POINT defeat to Galway last Sunday means that Monaghan have well and truly been dragged into a relegation battle. Second-from-last in Division One, they have tough clashes against Tyrone and table-toppers Mayo awaiting in the final rounds. They won’t lose hope though, even if they lose out to Tyrone in Clones – they have a brilliant track record of finding a way to maintain their cherished Division One status.
Remaining fixtures: Tyrone (A) Mayo (H)
Donegal (Division One)
AS things stand, Donegal are in significant danger of dropping into Division Two. They have three points to their name after five fixtures in the first year of Paddy Carr’s tenure, but relegation is by no means a fait accompli as there are only three teams in the division who have already accrued six points, which is generally enough to stay up. In their final games they will take on Mayo and Roscommon, but it may take two victories to stay up.
Remaining fixtures: Mayo (H) Roscommon (A)
Derry (Division Two)
ALONGSIDE Cavan, Derry are one of only two teams in the country to have a perfect winning record after five rounds of league fixtures. Saturday’s hard-fought victory over Dublin was massive for Rory Gallagher’s charges, and they’re virtually guaranteed of promotion to the top flight. Awaiting them in their final two fixtures are Clare (who are struggling) and Cork, who are playing well at present.
Remaining fixtures: Clare (H) Cork (A)
Cavan (Division Three)
DIVISION Three has been a pretty straightforward affair for the Breffni County, who have won all five of their matches to date. Not only that, but most of their victories have been fairly comfortable in manner. So it looks like they’re heading for back-to-back promotions ahead of their remaining matches against Antrim and Fermanagh.
Remaining matches: Antrim (A) Fermanagh (H)
Fermanagh (Division Three)
THE Erne County have picked up a head of steam with some big victories in recent weeks, including a dramatic victory over the Mourne County in round three. So they’re second in the table with only two matches to go, but they’re big ones – they face Westmeath, also in the promotion hunt, in a week’s time, before travelling to Kingspan Breffni to face Cavan on the last day.
Remaining fixtures: Westmeath (H) Cavan (A)
Down (Division Three)
AFTER a flying start, defeats to Fermanagh and Cavan have threatened to derail Down’s league campaign. But with six points to their name, they can still feasibly achieve promotion if they win their final two fixtures. They’re perfectly winnable games – Longford have had a torrid time of it, failing to win a single game, while Offaly, like Down, also have six points to their name.
Remaining fixtures: Longford (H) Offaly (A)
Antrim (Division Three)
WHILE Antrim aren’t in deep trouble just yet, it looks like their league campaign could hinge on a final day clash against Longford. Their penultimate match is against high-flying Cavan, so it’s hard to see them getting anything out of that one. They only have one victory from their five matches to date but Tipperary and Longford are also in peril.
Remaining fixtures: Cavan (H) Longford (A)