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5 Matches To Watch Out For In Division 1 Of The National League

5 Matches To Watch Out For In Division 1 Of The National League
By Conor Neville
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Division 1 is jammed fixtures full of sub-plots and revenge missions. Dublin have been kingpins the last two years, but Jim Gavin's side were riddled with bullets last August.

The chances of the All-Ireland winner coming from outside of one of these counties is rather slim. Which of the elite counties is best placed this spring?

Here are five fixtures to look out for Division 1.

Kerry v Mayo (1 February)

There is more history between this pair than there is between Ross and Rachel. The sour taste in Mayo mouths has hardly dissolved since last August - that weekend appears to hold no redeeming features for Mayo people and many have been spitting the name 'Limerick' with an unusual venom ever since.

They have all the motivation in this one, while Kerry have slept through the early rounds of the League in the past two years. Recent history suggests an away win.

Tyrone v Monaghan (1 February)

The fixture makers have grouped the fixtures with the most needle near the start of the campaign. Last year's bad-tempered Ulster championship fixture will surely still be in people's minds as these two clash this weekend. Tyrone have already flexed their muscles this winter during a tempestuous encounter with Armagh.


Hopefully, Willie John McBride's exhortation to 'never take a backward step' will apply to these teams in what should be a feisty encounter.



Dublin v Donegal (7 February)

Expect the word 'revenge' to loom large in tabloid previews that week. Donegal travel to the capital in Round 2 after their proud sacking of the Dubs last August. It was a harrowing day for the Dublin players and supporters.


Since then, Donegal's manager has departed and they have often been sluggish in the League in the McGuinness era - though they did get promoted last year. On the evidence of the O'Byrne Cup, Dublin appear to be motoring well. With their high cruising speed and machine like diligence they are the perfect League team at present.


Kerry v Dublin (28 February)

Inevitable. They meet every year at the time but this year there is more bite. Dublin were hotter favourites in 2014 than any team had been for years but after the sucker punch in the semis, Kerry snuck in and picked up another title in a year they were supposed to be in transition - see Aidan O'Mahony's verdict on that verdict.

Where exactly does the balance of power lie between the two powers of Gaelic football?


Mayo v Dublin (14 March)

The fog foisted Dublin's chances of winning in Castlebar during Pat Gilroy's tenure and in the replayed fixture they were beaten comfortably.

Mayo were upset not to get a cut at Dublin in last year's championship but at least they'll get to see where there at now. With the odd exception of the 2013 All-Ireland final, this fixture between two attacking teams has often been a classic. A crucial indicator as to how the Connelly/Holmes era is shaping up.


See also: 5 Matches To Watch Out For In Division 2 Of The National League

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