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Predicting The Promotions And Relegations In The 2018 Allianz Football Leagues

Predicting The Promotions And Relegations In The 2018 Allianz Football Leagues
By Gavin Cooney Updated

The Allianz Leagues begin this weekend, so it's about time Balls gives you, dear reader, some ammunition to back up your claims that we know absolutely nothing. Therefore, here are our predictions as to who will be promoted and relegated from the relevant divisions this year.

Come the end of the leagues in March, feel free to tweet these screenshots to @gcooney93 to remind him of how badly he got it wrong.

Or. ideally, tweet @ballsdotie to ensure his bosses see it.

Division One

Champions - Dublin

Relegated - Donegal, Kildare 

We expect Dublin to recapture the crown they lost to Kerry in that frenzied final last April. As for who will slip to Division Two: Donegal did well to stave off the drop last year with an inexperienced team, but then failed to catch fire in the championship. In spite of the return of Leo McLoone and Odhran McNeillis, the bedding-in period under Declan Bonner and the memories of last year's tailing-off in the summer means that the league may garner lightly less intensity than last year for Donegal, particularly if the opening trips to Kerry and Dublin fail to yield points.

Kildare's Moorefield contingent unavailable for the time being, a depletion Cian O'Neill could have done without which will exacerbate a lack of depth. It makes a big step up for such a young team.

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Division Two

Promoted - Roscommon, Meath

Relegated - Cavan, Louth

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Roscommon have been operating at a much higher level than anyone else in this division for the last couple of years, and have managed to hold together the nucleus of the young team who came closer than anyone to breaking the quadropoly of the All-Ireland semi-finals. Last year's relegation owed much to their shifting focus to the championship, so we're expecting Kevin McStay's side to be among the elite in 2019.

We think they'll be joined by Meath, who need to show some real signs of progress in their second year under Andy McEntee.

At the other end, Cavan may be set for successive relegations: they've hemorrhaged players over the winter,  testing even the relentless positivity of Mattie McGleenan. The indefatigable Pete McGrath, meanwhile, has taken a job outside of Ulster for the first time. The league may come too soon, however, to steer Louth away from an immediate return to Division 3.

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Division Three 

Promoted - Armagh, Fermanagh

Relegated - Longford, Offaly 

This is surely the year Armagh will escape Division 3, having been denied promotion last year by a late, late Michael Quinlivan goal. After exacting revenge over Tipperary in a fine championship run to Croke Park, expect Armagh to top the group. Elsewhere, we are backing Rory Gallagher's Fermanagh to spring a surprise and edge out Derry for the second promotional spot. They have four home games, while Derry may be deprived their Slaughtneil crew.

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At the other end, Longford needed a free in the 77th minute of their final league game against Antrim last year to beat the drop, but that dalliance with the drop may portend a fall this year. Their perennial opponents in the Leinster Championship, Offaly, may join them.

Division Four 

Promoted - Carlow, Laois

Defeat to London cost Carlow promotion last year, the only blemish on a memorable 2017. Expect them to correct that this year. Laois' decline can only go so far, and under new manager John Sugrue with Donie Kingston potentially rejuvenated from a winter spent playing basketball, they might nudge out Antrim and earn immediate promotion back to Division Three.

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See Also: 11 Years Sharing A Car, 4 Years Sharing A Room - It's A Year Of Change For The Cavanaghs

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