If, as The Sopranos tells us, 'remember when' is the lowest form of conversation, then its cousin, the dismal practice of prediction. can't be much better.
Not that we're above it here at Balls. Therefore, this writer was tasked with predicting all of the promotions and relegations in the football leagues back when pitches froze beneath chilly air. Now that the league is over, and pitches are, er, still freezing beneath chilly air, let's take a look back at how we got on...
What we got right: We boldly predicted that Dublin would win it out, and we have been rewarded for this outrageous adumbration as the Dubs won their, er, fifth league title in six years.
We also predicted that Kildare and Donegal would be relegated, and we oddly got that right. While Kildare failed to pick up a single point (they have now lost every game they've played since beating Meath in last year's Leinster championship) Donegal can count themselves pretty unfortunate to go down, doing so in spite of a series of impressive performances, meaning we had to rely on Kevin McLoughlin's thirteen steps to safety in the final minute of the competition to prove us right.
What we got wrong: We didn't pick a finalist for Dublin to beat, but we will admit that we would never have picked Galway as their opponents in Croke Park.
What we never saw coming: Tyrone's shredding of Mayo was a curious result, but we are going to plump for Galway's campaign in which they topped Division 1 without conceding a goal. Their championship clash with Mayo on May 13th is an early blockbuster.
What we got right: We can only feel smug about half of Division 2. We correctly predicted that Roscommon would be promoted, and that Louth would barely raise a whimper as they went tumbling to Division 3.
What we got wrong: Our bad calls were spectacularly wide of the mark. We expected a Cavan side that had hemorrhaged players over the winter to suffer consecutive relegations. Instead, they went up, and brought their interesting brand of 'take the goals and the points will come' football to Croke Park. We also predicted Meath would be promoted, which turned out to be wildly wrong, too. They had to rely on a final-day win over Louth to stave off the drop, and if Saturday's games ended at half-time, they would have gone down.
What we never saw coming: Cork requiring their head-to-head record against Down to save themselves from relegation.
What we got right: Armagh and Fermanagh both went up, as predicted. That's where our success ends...
What we got wrong: We predicted Longford and Offaly to drop to Divison 4. Both stayed up, one more comfortably than the other. Longford, having needed a last-minute free in their final game last year to avoid the drop, were denied promotion this year by a last-gasp free at home to Fermanagh, while Offaly recovered from an early trouncing by Longford to beat Westmeath on the final day to cling on to Division 3 status.
What we never saw coming: Derry ending up in Division 4, four years after losing the Division 1 final to the Dubs. It's an astonishing fall from grace that is leading to some uncomfortable introspection in the county. Joe Brolly kicked it off in the Sunday Independent at the weekend, writing that "there may be no London in Derry, but Derry will soon be in London".
What we got right: We thought that Carlow and Laois would be promoted. They were.
What we got wrong: We didn't technically get anything wrong, in the sense that we didn't pick who would finish bottom and therefore be the worst team in the country. We were doomed to get that wrong, as the answer to that question proved inconclusive, as you're about to read...
What we never saw coming: That the Division's full programme of games would not be completed. The weather played havoc with fixtures, and rather than refix games the GAA elected to declare them null and void. This was a unilateral decision that was met with such fury that even the GPA had something to say it.
So while we got plenty of our predictions right, we were sufficiently wide of the mark on the incorrect calls that we can confirm that we still don't know anything.