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Six Winners And Losers From The Weekend's GAA Action

Six Winners And Losers From The Weekend's GAA Action
By PJ Browne
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The final rounds of the group stages of this year's truncated Allianz Football League took place over the weekend as pairings for promotion and relegation games were decided.

We've chosen three winners and three losers from the games.



When Colm Collins took over the Clare footballers in 2014, they were in division four, a spot where they had long resided.

Seven years on - and despite defeat to Cork on Sunday - Clare find themselves on the verge of the top tier. Though, they must defeat a Mayo side looking hell-bent on spending as little time in division two as possible.

Whether they are promoted or not, Clare have made and continue to make progress under Collins.



Just like their Munster rivals Clare, Limerick look to be a side on a slow rise through the divisions. When Billy Lee took over as manager in late 2016, they had already been relegated to the league basement. Last year, they won promotion.

The win over Wicklow on Saturday secured a spot in the division three promotion semi-finals where they will face Derry. It also ensured they will spend at least another season in division three.

Diarmuid O'Connor

23 May 2021; Diarmuid O'Connor of Kerry during the GAA Allianz Football League Division 1 South Round 2 match against Dublin and Kerry at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The young midfielder looks like he will play a major part for Kerry this year as they aim to make amends for last year's disastrous championship.

The Tralee man - who made his championship debut two years ago - came off the bench in Kerry's opening game of the league against Galway, replaced Jack Barry before thrown-in against Dublin, and started the weekend's victory over Roscommon.


O'Connor not only has the athleticism to stick with the best midfielders in the game, he can also turn heads towards their own goal. He scored two points in the draw with Dublin and added three more against Roscommon.



Though Cork won by a point against Clare in Ennis on Sunday, it was ultimately a disappointment for the Rebels who missed out on a playoff semi-final on points difference. Ronan McCarthy's side needed a three-point or greater victory over Clare to give themselves a chance of promotion. At times late in the game, they looked like a side which didn't know that victory alone would not be enough.

Instead, they face a relegation playoff against Westmeath, and another season outside the top flight. 2016 is the last time the Cork footballers played in division one of the National League.


The reigning Munster and Ulster champions

29 May 2021; Raymond Galligan of Cavan speaks to his team-mates after the GAA Football League Division 3 North Round 3 match between Cavan and Derry at Kingspan Breffni in Cavan. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Not only will the 2020 Championship be remembered as an extraordinary one with the final played a week before Christmas amid a pandemic, it will also be thought of as the one which gave us historic provincial victories.

Tipperary won their first Munster football title in 85 years while Cavan claimed their first Ulster title since 1997, just their second in 40 years.


Six months on and both sides find themselves in battles to avoid dropping to the bottom tier of the league. Both lost to resurgent teams on Saturday: Cavan to Derry and Tipperary to Offaly. In the division three relegation playoffs, Cavan will face Wicklow and Tipp will play Longford.

Kildare's home advantage

In a sport where teams seek to eke out every tiny advantage they can grab (dummy teams!), it was curious to hear Kildare manager Jack O'Connor disclose on Sunday that St Conleth's Park in Newbridge - their home ground - doesn't suit his team.

Portlaoise, where Kildare played against Laois this weekend, certainly was to their liking as their put 2-18 on the scoreboard.

For their unexpected promotion semi-final against Meath, Kildare won the toss for the venue and can play at home. Given O'Connor's admission, it will be curious to see if the game is played in Newbridge.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: 'The Integrity Of The Competition Is In Question' - McConville Criticises League Structure

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