Joe Kernan: Armagh All-Ireland legends making mark in management
Two members of the Armagh side that won the 2002 All Ireland Football final were dispensing favours last weekend.
But while Kieran McGeeney did Meath boss Seamus McEnaney a massive turn by plotting Kildare’s victory over gritty Sligo, Justin McNulty was the beneficiary of his own ability when he steered Laois into Division One.
Kildare’s win means that Meath, who drew with Tyrone, will now stay in Division Two much to the relief of McEnaney who had been under huge pressure going into the game against the Red Hands.
Now that his team’s status has been secured for another year at least, McEnaney will be able to focus on getting his injured players back again and preparing his blueprint for the forthcoming Leinster Championship.
McNulty, having transported Laois into Division One, can now look forward to rubbing shoulders with the big guns in the league next year but before then his side, too, will launch a full-frontal assault on the Leinster Championship.
The fact that there is now a month-long break for most teams before the start of the provincial championships will afford team bosses the chance to get injured players back on board and to bolster morale.
While the National League has provided some excellent games and created considerable excitement, there is no doubt that the Championship will see things taken to the next level, certainly in terms of passion and intensity.
Even though the Qualifier route is available to them, all teams will be keen to take the most direct route to possible success.