Ulster sides all set for league clean sweep
There is now the distinct possibility that Ulster teams could come out on top in each of the four Divisional finals in the National Football League.
Derry have already set up a repeat of last year’s Division One decider against Kerry following their 0-14 to 0-10 win over Donegal yesterday and while manager Damian Cassidy had not initially been enthused about the prospect of retaining the league crown — building a successful Championship side is his prime goal — he is now focussed on ensuring the Oak Leaf county keep custody of the second most important trophy on offer.
Donegal and Westmeath make the drop from Division One into Division Two — a setback for both sides, of course, particularly the north-west county in what is John Joe Doherty’s first season in charge.
If the Kerry v Derry match holds rich promise, then the Monaghan v Cork showdown for the Division Two prize could also prove extra-special.
Both sides will play in Division One next term and with Seamus McEnaney’s side having put one over the Leesiders a fortnight ago, revenge will be in the air on Sunday week.
McEnaney is euphoric his side will join the elite and he’s already looking forward to that first round Ulster Championship match against Derry.
Exiting Division Two are Fermanagh and Wexford who ended up all square when they met yesterday.
Down have eventually had their passport stamped from Division Three and will ply their trade in Division Two next year. They will meet rejuvenated Tipperary in the Divisional final with Mourne boss Ross Carr glad of an extra game prior to the Ulster Championship given his recent run of injuries.
Slipping out of Division Three are Longford and Limerick who were unable to attain any level of consistency.
There’s the real allure of Ulster glory in Division Four, too, where Antrim who had a free date yesterday, will face Sligo in the decider. The Saffrons are due to meet Waterford next Sunday but the outcome of that match is academic now.
Sligo overcame Waterford by 0-16 to 1-11 yesterday and will prove tough opponents for Liam Bradley’s side in the divisional decider — but Bradley would have it no other way at this stage of the season where he is anxious to have his players talents tested to the full.