Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Ulster football is in a league of its own

By Declan Bogue

So, that's the end of another National League season. Between the jigs and reels, what we are left with is something quite combustive if we ignore the forthcoming Championship and pretend we are going straight into the 2016 National Football League.

In Division One, Donegal and Monaghan are joined by Down. If there were manager of the month awards in Gaelic football, surely Jim McCorry would have a couple of them by now after he inherited a depleted Down squad, blooded several new faces and still managed to elevate them back to the top table.

As impressive as that is, the real juice will be in Division Two in 2016. Tyrone will be there, after that finishing day drama and the 34 frees that Joe McQuillan peeped for in their direction. So, too, will Derry, who didn't enjoy the same struggle.

Cavan had a season of stagnation and will find the going harder next year with the added Ulster element. And finally, Armagh and Fermanagh came up from Division Three.

Oh, what fun we will have. Tyrone alone will have another three border derbies to match their season this year.

Eight out of nine Ulster teams are in the top two divisions, making up 50% of their aggregate total. That's got to say something for the quality of coaching and the ambition of those involved in Ulster GAA, whether this column is accused of blowing the Ulster trumpet or not.

Belfast Telegraph


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