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Ten of the big talking points the league has already thrown up



Old foes: Monaghan’s Ryan Wylie and Darren Hughes take on Lee Brennan of Tyrone

Old foes: Monaghan’s Ryan Wylie and Darren Hughes take on Lee Brennan of Tyrone

©INPHO/Declan Roughan

Old foes: Monaghan’s Ryan Wylie and Darren Hughes take on Lee Brennan of Tyrone

With snow chance of any action taking place on the playing fields of Ulster and beyond, here is a veritable blizzard of talking points so far since the start of the Allianz League.

1 Storm Emma

Who doesn't love a bit of weather chat? For the most part, it saves us from being a mute society.

'Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative' once stated a fellow Fermanagh man, Oscar Wilde. But Oscar didn't have to serve on the Central Competitions Control Committee, where such conversations were essential to the GAA, the Camogie Association and the Ladies' Gaelic Football Association calling off all games this weekend.

It is the first time a blanket postponement has happened in the GAA since 2001, and the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth epidemic. Get a load of that, Oscar!

2 Dublin ban RTÉ

This is hands down the source of greatest mirth since the start of 2018.

The vagaries of this latest bout of preciousness are said to originate when members of the Dublin backroom team requested footage of Tyrone's loss to Galway in the opening round of the league.

This caused all sorts of difficulties, not least from a morality point of view, but Dublin were turned down.

Therefore, those tuning into RTÉ will be denied their precious interviews from a squad and management that may just go down as the most mysterious group in the history of the GAA. Unless they have a book to flog in the coming years.

3 Gumshield gate

The sending off of Kildare captain Eoin Doyle, and the booking of Kevin Feely, for failing to wear a gumshield in the league match against Donegal was the first instance of the rule being applied since it was brought in at the GAA Congress in 2012.

Rather like the introduction of a red card for sledging opponents, it was thought that this was one rule the GAA would be seen to impose in theory, but never act upon in practice.

No doubt it angered those in the Kildare camp, but nobody could accuse referee David Gough of not doing his job. No dentist should be getting rich off the back of players' own neglect for their safety.

4 Tyrone woes

With just six points from play against Monaghan, you could be forgiven for thinking that Tyrone's attack is not functioning.

However, it has considerably improved since the first day out when they managed just five points from play against Galway. They hit 1-8 from play against Dublin and then 1-10 against Kildare in their only win this campaign to date.

As ever with Tyrone, the side who have broken the Ulster Championship scoring record over the last two summers, they will be a different proposition when there's a dry ball on the pitch.

5 Antrim renaissance stalls

There was great hope and much updating of Twitter feeds when the well wishers of Antrim hurling - and let's face it, who isn't among that group? - were shown to be neck and neck against Galway going down the final stretch of their Allianz League opener.

Running the All-Ireland champions to a three-point defeat was one thing, but a one-point loss to Dublin at home was practically agonising.

Defeats to Laois and Limerick since has stalled some of the momentum but they can still avoid relegation with a play-off.

6 Tally's powers of transformation

In Galway's first season back in Division One in seven years, they opened up with a Damian Comer goal on 22 seconds against Tyrone, a significant flare to send up into the sky.

With former Tyrone, Down and Derry trainer Paddy Tally implementing a bit of steel to their defence, they have since beaten Donegal, Mayo and Kerry and they are riding high along with Dublin as the only team with a 100% record.

7 Kerry kids are alright

A bad showing in the All-Ireland semi-final by Kerry against Mayo left manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice believing he had to go away over the winter and dream it all up again, after claiming an All-Ireland title in 2014 - the only one of his five years by then in charge.

In Kerry, the locals get antsy about that kind of gap between bringing the canister back to what they believe is its rightful home. Fitzmaurice has begun the early stages of evolution, if not revolution, and the performances of Jason Foley, Sean O'Shea and Michael Burns - not to mention the coming of David Clifford - seems to be going well, though they won't challenge for anything this side of June.

8 London calling

After playing all their games away from home last year as Ruislip received a wonderful renovation, the London footballers now have every game in this league in the re-christened McGovern Park, and are unsurprisingly competitive, beating Wicklow and drawing with Limerick.

Another win or two in this campaign is certainly not beyond them.

9 Cavan surprise

After a rather mediocre build-up to the Allianz League, Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan has turned the ship around and they now find themselves challenging for a place in the top flight.

1 Donegal stickmen

The exciting Donegal hurlers have beaten Derry and Down this season, marking a serious changing of the guard.

Belfast Telegraph