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Championship preparation times differ wildly for top counties

With the majority of counties finished with their league campaigns, we look at the differing lead-in times ahead of the championship

Kevin McStay Jack O'Connor Championship

As the Allianz Football Leagues are set for their conclusion with the finals this weekend, the majority of counties are now fully focusing on the upcoming championship.

For the sides set for action at Croke Park this weekend, they will be hoping to add springtime silverware to warm up for the main event.

But a league title would mean little to top team if they fall flat in the championship. And all managers will be plotting for their charges to hit peak performance levels in the coming weeks.

However, there is significant disparity among the top counties as they face differing turnarounds for their respective championship openers.

One week

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Of the top 10 teams in Ireland based on National League rankings, Mayo are on the only side with a one-week turnaround. Kevin McStay’s charges face Roscommon on Sunday, April 9, just seven days on from the Division 1 showpiece.

Two weeks

Davy Burke’s Roscommon have a two-week gap to the Mayo game, and one suspects that they will be quietly satisfied after they did not reach a league final.

Armagh must put the disappointment of their relegation in the rearview mirror as they gear up for the Ulster Championship preliminary round meeting with Antrim on Sunday, April 9.

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Derry face Dublin in Croke Park this weekend, and then will have a fortnight to prepare for their provincial quarter-final against Fermanagh on Saturday, April 15.

Three weeks

Tyrone and Monaghan face off in the Ulster Championship quarter-final on Sunday, April 16. The two sides both avoided relegation from the top tier, and will now have a three-week lead-in to their crunch meeting.

Galway await the winners of Mayo-Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final, which will be three weeks after the Division 1 showpiece.

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Dublin have the same gap between the Division 2 decider and their Leinster opener against Wexford or Laois.

Four weeks

Kerry fell short in their bid to defend the Division 1 title, and their failure to reach the final means they have four weeks before their Munster semi-final against Tipperary or Waterford on April 22.

Given their issues on and off the field, Donegal will be pleased that they also have four weeks to sort out their problems. They will face Down on April 23.

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