Round five of the Allianz Football League is upon us, and to borrow a golf analogy, it is moving day. As relegation fears increase for teams while others vie for position at the top of the tables, who are the counties in need of two points this weekend?
Tyrone (vs Kerry)
The 2021 All-Ireland champions were dreadful in last Saturday’s loss to Mayo, and their defensive frailties were badly exposed by Kevin McStay’s charges.
They find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Division 1 table, and deservedly so considering their performance levels in recent weeks.
As they hunt two points to ease the burden, things aren’t getting any easier for the Red Hands with Kerry coming to town this weekend.
If they are as open at the back in Omagh, David Clifford and Co will have a field day. Meanwhile, they need to get more from their attacking talents, with Cathal McShane in particular not having a significant impact in recent weeks.
A loss against the Kingdom would leave them with a mountain to climb in their final two games.
Derry (vs Dublin)
The Oak Leaf County host Dublin on Saturday evening, in a game that will act as a barometer for their progress.
Thus far in the season, Rory Gallagher’s charges seem to be kicking on from their breakthrough 2022 campaign.
They have cruised through the second tier with four wins from four, by an average margin of 10 points per game.
In all likelihood, both teams will be promoted in the coming weeks, regardless of the result in Celtic Park. But one suspects this game is of greater importance to Derry than it is to Dublin.
Victory at home would be a significant statement from the reigning Ulster champions, and would bolster the team’s belief that they can be All-Ireland contenders ahead of the championship.
Kildare (vs Louth)
The Lilywhites’ collapse in the second tier has been remarkable.
In 2022, they went through Division 1 with an unbeaten home record, after Kerry, Dublin and Monaghan all visited St Conleth’s Park.
Newbridge has been a happy hunting ground for visiting teams this season, however. Cork ran out 2-14 to 0-7 winners over their hosts, while Derry went one better last weekend with a 2-15 to 0-7 victory.
Glenn Ryan’s team have been unable to do damage up front, and are one of only two teams across all four divisions (along with Longford) not to score a goal thus far in the Allianz League.
Kildare are in a fight to secure Sam Maguire Cup football for 2023. Defeat in Louth, however, and they will be in real danger of relegation to the third tier of the League.
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