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Football League: Three most important games this weekend

Ahead of the final round of the National Football League, we look at the most significant fixtures which will impact promotion and relegation

Conor McManus Monaghan Football League

As the final day of the 2023 Allianz Football League looms, there is no shortage of promotion and relegation narratives to be completed.

Remarkably, there are only two teams that are mathematically safe in the top tier, with the second relegation spot alongside Donegal yet to be filled.

Meanwhile, the race is on to join Derry in the Division 2 final, and crucially promotion for next season.

Image via @GAALeagueTables

Galway vs Kerry

In a repeat of the 2022 All-Ireland final, the two teams are approaching full strength after taking an experimental approach at times during the campaign.

Kerry’s home win over Armagh last week allayed fears of the drop, and a cocktail of unfavourable results on Sunday would be needed for Jack O’Connor’s charges to suffer relegation.

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Therefore, they know that they could return to the decider should they overcome the Tribesmen away. However, if Roscommon and/or Tyrone also win, it would come down to points difference between all the teams left on eight points.

The permutations are more straightforward for Pádraic Joyce’s outfit. Win or draw, and they will be heading to Croke Park to take on old rivals Mayo in the showpiece.

Perhaps of more significance to both teams is laying down a pre-championship marker in Salthill.

Mayo vs Monaghan

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Kevin McStay’s side are already into the final, and will likely finish in top spot even if they lose.

For Monaghan, it is surely a blessing that the men in green and red have their business done. McStay knows the Connacht Championship opener with Roscommon is looming large on the horizon, and may take this opportunity to rest some frontliners.

The Farney County have pulled off some dramatic escapes in recent years.

This Sunday could be their greatest act of survival yet, as they bid to secure a 10th consecutive season in the top flight.

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Vinny Corey’s team need to defeat Mayo, and hope Armagh lose to Tyrone. If the Orchard County get a result in Omagh, Monaghan could only avoid the drop if they are left on six points with just Roscommon, or overturn the scoring difference to trump other teams if three or more counties are left on six points.

Dublin vs Louth

Many expected Dublin to have their business done by this point, but Louth’s stunning run of four conseutive victories means the Wee County could sensationally seal promotion at the Dubs’ expense on Sunday.

A win for Mickey Harte’s charges at Croke Park would go down as one of the great upsets in the history of the league.

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Dessie Farrell’s charges have not been at their best in the springtime, but have not done an awful lot wrong. A one-point defeat away to a high-flying Derry outfit remains the one blemish on their record thus far.

But Louth could pip the Sky Blues to the post. Expect the Dubs to emerge fired up at HQ on Sunday.

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