With the 2023 Allianz Football League now in the books, focus quickly turns to championship. But who were the main winners and losers from the springtime competition?
Mayo – After a winter of change, not much was expected from Mayo. But Kevin McStay’s charges went unbeaten in every game that had something riding on it, and ended up taking home the Division 1 title.
Most impressive was how they quickly adapted to the new regime. McStay is getting the best out of Aidan O’Shea, while Ryan O’Donoghue continues to get better. At the back, Jack Coyne, David McBrien and Sam Callinan have all made significant impacts.
Roscommon – The Rossies were widely fancied to suffer relegation, but came storming out of the blocks by winning their first three matches. When fears of the drop were eased, they pulled up somewhat as Davy Burke switched attention to the summer.
When their back was to the wall on the final day, they produced a comprehensive 0-21 to 0-9 win over Donegal. They look to be in fine shape ahead of the championship.
Cavan – The Breffni County continued their ascent through the divisions, with a third tier title. Mickey Graham trialled some new faces, and they have built momentum ahead of the Ulster Championship.
Reaching the Anglo-Celt Cup decider is required if they are to compete in the Sam Maguire Cup later this year, but that appears an achievable task considering the draw. They await the winner of Armagh-Antrim, with Donegal or Down in store in a potential semi-final. Should they fail, they will be considered favourites for the Tailteann Cup.
Kildare – Glenn Ryan’s side took a considerable step back from 2022 this term. Although they did enough to avoid the drop, there are no other positives to take.
The Lilywhites have been struggling up front, and conceded big scores at home to Cork and Derry. They will need to turn it around for a potential Leinster semi-final meeting with Dublin.
If results go against them elsewhere, they could end up in the Tailteann Cup this summer.
Donegal – Amid off-field controversy in the county, it was a difficult league for the Donegal footballers. After getting relegated to Division 2, they parted ways with manager Paddy Carr.
They have a long way to go if they are to compete for silverware this summer.
Armagh – There were positive signs for the Orchard County at times throughout the league campaign, but a weak finish culminated in relegation. That took the wind from their sails, after a 2022 season of real progress.
They face a long road if they are to win a first Ulster title since 2008. And they must find momentum ahead of the All-Ireland Championship group stages.