• Sport

Eleven counties seeking first wins in Allianz football league

Thursday, 1st March, 2012 5:00pm

Story by Tom Kelly
Eleven counties seeking first wins in Allianz football league

The Westmeath senior team who played Meath in the NFL in February.

Eleven counties seeking first wins in Allianz football league

The Westmeath senior team who played Meath in the NFL in February.

Only seven counties have taken full points from the first two rounds of the 2012 Allianz Football League (Mayo had a chance to make it eight but their game with Dublin was abandoned at half-time due to fog) while no fewer than 11 will be looking for their first points in the Round 3 programme at the weekend.

Those on full points are Meath, Tyrone (Div.2), Longford, Roscommon, Antrim (Div.3), Limerick, Fermanagh (Div.4) while those seeking their first points are Dublin, Donegal (Div.1), Kildare, Westmeath, Derry (Div.2), Tipperary, Cavan, Offaly (Div.3), Carlow, London, Kilkenny (Div.4).

Div.1: DUBLIN, DONEGAL SEEKING FIRST POINTS

Saturday (7.0): Armagh v Mayo, Morgan Athletic Grounds; Laois v Dublin, Portlaoise.

Sunday: Donegal v Cork, Ballybofey (2.0); Down v Kerry, Newry (2.30).

Reigning All-Ireland champions, Dublin and semi-finalists, Donegal head into next weekend still in search of their first points in the 2012 League campaign, with the Ulster champions in a more precarious position, having played two games, whereas Dublin have only played one.

Defeats by Down and Laois leave Donegal in desperate need of points, a challenge made all the more difficult by the fact that they will be playing table-toppers, Cork on Sunday. Donegal will have home advantage but still face a huge test against a Cork side that hit Down for 4-11 in the last round. It took their overall total for two games to 5-18 (33 points) and helped them to an impressive +13 point scoring differential.

Armagh, who, like Cork, also took three points from their first two games, are in second place on scoring difference and will be hoping to exploit home advantage to maintain their good run when they host Mayo on Saturday night. Armagh have already drawn with Cork and beat Kerry, a highly satisfactory return against the southern giants, which leaves Paddy O'Rourke's men well placed to mount a serious challenge for a semi-final place at the end of the group games.

Mayo beat Laois first time out but their second game against Dublin was abandoned because of fog.

Dublin visit Portlaoise on Saturday night, hoping to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. Dublin lost their opening game to Kerry and, having suffered the frustration of an abandoned game against Mayo in Castlebar, will be extremely anxious to kick-start their League campaign with a win.

Laois recovered from a first round defeat by Mayo to beat Donegal on a day when they showed a glimpse of their real potential.

Down conceded 4-11 against Cork last time out and will be looking for a much improved defensive performance when they host Kerry in Newry on Sunday. Kerry are also smarting after losing to Armagh in Tralee in the second round.

Div.2: EARLY WARNING BELLS FOR KILDARE, DERRY, WESTMEATH

Saturday (7.0) Derry v Monaghan, Celtic Park; Meath v Kildare, Navan.

Sunday (2.30): Westmeath v Galway, Mullingar; Louth v Tyrone, Drogheda.

Its early days in Allianz Football League 2012 with only two rounds completed but already Kildare, Derry and Westmeath are in dire need of points if they are to have a real chance of being in the promotion race.

All three lost their first two games so another defeat would but leave them most unlikely to win promotion. All the more so if Tyrone and Meath, both of whom won their first two games, picked up a third win next weekend.

Meath will be at home to Kildare on Saturday night in a game that really is crucial for both. Meath beat Kildare in the 2010 League but, since then, the Lilywhites have beaten the Royals four times (three in the championship and one in the League). However, Meath have made a much better start to this League, beating Monaghan and Westmeath while Kildare have lost to Tyrone and Monaghan.

Derry, who well well-fancied as promotion contenders after running an excellent championship campaign last year, lost to Galway and Tyrone in their first two games which makes their clash with Monaghan very important. Monaghan, who lost to Meath in the first game, got their campaign back on track with an impressive win over Kildare last time out.

Westmeath were promoted last April but are already in relegation trouble after losing to Louth and Meath. They host Galway, who have picked up three of four points in an impressive start. Tyrone, who won their first two games, travel to Drogheda to take on Louth who have made a bright start, beating Westmeath and drawing with Galway.

Div.3: TOP TWO CLASH IN LONGFORD

Saturday (7.0): Antrim v Offaly, Casement Park; Cavan v Sligo, Kingspan Breffni Park;

Sunday (2.30): Longford v Roscommon, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Wexford v Tipperary, Wexford Park.

They're neighbours and great rivals and now they clash as the top two in a group which is sure to be hugely competitive all the way to the finish line. Longford have already beaten Offaly and Cavan whereas Roscommon beat Tipperary and Offaly in the first two rounds.

Antrim, who were relegated from Division 2 last year, having also won their opening two games and will have home advantage against bottom-of-the-table Offaly, who lost to Longford and Roscommon.

Wexford have won one and lost one but, unusually, have conceded a total of 5-27 while scoring 5-26. They host Tipperary who are still looking for their first win. Cavan are also seeking their first win and will have hope advantage against Sligo who lost to Antrim in the first round before beating Wexford by 4-14 to 1-17 in the next game.

Div.4: FERMANAGH PRIMED FOR THIRD WIN

Sunday (2.30 unless stated): Clare v Limerick, Ennis; Wicklow v Waterford, Aughrim; Kilkenny v Fermanagh, Freshford; London v Carlow, Ruislip (1.0); Leitrim (bye).

Fermanagh have made a great start under new manager, Peter Canavan, winning their first two games against Clare and London and lead the group on scoring difference from Limerick, a position they are likely to build on when they travel to Nowlan Park to play Kilkenny on Sunday.

Kilkenny have lost their first two games by an average of 24.5 points so Fermanagh will be hoping to not only win but also to build up an impressive return so as to boost their scoring difference.

Limerick have also made the perfect start, winning their first two games but face a big test against neighbours, Clare in Ennis. Clare beat Waterford and lost to Fermanagh in their first two games.

Wicklow and Waterford, both of whom are on two points, clash in Aughrim while Carlow and London will both be seeking their first points when they meet in Ruislip.

ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE RESULTS AND FIXTURES

Div.1

Round 1: Feb 4: Kerry 1-14 Dublin 0-11; Mayo 1-11 Laois 0-8; Down 1-10 Donegal 1-9; Feb 5: Armagh 0-10 Cork 1-7.

Round 2: Feb 11: Mayo v Dublin - abandoned at half-time due to fog (Dublin were leading, 0-8 to 0-5; Armagh 2-8 Kerry 0-10; Feb 12: Laois 2-9 Donegal 2-6; Cork 4-11 Down 0-10.

Mar 31: Mayo v Dublin (re-fixture).

Round 3: Mar 3: Armagh v Mayo; Laois v Dublin; Mar 4: Donegal v Cork; Down v Kerry.

Round 4: Mar 10: Cork v Laois; Mar 11: Dublin v Armagh; Kerry v Donegal; Mayo v Down.

Round 5: Mar 18: Cork v Kerry; Down v Dublin; Laois v Armagh; Donegal v Mayo.

Round 6: Mar 24: Dublin v Donegal; Armagh v Down; Mar 25: Kerry v Laois; Mayo v Cork.

Round 7: Apr 8: Laois v Down; Kerry v Mayo; Cork v Dublin; Donegal v Armagh.

Semi-finals: Apr 15.

Final: April 29

Div.2

Round 1: Feb 4: Tyrone 2-11 Kildare 0-12; Meath 1-15 Monaghan 1-9; Feb 5: Galway 1-15 Derry 1-11; Louth 0-12 Westmeath 1-6.

Round 2: Feb 12: Meath 0-17 Westmeath 0-5; Monaghan 0-17 Kildare 0-12; Tyrone 2-15 Derry 0-9; Galway 1-8 Louth 0-11.

Round 3: Mar 3: Derry v Monaghan; Meath v Kildare; Mar 4: Westmeath v Galway; Louth v Tyrone.

Round 4: Mar 10: Tyrone v Westmeath; Mar 11: Monaghan v Louth; Galway v Meath; Kildare v Derry.

Round 5: Mar 18: Westmeath v Monaghan; Meath v Derry; Louth v Kildare; Galway v Tyrone.

Round 6: Mar 24: Tyrone v Meath; Mar 25: Derry v Louth; Monaghan v Galway; Kildare v Westmeath.

Round 7: Apr 8: Westmeath v Derry; Meath v Louth; Tyrone v Monaghan; Galway v Kildare.

Final: April 29

Div.3

Round 1: Feb 4: Antrim 0-13 Sligo 0-12; Feb 5: Longford 2-15 Offaly 0-8, Wexford 4-9 Cavan 1-13; Roscommon 1-12 Tipperary 0-12.

Round 2: Feb 11: Longford 0-10 Cavan 0-7; Feb 12: Roscommon 0-12 Offaly 1-6; Antrim 1-13 Tipperary 0-13; Sligo 4-14 Wexford 1-17.

Round 3: Mar 3: Antrim v Offaly; Cavan v Sligo; Mar 4: Longford v Roscommon, Wexford v Tipperary.

Round 4: Mar 11: Tipperary v Cavan; Offaly v Wexford; Sligo v Longford; Roscommon v Antrim.

Round 5: Mar 18: Cavan v Offaly; Longford v Antrim; Wexford v Roscommon; Sligo v Tipperary.

Round 6: Mar 24: Tipperary v Longford; Mar 25: Antrim v Wexford; Offaly v Sligo; Roscommon v Cavan.

Round 7: April 8: Cavan v Antrim; Longford v Wexford; Tipperary v Offaly; Sligo v Roscommon.

Final: Saturday, April 28

Div.4

Round 1: February 5: Clare 1-17 Waterford 0-12; Wicklow 3-25 Kilkenny 1-1; Limerick 1-9 Leitrim 0-9; February 19: Fermanagh 2-15 London 0-9.

Round 2: Feb 11: Waterford 0-21 Kilkenny 0-2; Feb 12: Limerick 1-13 London 1-7; Leitrim 2-9 Carlow 0-13; Fermanagh 0-11 Clare 0-8; Wicklow (bye)

Round 3: Mar 4: Clare v Limerick; Wicklow v Waterford; Kilkenny v Fermanagh; London v Carlow; Leitrim (bye).

Round 4: Mar 10: Limerick v Kilkenny; Mar 11: Fermanagh v Wicklow; Carlow v Clare; Leitrim v London; Waterford (bye)

Round 5: Mar 18: Wicklow v Limerick; Kilkenny v Carlow; Waterford v Fermanagh; Clare v Leitrim; London (bye)

Round 6: Mar 24: Limerick v Waterford; Mar 25: Leitrim v Kilkenny; London v Clare; Carlow v Wicklow; Fermanagh (bye)

Round 7: Mar 31: Waterford v Carlow; Apr 1: Wicklow v Leitrim; Kilkenny v London; Fermanagh v Limerick; Clare (bye)

Round 8: Apr 8: Carlow v Fermanagh; London v Wicklow; Leitrim v Waterford; Clare v Kilkenny; Limerick (bye)

Round 9: Apr 15: Fermanagh v Leitrim; Waterford v London; Limerick v Carlow; Wicklow v Clare; Kilkenny (bye).

Final: Saturday, April 28

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