Subplots takes over as Kerry and Roscommon head for D-Day

Several issues have already been settled but football finalists are still to be decided

The subplot at Hyde Park yesterday became of more interest than the main narrative. Kerry accomplished a six-point victory, leaving themselves still in with a chance of reaching the Allianz Football League final. Roscommon were not officially consigned to Division 2 but they are now officially in the last-chance saloon.

Kerry manager Jack O’Connor regretted a lack of ruthlessness but overall had no complaints.

“Look, we won the game by six points. Roscommon were fighting for their lives up here to get a couple of points; they’re at home. Not a bad display. We wouldn’t be happy with all aspects of it obviously, but in general happy enough.”

His counterpart, Davy Burke, dismissively insisted that the position was no different than on Sunday morning: they just need another win. They must secure it, though, in Derry against the league leaders.


Nor is it plain sailing for Kerry, who are level with second-placed Dublin but trailing third on the basis of the head-to-head beating they took in Croke Park.

In a week’s time they face Galway in Killarney and can do Roscommon a big favour by winning and leaving the door ajar for Burke’s team to spring a surprise in Celtic Park and avoid the drop.

Roscommon could return the favour by winning in Celtic Park and boosting Kerry’s prospects of reaching the final but Derry are nearly in the final after the other Division 1 match, an impressive five-point win over Mayo in Castlebar.

O’Connor is more likely to be hoping that Dublin, after a good win in Salthill, slip up in Croke Park against Tyrone. First, they must beat Galway.

“We just want to put on a performance and hopefully win,” he said. “We will see where it takes us. It is not the be-all and end-all to reach a final,” before allowing that he would be “happy enough to get a run-out in Croke Park”.

Burke was keeping the optimism going before next week’s trip up North and he has a point in that Mickey Harte rested players for the Dublin league match and, given the 16-point advantage Derry have over Kerry, may be tempted to do the same again.

“We’re trying to get the best version of ourselves out there,” said Burke. “I’m delighted with their effort but disappointed with the result. You boys mightn’t see it but I see us getting better every day.”

The penultimate weekend of the league took a few issues off the table in advance of next weekend’s finale. Monaghan have been relegated from their 10-year perch in Division 1 and will be replaced by Armagh and Donegal, both of whom secured their promotion from Division 2 a week early.

Kildare have been put out of their misery after a wretched campaign. Donegal’s win against them confirmed their Division 3 residency for next season.

The Allianz hurling league semi-finals take place next weekend. All-Ireland champions Limerick take on Kilkenny in a repeat of last year’s league and All-Ireland finals at 4.30 in SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday. The following day in Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, Munster rivals Clare and Tipperary face each other at 4.0

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times