Dramatic day in Allianz Football League goes down to the final kick
Late Tyrone equaliser against Kerry ensures Donegal pip Kingdom to a semi-final place
Kerry’s Colm Cooper: made his first appearance for the Kingdom in 19 months when he came on against Tyrone at Healy Park. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho
When the balls finished bobbling and the wheel stopped spinning, the final shape of the various Allianz Football League table made for absorbing reading. For all the hand-wringing during the week, the last round of games hummed along right up to the very last kick of an enjoyable afternoon.
In the final reckoning, the Division One semi-finals will see Cork play Donegal and Dublin play Monaghan next weekend in what will be a Croke Park double-header, while Tyrone made a defiant stand at the other end of the table but just came up short and slip into Division Two.
The day’s greatest drama was played out in Omagh, where Tyrone and Kerry added another worthy bead to the necklace of fine games between the counties with a 0-17 to 1-14 draw. Kerry’s timeworn ability to just do enough to stay breathing saw them through again, with Paul Geaney scoring 1-2 off the bench and Colm Cooper returning to action 19 months after his last appearance.
Two pointsMattie Donnelly
With Mayo and Donegal drawing, the fact that Donnelly’s shot stayed out meant that going into injury-time, not only were Kerry not being relegated but they would be in the semi-finals as long as they stayed that point ahead.
But Tyrone corner-forward Darren McCurry tacked on a point to draw his side level in the next attack. Though the draw was of no use to them it kept Kerry out of the semi-final, thereby shifting Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side from possible relegation fodder to possible champions to mid-table mediocrity in the space of 90 seconds. Such is the league.
The 0-12 to 1-9 draw in Castlebar sent Donegal through on the basis of having a better points difference than Mayo and Kerry. Dublin put Monaghan through the mincer in Clones for a 1-22 to 1-11 victory, with every chance they will repeat the dose next weekend. Relegated Derry managed to snatch their first win , beating Cork by 2-15 to 2-11.
In Division Two Down and Roscommon started the day with matters in their own hands and duly picked up victories against Laois and Westmeath respectively to punch their tickets to Division One. They will meet in the Division Two final in three weeks.
Kildare and Westmeath were relegated. Kildare went down by 3-12 to 1-12 to Galway, for whom Shane Walsh scored 2-1. And Westmeath lost out 2-13 to 0-12 to Roscommon.
In Division Three Armagh and Fermanagh were already promoted and preparing for the final on April 25th. The day’s key game saw Limerick defeat Louth 2-13 to 2-11 in Drogheda. Louth will be joined in Division Four next year by Wexford, despite the latter side’s 2-16 to 2-12 win over Tipperary in Clonmel.
In Division Four Offaly beat Antrim by 1-13 to 1-7 to book a final place against Longford on April on April 14th.