Scramble to avoid dreaded Tailteann trapdoor hots up in Division 2

The bottom four teams have only five points between them after four rounds

Already dubbed the Tailteann trapdoor, in suitably threatening manner, the fight to survive in Division 2 of the Allianz Football League is reaching endgame as the remaining three rounds are played out over the coming three weekends.

Galway’s nervy win over Offaly at Pearse Stadium on Sunday – that game refixed from last month – had a twofold impact: it keeps Galway unbeaten along with Derry, those two teams now in prime position for promotion, while Offaly remain rooted at the bottom, albeit sharing a single point with Cork and Down, Meath sitting just above them with two points.

The fight to stay in the division is accentuated this year by championship implications, as the two teams relegated are also destined for the new Tier 2 championship, also known as the Tailteann Cup.

Offaly manager John Maughan’s assertion they “haven’t lost faith” in their ability to remain in contention is reasonable given their fiery display against Galway – before losing 2-17 to 3-10 – but Sunday’s away trip to Down may ultimately decide their fate.

Offaly also have Roscommon and Cork to play, Roscommon currently leading the chase on Galway and Cork, following by Clare. Meath will host Cork at Páirc Tailteann on Sunday, standing right over the Tailteann trapdoor, a game that might also afford Meath some breathing space, should they win.

Roscommon are at home to Derry, who as leaders boast the best scoring record of anyone, +37 points compared to Galway’s +29. Sunday’s result also means Derry and Galway (plus Cavan in Division 4) are the only counties on full points.

Beyond Sunday, Meath's hopes of staying in the division – and the Sam Maguire competition this summer – are perhaps boosted by the fact they've already played Galway and Roscommon, although they do have Derry in the last round. A spate of injuries hasn't helped manager Andy McEntee, who was red-carded towards the end of the Roscommon match in round two.

Galway welcome Clare to Tuam this Sunday. Colin Collins – in his ninth season as Clare manager – sees his side with four points from four games and for now safely above the trapdoor, while Galway manager Pádraic Joyce made no secret of his unease with the nature of their latest win over Offaly. Defender Seán Kelly, scorer of their second goal, sustained an ankle injury late in the game although is expected to be passed fit.

Meanwhile Wicklow have confirmed the appointment of Alan Costello and Gary Duffy as joint-managers of their senior football team, replacing Colin Kelly after his sudden departure last week. Mayo native Costello is also in charge of the Wicklow under-20 team, while Duffy is a member of the St Patrick's club in Wicklow town.

The pair will take charge of a struggling team for the first time when Laois visit Aughrim in round five this Sunday. With just one point from a possible eight, Wicklow appear poised to drop to Division 4.

Division 2 remaining fixtures

Round 5 – March 12th: Down v Offaly; Mar 13: Galway v Clare; Meath v Cork; Roscommon v Derry.

Round 6 – March 20th: Cork v Down; Derry v Galway; Clare v Meath; Offaly v Roscommon.

Round 7 – March 27th: Down v Clare; Meath v Derry; Offaly v Cork; Roscommon v Galway.

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