The 2019 Allianz football league group stages are over. Roscommon and Cavan are relegated from division one and Monaghan stay in the top tier despite defeat.
Longford lost to near neighbours Westmeath in division three and Leitrim got their sixth win of the campaign. Terry Hylands’ side now prepare for the division four final next weekend.
Shannonside Northern Sound committee have picked their team of the week.
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
We dived into these fifteen choices as compiled by Kevin McDermott
|1||Shaun Patton – Donegal|
Only four counties went through the weekend without conceding a goal.
Shaun Patton was impressive between the sticks for Donegal as Declan Bonners side grabbed a golden ticket for division one football next season.
The Ulster champions were 1-20 to ten point’s winners over fellow promotion chasers Kildare.
Donegal only conceded one point in the first half. With victory ensured, Patton made a great save late on to show goalkeepers need to be alert at all times.
|2||Fergal Donohue – Louth|
Louth kept their promotion bid alive with a one point win over Down.
It will be a straight shootout next weekend as Louth play Westmeath in their rearranged round six fixture. One of those counties will leapfrog Down into the promotion places.
Fergal Donohue was stationed in the resolute full-back line that kept Down to ten points and kept a full-forward line including the prolific Donal O’Hare quiet.
Donohue also found himself far enough up the field to kick a point. A match winning performance by the corner back!
|3||Ross O’Brien – Wicklow|
The game would’ve brought only a feint flicker of a media spotlight.
The scoreline, Wicklow eight points London six points suggests not much attention on the division four game was warranted.
Rathnew full-back Ross O’Brien can argue the Garden counties defence deserve a mention for conceding only six points in 70 minutes as John Evans side end the campaign with a confidence boosting win.
|4||Seamus Lavin – Meath|
The number 13 is unlucky for some but not for Meath. The Royal county return to the top flight next season after an absence of 13 years.
Meath resigned opponents Fermanagh to third place in the league with a seven points win.
Seamus Lavin and his full-back line partners had the measure of the Ernesiders attack.
Meath meet Donegal in the league final next weekend. The only side to beat them in the league this season. Revenge is best served in Croke Park!
|5||Niall Keenan– Derry|
Football supporters attending matches want value for their money. The spectators attending Derry against Wexford certainly got that.
There was nothing to play for but it did serve up a thrilling finish, Derry 3-21 Wexford 4-16. Wing back Niall Keenan kicked a point for the oak leaf county in their two points win.
Derry management will be overhauling the leaky defence for next week’s Croke Park final against Leitrim.
Keenan will be scanning the team sheet hoping his name is still keyed into the starting line-up.
|6||Donal McElligott– Longford|
Rest is for the wicked. Donal McElligott has kept the motor running on his long season.
The centre-halfback was a key ingredient in the headline grabbing success of Mullinalaghta as the half-parish became Leinster club champions last December.
The Longford club champions then bravely battled but ultimately came undone against the vastly experienced Dr.Crokes in the All-Ireland semi-final.
McElligott is back donning his county jersey, while Pauric Davis side succumbed to a four point defeat to near neighbours Westmeath.
The returned intercounty star showed no sign of tiredness, played well and scored from a mark. His day was marred by defeat and a late red card.
|7||Ray Mulvey – Leitrim|
Last one out of Leitrim next week-turn off the lights!
Next Saturday, Terry Hyland’s side take on Derry in the Division four final in Croke Park. A big crowd is expected as the GAA world is basking in the incredible story of their stellar year.
On Saturday, Leitrim waved goodbye to the group stages of the basement division with an eight points win over Waterford.
Ray Mulvey kicked two points as Leitrim made it six wins from seven games. Every Leitrim player is sailing in the same direction. They’ve discovered division three, what else will they achieve this season.
|8||Mickey Quinn – Longford|
Longford finished Division three with three wins, three defeats and a draw.
Pauric Davis side will return to the fold in May for the Leinster championship. The league brought plenty of positives and plenty of things to work on for the new Manager and many new players.
Long-serving Mickey Quinn will be one of the guiding lights for their championship journey. The Killoe man scored a goal yesterday and has really taken to his midfield role in this campaign.
Longford made their first provincial semi-final in 30 years last year and Mullinalaghta won the Leinster club title.
Longford football is well entitled to dream about what the future can bring. Footballers like Mickey Quinn indicates the dream could be a reality.
|9||Conor Cullen – Leitrim|
Conor Cullen made his first start of the year.
The Aughnasheelin midfielder kicked two points including a superb shot from 50 yards out. Throughout the league campaign the Leitrim attack and defence have been singled out for adulation.
Cullen now gets the nod of approval for an assured performance from the centre of the park.
|10||Fergal Boland– Mayo|
Mayo reached their first Division one final in seven years after a three points win over Monaghan.
Mayo played some fluid attacking football in gathering their 3-15 total against the Farney army.
Fergal Boland kicked three points from play as Mayo won their fifth game of the league. James Horan’s second stint as Mayo manager looks to be working.
|11||Emlyn Mulligan – Leitrim|
Emlyn Mulligan has seen many dark days in a Leitrim jersey. The Melvin Gaels clubman has also battled back from three cruciate knee ligament injuries.
The forward scored five points (four from play) for Leitrim in their win over Waterford.
Croke Park is waiting for Leitrim’s arrival next Saturday. Mulligan is in-form, ready and deserving of the cheering chorus when running onto the hallowed turf.
|12||David Clifford – Kerry|
Book a place in the league final and relegate Roscommon. All in a day’s work for Kerry.
The Kingdom beat Roscommon by 10 points. All-Star David Clifford missed the start of the league and Sean O’Shea carried the scoring threat.
The 20-year-old is back in the starting line-up and the five points kicked suggest Clifford’s radar is still the envy of every footballer in the country.
Clifford was a real leader for Peter Keane bringing them both success at All-Ireland minor level.
Both men have stepped up to the senior grade and all illustrations this season highlight the trophy cabinet might need a few more shelves.
|13||Martin Reilly – Cavan|
All-Ireland champions Dublin came to Kingspan Breffni and Cavan lost by six points.
The Breffni county will play division two football next season after falling through the relegation trapdoor with one win and six defeats in their first division account.
The result and its implications would reason you to believe it was an afternoon to forget for Cavan football.
However, Manager Mickey Graham can find some positives safe in the knowledge there is no shame in losing to the five-in- a-row All-Ireland chasing Dubliners.
Corner Forward Martin Reilly scored 1-03 (1-02 from play and a mark). Reilly’s superb aerial ability in the full-forward line will have full-back lines motioning for the use of step ladders at the next annual congress.
|14||Kevin McLaughlin – Mayo|
Goals win games. Step forward Kevin McLaughlin and take a bow.
The Mayo forward scored two goals and two points as James Horan’s side put Monaghan to the sword. McLaughlin got the goals in the first-half to give Mayo a seven point lead. Monaghan cut the deficit down but it was Mayo’s day.
The Knockmore attacker is at his sharpest and helping his side find that cutting edge in order to create more glory days for the green and red.
|15||Ger Egan– Westmeath|
Ger Egan starred for Westmeath as Jack Cooney’s side begun the year by capturing the O’Byrne cup with a notable win over Dublin.
The Corner-forward has continued that eye-catching form and nine points from Egan’s boot propelled Westmeath to a four points win over neighbours Longford.
Westmeath know a win over Louth in their rearranged league game next weekend would see them play division two football next season.
Note to Louth-don’t foul the Westmeath attack as Egan will kick point after point.