Friday, May 24, 2024

All-Ireland football championship 2024: How the teams rank from 33 to 1 after the league campaign

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33 New York

Manager: Alan O’Mara (1st year)

Last year’s annus mirabilis saw a first championship win, over Leitrim, a junior All-Ireland with a team of locals and a competitive Tailteann defeat by Carlow. Manager Alan O’Mara, the former Cavan player says the core of last year’s panel remains.

What’s a good season? Competitive in the Tailteann preliminary quarter-final.

32 Waterford

Manager: Paul Shankey (1st year)

Took the usual league point and lost the other six matches by a cumulative. Late appointment of manager didn’t help player availability but on the plus side they have been recently competitive with Tipperary, who they drew with in the league.

What’s a good season? Win a Munster championship match.

31 London

Manager: Michael Maher (5th year)

Disappointing league campaign after the high of beating Mayo in the FBD last January. Nestled at the bottom of Division 4 with the teams they took points off, Tipp and Waterford, the championship rotation isn’t promising either with Galway due imminently.

What’s a good season? Getting out of Tailteann group.

30 Tipperary

Manager: Paul Kelly (1st year)

Despite an encouraging win in Longford and display against promoted Laois, Tipp dropped points freely. Paul Kelly oversaw an infusion of younger blood and evolution beyond the 2020 Munster winners. Could still do with the injured veterans Conor Sweeney and Steven O’Brien.

What’s a good season? Get to Tailteann knockouts

29 Carlow

Manager: Niall Carew (5th year)

A decent league that included a dramatic win over promoted Leitrim still fell away by the end. Tough opener against Wexford, particularly given departure to the US of influential centrefielder Jordan Morrissey and injury to spiritual leader, top scorer and captain Darragh Foley.

What’s a good season? Reaching Tailteann quarter-final.

28 Longford

Manager: Paddy Christie (2nd year)

Another O’Byrne Cup in January, beating Dublin in the final, again followed by slightly disappointing league in that promotion slipped away on the last day. Experienced players like Mickey Quinn and Daniel Mimnagh can always spark but it all looks a bit uphill.

What’s a good season? Reaching Tailteann quarter-final.

27 Wexford

Manager: John Hegarty (2nd year)

Eventually found their stride and finished the season like an express train, getting caught for promotion on the head-to-head with Leitrim. Ageless Ben Brosnan is in his 17th season and the team are playing with urgency and scoring more freely than last year.

What’s a good season? Leinster and Tailteann quarter-finals.

26 Limerick

Manager: Jimmy Lee (1st year)

A dismal couple of years concluded still without a win in the league and a second successive relegation. A load of players have been unavailable since the season began although experienced forward Danny Neville is back

What’s a good season? Arrest the slide and get a Tailteann point or two.

25 Wicklow

Manager: Oisin McConville (2nd year)

Straight back down after last year’s promotion, Wicklow haven’t been at full strength. Mark Jackson is now back from the AFL trials but captain Pádraig O’Toole is still out injured and influential defender Malachy Stone is suspended for the weekend.

What’s a good season? Get out of the Tailteann group.

24 Leitrim

Manager: Andy Moran (3rd season)

Promotion was vital after last season’s collapse in New York. The addition of Mickey Graham has clearly had an effect and they’ve done well to absorb losses like Keith Beirne, Paddy Maguire and Jack Heslin.

What’s a good season? A second Croke Park appearance.

23 Laois

Manager: Justin McNulty (1st season, 2nd stint)

Went through Division Four like a dose of salts, as they should have. With Evan O’Carroll dictating matters in attack and the evergreen Kieran Lillis showing huge leadership, they head into the summer with their tails up.

What’s a good season? Beating Offaly (obviously). Can make a Tailteann final.

22 Offaly

Manager: Declan Kelly (1st season)

Turned their league around to stay up despite losing their opening four matches. Dylan Hyland has been in heavy-scoring form in attack and with a glut of their 2021 under-20 team settling in, they’re finding their groove.

What’s a good season? Beating Laois (obviously). After that, Tailteann quarter-finals

21 Antrim

Manager: Andy McEntee (2nd season)

Have put together a three-year stretch outside Division Four for the first time in a decade. Staying up this time was a serious achievement – Andy McEntee played 12 debutants across the league due to a persistent injury crisis.

What’s a good season? If they get everyone back, Tailteann semi-finals.

20 Sligo

Manager: Tony McEntee (4th season)

Only had Waterford and London behind them when McEntee took over, now they’re a solid Division Three team with a gang of under-20s coming up behind them. Niall Murphy and Seán Carrabine spearhead a dangerous attack.

What’s a good season? Must fancy a genuine crack at the Tailteann Cup.

19 Clare

Manager: Mark Fitzgerald (1st season)

To have lost so many players over the winter and still be in the promotion hunt on the last day of Division Three is some going. Clare haven’t been in back-to-back Munster finals since the 1930s – the path is there for them.

What’s a good season? Munster runners-up, respectability in the Sam Maguire.

18 Kildare

Manager: Glenn Ryan (3rd season)

Since the start of last year’s championship, Kildare’s record reads: Played 13 Won 2 Drew 1 Lost 10. The lowest scorers in the top two divisions, they only put up one total higher than 0-12 in the league. Zero signs of life.

What’s a good season? A Leinster final might salvage something.

17 Fermanagh

Manager: Kieran Donnelly (3rd season)

Relegated despite decent performances in Division Two. The rise of Sigerson winners Ronan McCaffrey and Josh Largo-Ellis is a plus, alleviating the losses of Sean Quigley and Ronan and Conall Jones. Time to start winning Tailteann matches – they’ve only beaten Leitrim and Longford so far.

What’s a good season? Tailteann semi-finals should be in reach.

16 Down

Manager: Conor Laverty (second season)

Finished unbeaten in the regulation matches in Division Three, but lost another Croke Park final last weekend, nine months after their Tailteann Cup loss. The second highest scorers in all four divisions (behind Dublin). Likely to surrender their Sam Maguire place to the lower division team that reaches the Munster final.

What’s a good season? To win the Tailteann Cup

15 Westmeath

Manager: Dessie Dolan (second season)

Escaped from Division Three at the third attempt, and capped their promotion with a fine win in Croke Park last weekend. Came a cropper early in last year’s Leinster championship, but will fancy themselves against Wicklow this weekend and Kildare in the next round. Nineteen different scorers in the league, an exceptional spread.

What’s a good season? Reaching the Leinster final

14 Louth

Manager: Ger Brennan (first season)

Recovered well from Mikey Harte’s sudden defection to maintain their Division Two status on the last day of the league. The outstanding Sam Mulroy kicked 4-30 during the campaign but they don’t seem to have a rainy day fund if Mulroy has an off-day. An inviting draw could land them in the Leinster final again.

What’s a good season? Top 12

13 Meath

Manager: Colm O’Rourke (second season)

Finished in the bottom half of Division Two, having failed to win any of their last three league matches. A low-yield attack delivered just three goals and left them in the bottom six for overall points scored across the four divisions. An exceptionally young squad with a beefed up middle eight but no discernible prospects.

What’s a good season? Top 12

12 Cork

Manager: John Cleary (third season; one as interim manager)

Came to life in the second half of the league with comeback victories on the road against Meath and Fermanagh and strong performances against Kildare and Armagh. Conor Corbett is blossoming into the leader of the Cork attack and Colm O’Callaghan has been terrific at centre field. Defensive frailties remain.

What’s a good season? All-Ireland quarter-finals.

11 Cavan

Manager: Raymond Galligan (first season)

A hammering from Armagh in round six and a final day defeat against Fermanagh were at odds with a hugely encouraging return to Division Two. Condemned to the cut-throat side of the draw in Ulster they have at least beaten this weekend’s opponents, Monaghan, in their last two championship meetings (2019 and 2020).

What’s a good season? Top 12

10 Monaghan

Manager: Vinny Corey (second season)

A run of four heavy defeats in the middle of the league hastened an end to their decade-long residence in Division One, and left them with the worst points against total of any team in the four divisions. Six of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final team drifted away, although Rory Beggan may be available this weekend.

What’s a good season? All-Ireland quarter-finals.

9 Roscommon

Manager: Davy Burke (second season)

A league campaign characterised by expensive final quarters ended in relegation from Division One. St Brigid’s run to the All-Ireland final was disruptive and Ben O’Carroll ultimately missed the entire league through injury. Ciaran Murtagh’s absence for the year significantly undermines their attack.

What’s a good season? All-Ireland quarter-finals.

8 Armagh

Manager: Kieran McGeeney (tenth season)

Armagh had a decent Division Two league campaign and gained promotion with five wins and two draws. They had six clean sheets in a row and their only concession of goals came against Cork. Armagh’s squad is deeper now than at any previous stage during McGeeney’s tenure.

What’s a good season? Win the Ulster title, contest an All-Ireland semi-final

7 Donegal

Manager: Jim McGuinness (first season, second term)

McGuinness achieved his first target in securing promotion back to Division One. They face a tough path in the Ulster SFC but are more than capable of taking big scalps in the All-Ireland series, if they can keep their key players injury free.

What’s a good season? Win the Ulster title, contest an All-Ireland semi-final

6 Galway

Manager: Pádraic Joyce (fifth season)

Decimated with injuries again this season, Joyce must wonder if he inadvertently walked under a shedload of ladders at some stage. Galway are a team driven by the brilliant Seán Kelly but if they are to win Sam they need Shane Walsh and Damien Comer fit and on the field.

What’s a good season? Win the All-Ireland

5 Tyrone

Manager: Brian Dooher

If Tyrone could only find some consistency they would be a significant force in the All-Ireland race this summer. However, inconsistency has become their trademark, so another rollercoaster peaks and valleys championship looks to be in store.

What’s a good season? Their peak would be winning an All-Ireland

4 Mayo

Manager: Kevin McStay (second season)

Mayo didn’t go full pelt to try retain the Division One title, and as a result their league campaign mixed the good with the bad. There remains a question mark over whether Mayo have the scoring threat to go all the way and win Sam Maguire, but when did that ever stop them trying.

What’s a good season? Sure look … you know yourself

3 Kerry

Manager: Jack O’Connor (third season, third term)

A mixed bag from Kerry during the league, who never quite hit the heights for a prolonged spell during the campaign. However, they possibly got what they wanted from the league, though in their pursuit of Sam they will need injured defender Jason Foley back for the All-Ireland series.

What’s a good season? Win the All-Ireland

2 Dublin

Manager: Dessie Farrell (fifth season)

Lost their first two games of the league but bounced back with a string of impressive performances to contest the final, losing on penalties. Dublin will learn a lot from that decider, and they have the likes of James McCarthy, Michael Fitzsimons and Stephen Cluxton to return – though the trio’s obvious lack of game-time in 2024 could be an issue.

What’s a good season? Retain the All-Ireland

1 Derry

Manager: Mickey Harte (first season)

Derry’s record under Mickey Harte; played two competitions, won two competitions – they enter the championship having claimed the McKenna Cup and the Division One league title. Derry carry a scoring threat from every line of the pitch, were the second highest scorers in Division One and boasted the best defensive record.

What’s a good season? Win the All-Ireland

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