Division 2 sides fail to provide spark in summer openers...

May 14, 2019

Tipperary's Conor Sweeney and Sean O'Dea of Limerick during the Munster SFC clash at Thurles

This past weekend proved a bit of a struggle for some of the country’s ‘second tier’ football sides, proving once again that league and championship are two entirely different animals.

Meath, Kildare and Clare all scrapped over the line in their respective championship openers, while Liam Kearns’ Tipperary side were victims of the 2019 championship’s first shock after going down (comprehensively) at home to 9/1 outsiders Limerick.

Tipp were a mere kick of a ball away from promotion to Division 1 of the National League in 2018, but were demoted in bottom place this year by Clare at the end of what was widely viewed as a competitive Division 2 campaign.

The Banner men only squeezed past Waterford on a 0-9 to 0-8 score-line in Ennis, while Cian O’Neill’s Kildare side had a two-point margin (0-15 to 1-10) to spare over a fired-up Wicklow outfit at Netwatch Cullen Park, where the Lilywhites had led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the half and wasted an array of second-half chances before booking the win.

Meath were wasteful against Offaly in Navan too and, having topped Division 2 after seven games, very nearly failed to live up to their billing as strong favourites. They had trailed John Maughan’s men by 0-13 to 0-12 with eight minutes left to play at Pairc Tailteann before Bryan McMahon bagged the all-important goal that let the hosts breathe a sigh of relief as they held out for the two-point win.

Armagh, Cork, Donegal and Fermanagh will all have surely taken note as they get set to embark on their summer campaigns.

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