Football rankings: the picture is becoming clearer

July 11, 2019

The Sam Maguire Cup. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer.

Here are our latest football rankings as the Super 8s are about to begin.

1. DUBLIN (no change)

Still the team to beat and it’s unlikely they will fail to collect a fifth successive All-Ireland. Jim Gavin’s men thumped Meath in the Leinster final despite never getting into top gear and will ease through the Super 8s.

2. DONEGAL (no change)

Declan Bonner’s charges made light work of Cavan in the Ulster final, where they won pulling up. It’ll be interesting to see how much they can kick on in the quarter-finals, where they are in a tough group against Kerry, Mayo and Meath. No room for error in there.

3. TYRONE (up 4)

The Red Hands shoot up the rankings again, having shot down them following their Ulster semi-final loss to Donegal. Last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists look to be back in the groove and will be in the shake-up again. Whether they can dethrone Dublin is another matter entirely, of course.

4. ROSCOMMON (down 1)

The Rossies were the first team through to the Super 8s and haven’t played since. The only reason they slip down is because Tyrone have been so impressive in the Qualifiers, but they have a great opportunity of giving the Red Hands a black eye in Dr Hyde Park on Saturday!

5. KERRY (down 1)

The Kingdom struggled in their Munster championship victories over Clare and Cork but might hit top form now that the All-Ireland series is about to begin. Strangely, considering that it’s mid-July, Peter Keane’s men remain a bit of an unknown quantity.

6. CORK (up 3)

The Rebels continue to rise! Considering that they were ranked 19th before the championship started, they’ve had quite a summer so far. Really rattled Kerry in the Munster final and smashed a reasonable Laois side in Round Four of the Qualifiers. All while playing a nice brand of off-the-cuff attacking football.

7. MAYO (down 1)

On one hand, James Horan’s men have had the rub of the green to get into the Super 8s. On the other, they’ve shown incredible resilience and heart to make the last eight. Mayo always find a way and it would be foolish to write them off in any game, even when they look to be on their last legs.

8. MEATH (no change)

Promotion – tick. Leinster final – tick. Super 8s – tick. The Royals’ three key objectives for the year have been achieved. They haven’t always played brilliantly but they are where they want to be and there’s definite room for improvement. Fell over the line against Clare but the pressure is off now…

9. ARMAGH (up 3)

Of all the teams that failed to make the Super 8s, the Orchard County were definitely the most unfortunate. Okay, they were architects of their own downfall in the Ulster championship, beating themselves against Cavan to an extent. But Kieran McGeaney’s men rose to the challenge in the Qualifiers and were very hard done by in Castlebar.

10. CLARE (up 10)

Granted, they benefited from being in Munster and also from a favourable Round Three Qualifier draw against Leitrim, but Colm Collins’ charges pushed Meath all the way at Portlaoise last Sunday and are another team who can consider themselves unlucky to be out of the championship.

11. CAVAN (down 6)

The Breffni County enjoyed a decent summer but it ended on a bad note as they were thoroughly dismantled by both Donegal and Tyrone. In their defence, however, it should be noted that those two teams are a cut above most.

12. GALWAY (down 1)

Showed flashes of what they can do in their Round Four Qualifier defeat to Mayo but also showed their unimpressive side again. A team with so much quality should be doing a lot better. The real shame for Galway is that they didn’t die with their boots on.

13. DOWN (up 2)

The Mourne County produced very spirited displays against Armagh and Mayo in the two championship games they lost in 2019. Definitely seem to be moving in the right direction.

14. KILDARE (down 4)

When push came to shove, the Lilywhites didn’t put up much of a show against Tyrone. Look way off the pace and it was a disappointing year.

15. MONAGHAN (down 2)

Considering that they are (just about) still in Division One and have three All Stars in their team, Monaghan had a championship to forget. Resoundingly dispatched by Armagh and the loss of manager Malachy O’Rourke leaves them in limbo for the time being.

16. LAOIS (down 2)

Did okay in some games but the defeat to Cork was every bit as humiliating as the one against Meath.

17. WESTMEATH (up 2)

Got past Waterford and Limerick as one would have expected and were bang out of luck against Clare, when a combination of injuries and black cards conspired to make life more difficult than it ought to have been.

18. LONGFORD (down 2)

Made a better fist of trying to beat Tyrone in the Qualifiers than anyone else did. Had a good year.

19. OFFALY (up 3)

Came within two points of Meath in Navan and the Royals are now in the Super 8s. Beat London and Sligo in the Qualifiers and ran Laois close. Progress made under John Maughan.

20. DERRY (down 3)

Derry’s decent year ended on a bum note when they lost at home to a Laois side that failed to push on. It would have been interesting to see the Oak Leafers playing Cork.

21. FERMANAGH (down 3)

Two outings in the championship and defeat was Fermanagh’s lot on both occasions, albeit against sides that many teams might struggle to make an impression against.

22. ANTRIM (down 1)

The Saffrons announced their arrival into the summer season with a brilliant victory away to Louth in the first round of the Qualifiers but were brushed aside by Kildare at Corrigan Park.

23. LIMERICK (up 2)

The victory over Tipperary was magnificent and, although they were resoundingly beaten by Cork, the Treaty County redeemed themselves with a battling display away to Westmeath.

24. LEITRIM (no change)

Victory over Wicklow was the only high point of Leitrim’s summer.

25. SLIGO (down 2)

Certainly won’t feel that they set the world on fire in the championship, failing to win a game.

26. TIPPERARY (no change)

Tried valiantly to rebound from their shock defeat to Limerick but were pipped to the post by Down in Newry.

27. LOUTH (no change)

The hammering at the hands of Dublin left the Wee County demoralised and they were bitterly disappointing as they crashed out of the championship at home to Antrim.

28. WICKLOW (no change)

Pushed Leitrim all the way but the Garden County’s year ended in Carrick-on-Shannon.

29. CARLOW (no change)

There were mitigating circumstances of course but in many ways the ten-point home defeat to Longford was a fitting end to Carlow’s year to forget.

30. LONDON (no change)

It’s all over for the Exiles but they were impressive against Galway and scored 1-11 in Tullamore. Another team now on the lookout for a new manager.

31. WATERFORD (no change)

Were no match for Westmeath but did test Clare prior to that.

32. WEXFORD (no change)

The home defeat to Derry in the first round of the Qualifiers was not what the doctor ordered.

33. NEW YORK (no change)

Didn’t get an opportunity to redeem themselves in the Qualifiers.

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