Football rankings: Mayo keep up the climb
12 September 2017
Groundsmen apply the finishing touches to the pitch at Croke Park ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Here’s the latest instalment of our football rankings.
1. DUBLIN (no change)
It was business as usual for the All-Ireland champions on Sunday as they dismantled Mickey Harte’s Tyrone side to stroll into their third consecutive Sam Maguire Cup decider. They are red-hot favourites this weekend and rightly so. With such a wide range of quality in so many departments, Jim Gavin’s side look unconquerable at present and Mayo will have it all to do in trying deny him and his players a fourth Celtic Cross in five seasons.
2. MAYO (up 2)
The 2017 championship has been an incredible journey for Mayo and while the semi-final replay victory over Kerry saw Stephen Rochford’s men reach new heights on their season, they’ll certainly be hoping that it’s not the pinnacle for them. The Westerners delivered against the Kingdom and will need to do likewise come the third Sunday in September to avoid more final pain against the Dubs. The character and quality is certainly there to do so.
3. KERRY (down 1)
Kerry’s season crumbled before them in their semi-final replay with Mayo, marking the county’s first championship loss to the Westerners in 21 years, and it’s unclear at present whether or not Eamonn Fitzmaurice will be back at the helm again next year. More National League and Munster SFC titles were added to the pile in 2017 but, as is well known, those alone aren’t enough to suffice in the Kingdom where the bar is set so high.
4. TYRONE (down 1)
Dublin v Tyrone failed to live up to its billing as the latter simply fell flat against the capital juggernaut at Croke Park. In what was Sean Cavanagh’s last game at inter-county level, the Ulster champions’ ‘no show’ was a major let down considering how comfortably they strolled into the All-Ireland semis and the 12-point margin that existed between themselves and the Dubs is what sees them slipping down the pecking order here. Mickey Harte has since been given a three year extension at the helm of the county.
5. GALWAY (no change)
Kevin Walsh’s side may have let the Connacht crown slip from their grasp but they responded brilliantly against a fancied Donegal side in the backdoor before going down to Kerry, as scripted, in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
6. MONAGHAN (no change)
Malachy O’Rourke’s Monaghan side took their shot at revenge by dishing out an eight-point defeat to their Ulster conquerors Down at the end of last month. The Farney men didn’t have the same joy on their return to Croker last Saturday though as the Dubs ended their season with plenty to spare.
7. ROSCOMMON (no change)
The Rossies came agonisingly close to a long-awaited All-Ireland semi-final appearance but Mayo salvaged a draw against them before tearing them apart in Monday’s replay. It was simply a bad day at the office for Kevin McStay and his players.
8. KILDARE (no change)
The Lilywhites failed to make their return All-Ireland quarter-finals after being upset by Armagh last month. The Orchard men’s forward line caught fire and a potential last eight clash with Tyrone never came to fruition for Cian O’Neill’s charges.
9. DONEGAL (no change)
Galway made sure it was a summer to forget for Donegal after dishing them out a 15-point hammering at Markievicz Park. Incredibly, it could have been much worse for the Tir Chonaill County but for Paddy McBrearty’s contribution and it was to be Rory Gallagher’s last game in charge.
10. ARMAGH (no change)
Kieran McGeeney’s team may have been blown out of the water by Tyrone at the weekend but they had a fine summer all things considered. After defeating Tipperary in Thurles in round three of the qualifiers, the Orchard men went one better the next day to bring the curtain down on Kildare’s season.
11. CORK (no change)
Cork may have died with their boots on against Mayo in what was the game of the championship thus far in Limerick, but their 11-point loss in the Munster final is what has saw them slip down the pecking order here. With Ronan McCarthy appointed as their new manager, the Rebels will have to rebuild again next season.
12. DOWN (no change)
Things went downhill for the Mourne men after their shock Ulster semi-final win over Monaghan, losing the northern province’s decider to Tyrone by eight points, before the same margin separated them and the Farney men in the last 12.
13. TIPPERARY (no change)
Things looked to be rosy again for Tipp when they went up to Cavan, climbed back from a six-point half-time deficit and came home from the Breffni County with another memorable qualifier victory. However, a home defeat to Armagh soon brought Liam Kearns’ men crashing back down to earth.
14. MEATH (no change)
Meath were no match for Kildare in their Leinster semi-final and they failed to get a qualifier run going as a win over Sligo was followed by a one-point defeat at home to Donegal. Andy McEntee will have hoped for a longer summer than that for the Royals and one would imagine that promotion to Division 1 will be top priority for them next season.
15. CAVAN (no change)
Mattie McGleenan’s first season in charge of the Breffni County reaped just two wins from 10 outings between league and championship and they exited the latter in disappointing fashion to say the least. Leading by six points against Tipperary at half-time, the Blues fell a part in the second-half to see another season crumble in early July.
16. DERRY (no change)
Derry ran into another Tyrone haymaker in round one before dispatching Waterford and pushing Mayo to the pin of their collars in the backdoor. An early extra time blitz made the difference for the home side in Castlebar in the end, ensuring it was Damian Barton’s last game at the helm for the Oak Leafers. Minor boss Damian McErlain will take the senior role after the Tom Markham decider.
17. CLARE (no change)
The Banner men gave Kerry somewhat of a scare in Munster before ripping Laois a part on their own home turf in the qualifiers. Goals from the O’Connor brothers in Ennis helped Mayo to show them the exit door and it’s now back to the drawing board for Colm Collins and his players ahead of 2018.
18. CARLOW (no change)
The surprise package of this year’s championship hit the ground running against Wexford before battling bravely for the first 35 minutes against all-conquering Dublin in Portlaoise. The Barrowsiders accounted for London and Leitrim in the backdoor ahead of giving hot-favourites Monaghan the fright of their lives down in Newatch Cullen Park.
19. SLIGO (no change)
The Yeats men put up 0-22 on Antrim after their exit from Connacht and pushed Meath all the way in Navan, where Michael Newman’s late contribution proved crucial for the hosts. Their qualifier win over the Saffrons saw them hit an impressive twelve consecutive points, so there’s plenty to build on looking ahead to next season. However, Niall Carew will no longer be in charge after citing work commitments for his reason for standing down.
20. WESTMEATH (no change)
A 31-point hammering in the championship is almost always impossible to lift yourself from, but the Lake men very nearly did it only to be denied by Armagh late on in Mullingar. They’re another county on the lookout for a new boss after Tom Cribbin’s decision to step down.
21. LONGFORD (no change)
The Midlanders made the climb here after upsetting Louth in Drogheda in the first round of the qualifiers and running Donegal close up in Ballybofey, where the visitors looked like producing another giant slaying for long stages.
22. LOUTH (no change)
League and championship proved to be two very different landscapes for Louth in 2017. The Wee County’s only positive this summer came in the form of an unconvincing five-point win over struggling Wicklow. Afterwards Meath put 0-27 up on them and Longford ended their season in an upset in Drogheda. Colin Kelly’s resignation quickly followed.
23. FERMANAGH (no change)
The Ernesiders conceded a whopping 1-40 in their two championship outings this summer and last month’s defeat to Armagh would see Pete McGrath eventually resigning his managerial post, having originally indicated that he was staying at the helm. They moved quickly to appoint Rory Gallagher and will hope for better fortunes in 2018.
24. LAOIS (no change)
Crushed by Kildare in Leinster, things went from bad to worse for Peter Creedon’s men in the qualifiers after only edging by Wicklow in Round 1A. In the end, 10 points separated themselves and Clare in Portlaoise on July 1. Certain club delegates called for Creedon to stand down and he duly handed in his notice shortly afterwards.
25. OFFALY (no change)
Offaly will have a new man over them next season after Pat Flanagan’s departure came off the back of championship defeats to Westmeath (after a replay) and Cavan.
26. ANTRIM (no change)
Totally outclassed by Donegal the first day, the Saffrons ended up conceding 0-22 to Sligo at Markievicz Park, where they had led at half-time before Jack Dowling’s sending off. Joint managers Gearoid Adams and Frank Fitzsimons have departed after a dispute over the reappointment process.
27. WEXFORD (no change)
Seamus McEnaney’s championship bow with Wexford saw him gaining only one win (over Limerick), with Carlow upsetting them in the first round and his native Monaghan emphatically bringing down the curtain on their season. The Model men are now searching for Banty’s replacement.
28. LEITRIM (no change)
No move from Leitrim here as their 17-point loss to Roscommon was backed up by defeat to Carlow.
29. WATERFORD (no change)
That Munster quarter-final against Cork must seem like a distant memory to Deise fans now with Derry having ended their season more than a month and a half ago.
30. LIMERICK (no change)
Limerick pushed Clare close in round one but failed to seize their opportunity against Wexford at the Gaelic Grounds, where they went down to the Model men by a point in the end.
31. WICKLOW (no change)
It was two games and two defeats for Wicklow this summer and last month saw manager Johnny Magee step down after three years in charge of the Garden County.
32. LONDON (no change)
The Exiles went down by a single score to Leitrim in Connacht before doing the same against Carlow on their home patch.
33. NEW YORK (no change)
New York made it difficult for Sligo for long periods in May’s championship opener but when the fitness levels kicked in the Yeats men were able to take home a 1-21 to 1-13 victory from the Bronx.