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Laois best placed to make rapid return

THE second tier's Hollywood pairing of Tyrone and Kildare have departed for top-flight football, leaving a cast of dirt-trackers, wannabes and 'not-quite-yet' teams knocking around Division 2.

Or that's the perception.

Because if Division 1 is the strongest mix of teams to make up the league's shiniest cocktail glass in living memory, a natural knock-on is the watery dilution of the next rung down.

Of the two teams looking to make an immediate return to Division 1, Laois look the more ripe after a determined All-Ireland quarter-final performance against Dublin and by the fact that Justin McNulty has his feet firmly planted under the table.

Armagh too will be looking at immediate reascension, but without the benefit of stability - they've a new manager are without the Crossmaglen battalion, possibly until mid-March.

Outside of that, you couldn't find a line of form with a microscope and a night-light.

Galway have specialised in 'silencing the doubters' too early in the year and then rousing them again to full voice. Westmeath should, in theory anyway, be able to construct something.