Tuesday 12 December 2017

Red Hand duel far from second grade

WE'RE a few months shy of the annual May moan about the All-Ireland SFC championship failing to provide a worthy battle to christen its re-emergence on the Irish sporting landscape, but at least Division 2 of the Allianz Football League suffers from no such aberration.

Kildare versus Tyrone in Croke Park is about as juicy as Gaelic football gets just now, regardless of the division, and despite league form not being either side's speciality recently, both have shown unseasonably fluid form in pre-season.

The pair will probably slug it out at the top of the second flight, but given that Kildare have just two home games this year, Kieran McGeeney can take nothing for granted.

He can, however, take great heart from a January which included a victory over the Dubs and the return to the Kildare jersey of a string of 2011 injury absentees.

The Tyrone dressing room may be down 18 All-Ireland medals via retirements, but now, at least, a layer of talented youngsters can push on.

Meath should be better than last year, but their away form is traditionally tragic.

And Derry, as ever, could be the dark horses.

Neither Galway nor Monaghan will find the air thicker after slumping a grade last year, while the Division 3 promotion sides, Louth and Westmeath, are odds-on favourites to go straight back down.

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