Football rankings: as you were for 'Big 4'

08 August 2017

The end line on the Cusack Stand side at Croke Park ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Here’s the latest instalment of our football rankings.

1. DUBLIN (no change)

It’s as you were for the champions after their 10-point hammering of Monaghan in last Saturday evening’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. The top team in the country will welcome back Diarmuid Connolly from suspension on the eve of their semi-final date with Tyrone two weeks from Sunday.  

2. KERRY (no change)

Kerry had minimal fuss against Galway last Sunday week and are 1/2 favourites to book their place into a third All-Ireland decider in four years against Mayo. As things stand, the Kingdom are still on course to win every competition they’ve been involved in this season.

3. TYRONE (no change)

The Ulster champions delivered an emphatic 18-point win over old rivals Armagh last Saturday and many fancy them to give Dublin their fill of it on Sunday fortnight. Can Mickey Harte’s side ruin the capital men’s three-in-a-row bid cometh the hour?

4. MAYO (no change)

Mayo’s doubters were certainly silenced on Monday after their dismantling of Roscommon at Croke Park. After a rocky road through the qualifiers, Stephen Rochford’s team look to be gathering their form together at just the right time once again.

5. GALWAY (up 1)

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 (up 2)

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 (down 1)

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 (down 3)

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 (up 2)

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. On the lookout for a new manager, the Rebels will have to rebuild again next season.

12. DOWN (down 2)

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.

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 for Niall Carew and his players to build on looking ahead to next season.

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’ll be hoping that a new man in charge can bring better fortunes in 2018.

24. LAOIS (no change)

Crushed by Kildare in Leinster, things went from bad to worse for Peter Creddon’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. 

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.

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.