If there was ever a group of death Division 2 of the league is one. Realistically any of the 8 teams, Cavan, Clare, Meath, Roscommon, Cork, Down, Louth, Meath or Tipperary can win it. The opening weekend begins on the Saturday the 27th of January, Clare will host Cavan and Cork will host Tipperary. The following day then, Louth will host Down and Meath will make the trip to Roscommon.Once again, I have broken each team down and gave a prediction on how I think it will all plan outcome March/April.
Cork: Will need big performances from the get go if they are to get promoted here. They should be in the shake up and I can see them ratcheting up some big wins. Difficult opening game against Tipperary. Players like Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan, Peter Kelleher and Colm O’Neill should have all big years, promotion likely.
Cavan: Relegated from the top flight last year. Made no impact in division, can see them making a better jist of things here in division 2. Players like Seanie Johnston, Gearoid McKiernan, Niall McDermott and Dara McVeety all need to step up once again. Mid table finish probably.
Meath: Will be dark horses for the division in my opinion. Have some good players in their ranks, Donal Lenihan, James Toher, Cillian O’Sullivan. While Shane McEntee, Mickey Burke and Bryan Menton are experienced players now. Won’t be far away from promotion.
Down: Down were Ulster finalists last year when comprehensively beaten by Tyrone. They will come into the league campaign knowing that promotion is possible. The opening game for them is a trip to Drogheda to play Louth. They will look to players like Conor Maginn, Conor Harrison, Jerome Johnson and Ryan Johnston. They have good quality players, however I don’t see them making a mark on promotion they may struggle, relegation contenders for me.
Tipperary: Tipperary open their account against Cork in what will be a tough opening game for them. They will target games against Clare and Louth especially. Much will depend on the performance of Michael Quinlivan, Conor Sweeney, Paddy Codd and Josh Keane. A mid table finish I predict for Tipperary if they get wins over Louth and Clare.
Clare: Pushed Kerry in Munster last year but ran out of steam in second half. Made a good go at the qualifiers as well. Some good players like Gary Brennan, Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy and Cathal O’Connor. Will need to hit the ground running in opening day game against Cavan or will fall behind. Should be to strong for Tipperary and Louth at home.
Louth: Louth under new manager Pete McGrath are odds on to go back down to Division 3. Pete McGrath will be looking to players like Eoin O’Connor, John Bingham, Ryan Burns and Tommy Durnin. Honestly think Louth will be up against it in this division. Relegation contenders.
Roscommon: Roscommon were relegated from the top flight last year, so they will be looking for a swift return. They will look to Ciaran and Diarmuid Murtagh, Niall Kilroy and Donie Smith for leadership. I think they would fancy there chances of a return to the top flight.
Promotion: Cork and Roscommon
Relegation: Louth and Down