The league can be a great indication of counties All-Ireland title chances and if the opening week of fixtures are any indication, it is going to be the most open title race we have seen in a long time.
Going into this new season there are several interesting storylines to think about. Tyrone’s post-title hangover, the vengeful Dubs, Mayo finally overcoming their demons and Kerry’s new manager. Of course, these are not the only competitors, Armagh will be fancying their chances after upsetting a poor Dublin team and division 2 teams will hope to show it’s not the division that counts.
In division 2 the opening week showed that Galway are a team to be reckoned with after dismantling Meath and Roscommon are a team that are always there or there abouts in this division. Other than this it will be interesting to see how Offaly do after winning the under 20 All-Ireland last year and also how Andy Moran’s Leitrim will do.
In terms of league glory in division 1 it will be hard to look past Tyrone and Mayo again who despite the opening round draws still look to be the strongest in the division. In division 2, after the opening week Galway look to be nailed on favourites with plenty of talent in the team you would have to hope from a Galway perspective this is the year that they put it all together in the league and the championship.
In division 3, Westmeath have showed they have what it takes to win promotion and finally in division 4 Cavan are too good to remain in the basement for too long. The league is where teams put it together and with Dublin’s dominance recently ended and they look so far to be a long ways off their best it would not be outrageous to say that the league winners, whoever they may be, will be odds on favourite to win the All-Ireland this summer.
Looking at the players who are hoping to have a big season there is last year’s player of the year Kiernan McGeary, Mayo’s Oisin Mullen will look to build on two young player of the year wins after deciding to stay in Ireland.
From a Galway point of view, the likes of Shane Walsh and Damien Comer will need to realize their true potential if they are to help Galway to be in contention for the All-Ireland but, focus on the league is what is required first to bring Galway back to the level they belong.