Division Three is the clear hipsters’ selection on the subject of the 2023 league. The pondering fan’s crumpet. No one in it’s going to bother the All-Eire, granted. However it has the makings of a cut-throat couple of months all the identical, with the prospect of a significant championship season to observe.
Rather a lot is product of the Tailteann Cup cut-off and the dangled carrot of Sam Maguire soccer for the groups that claw their means out of Division Three. However when all involves all, how a lot of a carrot is that basically? Suppose again to final yr. Who had a greater 2022 – Louth and Limerick who received promoted and had been each comfortably crushed by Cork within the qualifiers subsequent trip? Or Westmeath, who adopted up a decent third place with a run via the Tailteann Cup and a trophy to parade via Mullingar?
Effectively, the excellent news for all Division Three groups – in the event that they select to see it as such – is that they in all probability received’t need to compete for the Sam Maguire, no matter how properly they do on this league. As Tailteann champions, Westmeath have an automated spot within the larger tier for the All-Eire collection and since a Division 4 aspect is unquestionably going to be within the Connacht remaining, that’s going to imply no league path to Sam for the opposite seven there.
All of which implies that they’ll go full-bore for the Division Three title and nonetheless finish the yr with an opportunity of carrying off silverware within the Tailteann Cup. None of them would ever say as a lot out loud however you’d need to suspect that each one of those counties is eyeing up the sensible probability of getting two cups at their end-of-year dinner dances, and received’t be particularly heartbroken by the prospect of avoiding the All-Eire qualifiers come the beginning of June.
As for the way it would possibly all play out, the division is notable for the presence of 4 Ulster groups – the primary time that’s occurred in Division Three since 2013. Not solely ought to that result in chunky sufficient crowds most weekends, will probably be no large shock if all of them take factors off one another at numerous phases. Definitely, there doesn’t seem like a Cork or a Kildare right here, no higher-up who has momentarily fallen on onerous occasions and would possibly go away everybody for mud.
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On that rating, it’s some tribute to Conor Laverty’s teaching status that Down are the bookies’ favourites to win the entire thing out, regardless of being with no league or championship victory since Might 2021. Even permitting for preseason inexperienced shoots, Down have gone via such a torrid few seasons that will probably be some turnaround in the event that they’re ok to bounce straight again as much as Division Two, significantly with out the supreme abilities of Caolán Mooney. Laverty is certainly one of 5 first-year managers within the division however already expectation is beginning to bubble.
The 2 longest-serving are David Energy of Tipperary and Cavan’s Mickey Graham. For each of them, the glories of the pandemic provincial championships are a very long time within the rear-view mirror now, albeit that the Tipp gamers lastly received their Munster medals introduced to them over Christmas. Of the pair, Cavan appear to be the extra upwardly cellular, retaining a very good crew of the gamers who ended the famine for them.
Tipp, however, might need to tug just a few rabbits from the hat to remain up. They’ve misplaced lots of expertise and expertise since 2020 and must scrap for every thing on away journeys to Longford, Westmeath, Cavan and Fermanagh.
Relegated: Antrim and Tipperary