Allianz Fooball League 2020 Preview
What to watch out for
Over the festive period whilst many of us were cozy by the fire, footballers across the country were training and preparing for the kickoff of what is sure to be another year of superb sporting drama. With the Allianz National Football League starting on January 25th, we can’t wait to see the Cork Footballers back in action. With eye catching fixtures across the divisions it’s a chance for counties to build on last year’s performances, or start on a fresh slate.
With Cork finding themselves in division three for the first time in their history, they will be keen to use the lower division as a springboard to allow players and staff to build confidence ahead of the all-important championship during the summer. With a heart breaking loss in the McGrath cup to Limerick this month there is all the more reason for Cork to prove the doubters wrong and get their season off to a winning start against Offaly on the 25th. With all Ireland honours at both minor and under twenty level along with the return of 2010 all Ireland winner Ciarán Sheehan to the fold from a stint in the AFL, there is lots of reasons to be optimistic about Cork football this coming season.
In Division one a repeat of last years All Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry is the opening fixture many of us are sure to have our eyes on, as two of the countries heavy weights go face to face. With throw-in at 7.15pm on the 25th, the fixture has the added twist of new Dublin boss Dessie Farrell looking for his side to bounce back from a defeat in his first game to Longford in the O’Byrne cup. Elsewhere in division one the reigning League champions Mayo begin their title defense against Donegal in Ballybofey.
All the staring action isn’t confined to division one this year as teams like Cavan, Roscommon and Kildare in division two are more than capable of blowing away any team on their day. Division three newcomers Derry and Leitrim will go head to head on opening day for the first time since their division four final faceoff in Croke Park last March. Division 4 can often prove to be a sticking place for many of the counties with smaller populations, or counties which prioritize hurling which also commences on the 25th of January. Hurling strongholds such as Limerick and Waterford will have to find a way to pull themselves out of the league’s lowest division.
Rules To Watch For
An interesting new aspect to keep an eye out for in the league this season is the introduction of three new rules which could really change the game. The new sin bin rule takes the place of the black card. The rule means following a cynical tackle the player guilty of the offense must leave the pitch for ten minutes. The new advanced mark rule means that a kick over 20 metre into the oppositions 45 metre line results in a mark where the player has fifteen seconds to decide on whether to take the mark or proceed. We feel this rule will seriously benefit teams who play taller inside forwards as it will reward catching long balls in the opposition’s area. Kick outs now must be taken from the 20 metre line, travel at least 13 metres and cannot go backwards.
Here at Chill we can’t wait for the new footballing season to begin. We would also like to wish the Cork football team the best of luck in the upcoming season. Be sure to follow updates using the #CorkGAA on Twitter.