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Allianz League: Headline acts bring sparkle to Division 2

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Rarely has the prospect of Division 2 football provided so much intrigue as the new Allianz League programme gets set to throw in this weekend.The ingredients are all there – two provincial champions, one of those a team deemed by many to be best equipped to deal with Kerry, a three-time All-Ireland winning manager, the longest-serving football manager of the same team and a series of matches that look impossibly tough to call.That's before we even mention the fact that the retention of Division 2 status come April greatly increases a team's chances of competing for Sam Maguire in the overhauled All-Ireland championship.

That is not to say that avoiding relegation to the third tier is 100% protection against Tailteann Cup participation. More on that later.One of those two provincial champions, and the side who will be targeting honours much greater than a Division 2 title are, of course, Dessie Farrell's Dublin who fell through the trapdoor last March after Jack McCarron’s late free provided salvation for Monaghan but condemned the Leinster men, who last played outside the top flight in 2008, to relegation.While Division 2 should be littered with close encounters, Dublin’s participation in those are expected to be fleeting at best.

Cork in 2020 were the last side to win seven from seven in the league, the Rebels achieving that feat in Division 3, and that’s a very attainable target for Dublin.

At times, they played some brilliant football in a highly-competitive recent challenge game with Armagh.It’s now three seasons since Dublin lifted Sam Maguire, a veritable famine given how successful they have been since their modern period of domination began in 2011 [eight titles in 10 years for the record] but they have enjoyed

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