Not since 2018 — when Dublin followed up a Division 1 title with the fourth All-Ireland SFC in a row —has the league/championship double been achieved.
Notwithstanding the last two truncated leagues, the league’s potency as a harbinger for the championship is in need of a little repair. After all, from 2003 to ‘18, there were nine double champions.
Seeing as he has led Kerry to Division 1 and All-Ireland SFC titles in the first year of his two previous seasons in charge, Jack O’Connor will be looked on as the great hope to restore that link.
But just how important is the league for Kerry and the other All-Ireland contenders?
More than those who are fighting to join them in the Sam Maguire Cup later this year?
While Mickey Harte’s claim that only Division 1 teams need apply for All-Ireland SFC glory remains true, there will be more at stake for Division 2 and 3 teams as they look to avoid the Tailteann Cup, the bottom two in Division 2 losing their entry to the qualifier, unless they reach a provincial final, and the top pair in Division 3 gaining backdoor admission.
We evaluate the worth of the competition to all 32 competitors:
— Extremely Important.
Clare — Very important.
— Fairly important.