By James McMahon
Amid this winter of meteorological turbulence, the start of the Allianz Football League brought about on onslaught of scoring that pleased the purists.
Kildare and Meath led the way with their proficiency in front of the posts. Not far behind in the queue were Mayo, Cork, Galway, Donegal and Tipperary.
Can week two continue in the same vein?
So often in the past, the work rate of Kildare teams would be not be reflected on the scoreboard. No such problems last week against Mayo as they chalked up 2-19 in what was a compelling Division 1 tussle. Cork are next up this afternoon.
The Rebels took their time to get going against Westmeath. When they did they were impressive. I know it’s early in the year but Cork need to find that purple patch more often in games!
The view that they underachieved under Conor Counihan has some credence. Brian Cuthbert has promised a more direct approach. He has a talented squad to work it, with Aidan Walsh, a pivotal presence in the engine room.
While Cork captain Michael Shields has been ruled out for weeks with a knee strain, Kildare received a boost during the week with the news that Johnny Doyle will commit to the county cause for another year.
Now in his 36th year, Doyle has still much to offer, whether as a wing-forward or at midfield.
Last season Kildare edged out Cork by four points in the corresponding fixture on Leeside.
The winds of change have blown steadily in the interim, but there is enough to suggest that the Lilywhites can land the spoils.
Mayo are well used to heartache, though the impact isn't as acute in February. They can take many positives from their narrow loss to Kildare. Tyrone are the opposition on matchday two in Omagh.
The Red Hand should be cross with themselves for letting Derry grab a late leveller in Celtic Park last Saturday and the opportunity to make amends could make it a testing afternoon for James Horan's side.
A consecutive loss for Mayo would have them under pressure to maintain their long-held top flight status.
Meath’s tally of 1-14 in the second half against Galway last weekend was mightily impressive. Even better was the fact that their total of 18 points came from play.
The Royals had a good 2013 and they should be targeting a return to the top flight. Next up for them is Monaghan in Clones, a side, who on paper, should also be capable of making that step up.
Malachy O’Rourke’s outfit let slip a decent lead against Down in a match where inside forward Jack McCarron really impressed. Could he be one of the stars of this spring campaign?
Monaghan are seeking a hat-trick of league wins over Meath and they have the personnel to dent their opponents' scoring threat.
Donegal aren't short a few stars of their own and signalled their intent to emerge from Division 2 with a comprehensive win over Laois on day one.
They travel to Salthill to take on Galway. Any breeze in off the Atlantic can make playing conditions difficult at the venue. That said Jim McGuinness' side should have enough to edge this one.
Westmeath’s first home back in Division 1 sees them face Dublin. After a decent first half against Cork, Paul Bealin’s side did fade away badly thereafter.
Also the plan of withdrawing number 11 John Egan so deep didn’t have the desired effect. Expect them to be somewhat more adventurous from the off against the Dubs – but the points on offer look destined for the capital.
Kerry, while still coming to terms with the effects of Paul Galvin’s decision to call it a day, must now plan without the services of Bryan Sheehan.
The St Mary’s player picked up a knock in a challenge match last month and may not see action until mid-March.
Derry are the visitors to Killarney on (note the change of venue from Tralee) and the doggedness they showed in forcing a draw against Tyrone could ask a few questions of the Kingdom.
Looking to Division 3, promotion favourites Cavan should take the points against Offaly in Tullamore, while little is expected to separate Roscommon and Wexford in Kiltoom.
In Division 4, London should get back on track in seeing past Carlow in Ruislip, while Wicklow, who eased past the Exiles last weekend, should find things a bit tougher against Antrim in Creggan.
FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY
Allianz FL Division 2
Armagh v Down, Athletic Grounds, 8pm
SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY
Allianz FL Division 3
Fermanagh v Sligo, Brewster Park, 7pm
SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY
Allianz FL Division 1
Cork v Kildare, Páirc Uí Rinn, 2pm
Kerry v Derry, Killarney, 1.30pm
Tyrone v Mayo, Healy Park, 2pm
Westmeath v Dublin, Cusack Park, 2pm
Allianz FL Division 2
Galway v Donegal, Pearse Stadium, 2pm
Louth v Laois, Gaelic Grounds, 2pm
Monaghan v Meath, Clones, 2pm
Allianz FL Division 3
Limerick v Longford, Gaelic Grounds, 2pm
Offaly v Cavan, O'Connor Park, 2pm
Roscommon v Wexford, Kiltoom, 2pm
Allianz FL Division 4
Antrim v Wicklow, Ahoghill, 2pm
Clare v Leitrim, Milltown Malbay, 2pm
London P-P Carlow, Ruislip, 1pm
Tipperary v Waterford, Clonmel, 2pm