So the Allianz League is out of the way, well, nearly - there’s the Division 3 final next weekend still to be played, but April is almost a county football-free month.

It’s more or less the half-way point in the season and time to take stock of what we saw during the springtime campaign.

There is certainly more hope amongst fans that there’s going to be a bit of serious competition in the race for Sam Maguire in 2019 and that Dublin’s stroll towards their coronation last year won’t be repeated.

Here, we take rank the best teams in the country and predict the likely make-up of the Super 8s, when the summer will reach its pointy end.

The class apart
1. Dublin

Jim Gavin has plenty to ponder

There are a few doubts around this Dublin team for the first time, arguably, since they lost to Donegal in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final. They haven’t been beaten in a Championship game since then and are going for five in a row.

But the evidence of the League suggests it won’t be plane sailing. For the first time under Jim Gavin’s watch the Dubs failed to make the Division 1 final, a run that stretched back to 2013. They lost three times in the group stage - not something that ever happened under him before either.

They remain strong and justifiable favourites to come out on top in September - they have brilliant footballers, they have a brilliant manager, a cast-iron game-plan and the experience of having done it all before so often.

They are closer to the end than the beginning though and, as happens all great teams, they will be caught eventually.

The chasing pack
2. Kerry

Kerry beat the Dubs in Tralee this year

The Kingdom hold on to the second placed ranking despite their loss in the Division 1 final to Mayo at Croke Park.

A team that can field Paul Geaney, Seán O’Shea, David Clifford and James O’Donoghue on the same day up front has a chance of winning any game. Peter Keane’s talented bunch of youngsters will win an All-Ireland before too long.

According to Colm Cooper, Kerry lack a bit of grunt around the middle of the field, while Aidan O’Rourke says their defensive system, or complete lack thereof, will hold them back.

If they can learn on the hoof as they go through the summer, they will give themselves a chance. The poverty of the Munster championship virtually guarantees that they’ll have a place in the Super 8s.

3. Mayo

League champions 2019

Last year the Green Above the Red failed to make the last eight for the first time since James Horan took over in 2011. That early exit did for Stephen Rochford and now Horan is back behind the wheel.

The newly minted Allianz Football League Division 1 champions, something Mayo haven’t been since 2001, have made definite strides in the right direction and some of the new players who made their debuts in recent weeks and months look like future fixtures in the team.

The hunger remains undimmed amongst lifers like Andy Moran and Keith Higgins while the willingness to get involved in the battle hasn’t receded either. They won’t be far away when the silverware is handed out and as the only team to seriously trouble the Dubs in Championship in recent years they deserve respect.

To win just once though, they’ll have to overcome the old failings that have haunted them in the past, such as game-management, on and off the field, on the biggest of days - think the two own goals in 2016, Donal Vaughan’s red card in 2017…

4. Tyrone

Cathal McShane has been on form for Tyrone this season

Having lost last year’s All-Ireland final, a game that was long over before the final whistle, manager Mickey Harte went back to the drawing board.

Well, that isn't entirely true. The same defensive game-plan was on the drawing board as he watched his team pick up one point from their first three games in the top flight to start a flirt with relegation.

What happened next was The Red Hand won their remaining four games, including a win over the Dubs under the lights of Croke Park, only narrowly missing out on a place in the League final.

They did this with a new-found kicking game that played to the strengths of their two-man inside line of Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly. They have clever, competent footballers all over the field and look to be a better team than they were in 2018.

The best of the rest
5. Monaghan

Conor McManus still leading the line for Monaghan

Malachy O’Rourke’s team only just managed to avoid relegation, which wasn't in the script after their breathtaking opening-day win over Dublin.

They remain this high in the rankings due to their previous record, last year breaking new ground under O’Rourke to reach an All-Ireland semi-final - a game they weren’t too far off winning

6. Galway

Galway keep beating Mayo

A team that has flattered to deceive over the past few years under Kevin Walsh. They’ve won Connacht titles and have a stranglehold over Mayo, but they’ve lost enough key games with flat performances - Roscommon 2017, Kerry 2017, Monaghan 2018 - to raise doubts.

Walsh has a brilliant set of forwards and a solid defensive game-plan. How he manages to link the two up is what will define another season. 

7. Donegal

Donegal won the Division 2 title

Despite relegation last year, the first 18 months of Declan Bonner’s second spell in charge of Donegal have been largely positive and promotion straight back up to the top flight shows a continuing upward curve.

Key players like Michael Murphy, Patrick McBrearty, once he's fit again, and Odhrán Mac Niallais give them a chance in most games they’ll play.

8. Roscommon

Roscommon struggled in the League this year

The Rossies are one of those teams that have been too good for Division 2 in recent seasons, but not quite good enough for the top flight either.

If they can put the disappointment of relegation behind them they can still make the Super 8s, a stage they struggled on last summer.

Bubbling under

The Royals are on the up

There are a few other teams that can make the last eight this season, including Cavan, who were in Division 1 two of the last three seasons, but suffered another relegation recently, a resurgent Meath side that made the Division 2 final, Kildare, who were in the Super 8s last year, and Fermanagh, who are on an upward curve under the management of Rory Gallagher.