Armagh and Derry showdown
Published 25/06/2007 | 00:00
THE clash of Armagh and Derry will be the highlight of the first round of the BOI football championship qualifiers.
It's a draw that neither wanted but at least Armagh have the consolation of having home advantage. That compounded a bad day for Derry, who had earlier lost their Ulster semi-final to Monaghan, who booked their place in the final for the first time since 1988.
Mayo and Donegal, the two other big guns in the draw, avoided each other, with Mayo faring better as they will have a home tie with Cavan whereas Donegal must travel to Carrick-on-Shannon to take on Leitrim, who presented Galway with a gritty challenge in yesterday's Connacht semi-final.
With no restriction on the draw this year, Westmeath and Longford were drawn to play each other in a repeat of their Leinster first round tie, which Longford won after staging a great recovery. However, that game was in Pearse Park, while the qualifier re-match will be in Mullingar and that should be to the advantage to Tomás Ó Flaharta's side.
Down will have home advantage for what should be an interesting clash with Meath, while Limerick, Fermanagh and Roscommon will also be pleased to have been handed home venues.
The eight winners from the first round will play off to produce four challengers for the beaten provincial finalists.
Meanwhile, Tipperary hurlers face a hectic schedule after losing out in the third instalment of an epic Munster semi-final saga with Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.
It took extra-time in the second replay to separate the teams in what has been one of the most fascinating ties in All-Ireland history, with Limerick edging home by three points to set up their first Munster final clash with Waterford since 1934.
Tipperary begin their qualifier trail against Offaly next Saturday and that will be followed by clashes with Cork and Dublin. It all means that they will have had championship games on six successive weekends.