July 12 celebrations force GAA to switch qualifier games in Ulster
The Orange Order's traditional July 12 celebrations and marches have caused two of the Round 3A football qualifiers this weekend to be moved to Sunday.
Kildare's trip to play Down, and the all-Ulster clash between Tyrone and Armagh, have been the subject of discussions between the GAA and the PSNI and it has been agreed to fix them for Sunday because the resources of the local security force will be so stretched on Saturday, which is July 12.
"Any of our fixtures can only take place with the good will of the relevant police force, whether that is the Gardai or the PSNI," said GAA spokesman Fergal Magill.
"The PSNI felt that, with so many events taking place locally next Saturday, it would be better to have the two matches on Sunday."
A third game in section 2A – between Carlow and Clare's footballers – has also gone to Sunday at the request of the Banner because their hurlers are playing Wexford in their replay on Saturday.
That has also had a knock-on effect on Leinster's ladies football finals, which have been moved from Carlow to O'Moore Park on Sunday.
Tipperary fans are also headed to Portlaoise on Saturday for what is their second championship double-header in a week.
The decision to give Laois footballers home advantage against them raised some questions, but Magill has clarified that the correct procedure was followed.
'First team out' in the first three rounds of the football qualifiers gets home advantage.
Laois were originally drawn out second to play Sligo but, because Limerick and Tipperary were then remaining and couldn't meet, one of those had to be drawn against the Connacht side.
Limerick were drawn to make the trip to Markievicz Park and Laois were then given home advantage for their game with Tipp.
Croke Park have clarified that the format for the draw stipulates that when a fixture cannot happen, the team that is moved automatically gets home advantage in the next pairing.
With the second round of the hurling qualifiers getting neutral venues that has paved the way for a double-header in Portlaoise, where Tipp's hurlers will face Offaly in a game that will be live on Sky Sports.
Questions have also been raised about how one-sided the football qualifiers have been, with the 'B' side of the draw so much more difficult than the 'A' section.
But Croke Park has stressed that the sections were based on giving all teams a number and designating match winners into the 'A' and 'B' sections, last October, before the provincial draws were made on TV.
Saturday, July 12
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers
Round 2B: Cavan v Roscommon, Cavan, 6.00pm.
Round 3A: Sligo v Limerick, Markievicz Park, 4.00pm; Laois v Tipperary, Portlaoise, 4.45pm.
All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers
Round 1 Replay: Wexford v Clare, Wexford Park, 5.00pm. *Live on RTE. The winner will play Waterford on Saturday July 19 in Thurles or Nowlan Park.
Round 2: Tipperary v Offaly, Portlaoise, 7.00pm. *Live Sky Sports.
Sunday, July 13
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers
Round 2B: Down v Kildare, Newry, 2.00pm; Carlow v Clare, Carlow, 2.00pm; Tyrone v Armagh, Omagh, 3.00pm.