Kildare star Padraig O'Neill hoping Newbridge can give Lilies edge
IF KILDARE do make the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals for the sixth year in a row, they will certainly have done it the hard way after getting the short straw again in the third-round draw in the qualifiers.
Having to face Louth first time out was the toughest challenge of the second round, considering the Wee County are managed by one of Kildare's former back-room team, Aidan O'Rourke.
The Lilies were hit with another nightmare pairing yesterday when they got Tyrone in the third round.
With the winner lined up to play Meath, both teams face a testing route back to Croke Park.
Tyrone have already beaten Kildare twice this year, the first time by six points in a league tie at St Conleth's Park in March and by four points in the Division 1 semi-finals.
Kildare's consolation yesterday was securing home advantage, and the green light for Newbridge, for a second week in a row.
Midfielder Padraig O'Neill said they had been desperately hoping for a home draw: "I wouldn't imagine too many teams would fancy coming to Newbridge. The crowd really helped at the end last Saturday night."
And Tyrone boss Mickey Harte, who travelled to Newbridge to watch the Louth game, admitted that he is not relishing the return trip next Saturday.
"There's no easy draw at this stage, but away to Kildare is definitely at the upper end of the difficulty scale," he said.
The third round also threw up tough trips for Laois, who travel to Wexford, and Cavan, who face Derry.
Galway have bounced back from their annihilation by Mayo with two wins but they only beat Tipperary by four points and Waterford by a point and now they face Armagh, albeit in Salthill. The Orchard County racked up a whopping 8-13 against Leitrim last weekend.
The hurling quarter-finals have been confirmed for Thurles on Sunday week, opening with Cork v Kilkenny, followed by Galway v Clare.
The dates and venues for the minor hurling semi-finals that weekend have not been confirmed, pending the replay of the Munster minor final (Limerick v Waterford next Tuesday, July 23), but the line-up will be Galway v Laois and Antrim v the Munster loser.
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 3, Saturday, July 20
Kildare v Tyrone, Newbridge, 7.0
Wexford v Laois, Wexford Park, 7.0
Galway v Armagh, Pearse Stadium Salthill, 5.0
Derry v Cavan, Celtic Park, 5.0
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 4, Saturday July 27
Cork v Galway/Armagh, Croke Park, 5.0
Meath v Kildare/Tyrone, Croke Park, 5.0
Monaghan or Donegal v Wexford/Laois, venue TBC
London or Mayo v Derry/Cavan, venue TBC
All-Ireland SHC Quarter-finals, Sunday, July 28
Cork v Kilkenny, Semple Stadium, 2.0
Galway v Clare, Semple Stadium, 4.0