Thursday 29 September 2016

Laois and Offaly lose out in qualifier anomaly

Published 24/06/2015 | 02:30

Offaly manager Brian Whelahan
Offaly manager Brian Whelahan

If you weren't confused by the complex procedures which applied to the All-Ireland qualifier draws on Monday morning, you might certainly be baffled as to why there was such a fundamental structural difference between hurling and football.

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The first hurling pairing drawn was Laois v Offaly, a break with which both would have been pleased.

Laois, who beat Offaly by eight points in the Leinster quarter-final, would have been delighted to host their neighbours back in O'Moore Park, especially after taking such a trimming last Saturday.

Offaly, too, would see it as an opportunity to begin the rehabilitation process. Obviously the gods also deemed it an appropriate pairing, but, alas, it wasn't to be.

The hurling regulations don't allow provincial re-matches and the new draw paired Laois at home to Dublin and Offaly away to Clare, an altogether more difficult prospect for 'Cheddar' Plunkett, Brian Whelahan and their squads.

Next up was the football qualifier draw, where one of the Round 2 pairings matched Fermanagh and Antrim, who had already met in the Ulster Championship.

However, since there's no restriction on provincial re-runs in football, they will meet again in the qualifiers in Enniskillen.

So why the difference? Allowing provincial re-matches should be accepted or not.

Applying a different approach for hurling and football makes no sense.

Irish Independent

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