Thursday 29 September 2016

Relegated five on same side of football qualifier draw

Published 07/05/2015 | 02:30

Effectively, either Donegal or Tyrone could have played three games and still find themselves only as far as Round 2 of the qualifiers
Effectively, either Donegal or Tyrone could have played three games and still find themselves only as far as Round 2 of the qualifiers

Five of the six counties that were relegated in the Allianz football League last month will be on the same side of the draw in the All-Ireland qualifiers if they fail to reach their respective provincial semi-finals.

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And, in an interesting contrast, four of the six promoted counties will be on the other section.

Tyrone, Derry (Division 1), Westmeath (Div 2), Louth, Wexford (Div 3), all of which were relegated, will be in Section B of the qualifiers, while promoted quartet Roscommon (Div 2), Fermanagh (Div 3), Longford and Offaly (Div 4) will be in Section A.

Allocating counties to A and B was introduced last year to reduce the waiting time between games and to create a more even spread of activity.

The groups for this year's first round are as follows: (four games in each section).

A: Two from Carlow, Laois Kildare; two from Longford, Offaly, Dublin; Cavan or Monaghan; Antrim or Fermanagh; Roscommon or London; Tipperary or Waterford.

B: Two from Donegal, Tyrone, Armagh; two from Louth, Westmeath, Wexford; Derry or Down; Meath or Wicklow; Galway or Leitrim; Clare or Limerick.

Cork, Kerry, Mayo and Sligo find themselves in the lucky position of being guaranteed to avoid the first-round draw, having been drawn directly into semi-finals in Munster and Connacht respectively.

That's in sharp contrast to Donegal and Tyrone, who meet in the preliminary round of the Ulster SFC next Sunday week. The winners play Armagh in the quarter-final, where defeat would leave them facing a first-round qualifier.

Effectively, either Donegal or Tyrone could have played three games and still find themselves only as far as Round 2 of the qualifiers. In the case of Cork and Kerry, they can reach the Munster final by beating Division 3 or 4 opposition.

The first-round qualifiers are on June 20 (A) and June 27 (B).

Irish Independent

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