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Wicklow draw Armagh

HARRY MURPHY must feel the gods are conspiring against him after his devastated Wicklow charges were given the one 'back door' draw he didn't want - a daunting dose of northern exposure.

The Leinster minnows must now travel to Armagh for round one of the SFC qualifiers, on the weekend after next.

One can only imagine Murphy's reaction as he listened into the live draw on RTE's Morning Ireland today, given his comments in the wake of Saturday's cruel five-point Leinster exit to Meath.

"It depends on who we get. We could be up the North somewhere and it wouldn't be a great place to be going," he admitted.

Prophetic words from the Wicklow manager, who reckoned Meath were "there for the taking" in Aughrim, although he added more defiantly: "The lads will be alright. We'll be back at training on Tuesday night and looking forward to it. We have no time to whinge about it."

Apart from this literal example of Murphy's Law, there are several intriguing pairings in the round one draw - but no standout collisions.

A Sligo team reeling from their Ruislip disaster face a tough north-west derby away to Derry; the only positive for Offaly is that they've home advantage against back door heavyweights Tyrone.

Westmeath will hope to atone for their Dublin debacle with a winnable home tie against Fermanagh, whose Ulster ambitions were ended by Cavan yesterday.

SFC QUALIFIERS RD 1 (home team first)

Offaly v Tyrone, Galway v Tipperary, Derry v Sligo, Westmeath v Fermanagh, Carlow v Laois, Armagh v Wicklow, Louth v Antrim, Longford v Limerick.

* All games to be played weekend of June 29-30. Dates, times and venues to be confirmed.


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