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Home comfort becoming clear

The Qualifiers are beginning to fire now and a few surprise results are gaining the attention of the weekend accumulator men if not the fans. The past fortnight has seen a fair few betting slips consigned to the rubbish bins after Longford beat Derry and Sligo took out Wicklow.

By now I expect the Qualifier draw and the advantages to be gained if you are on the 'A' side are well known to you. Last week we had eight teams who exited early; this week it has been reduced to Laois v Tipperary and Sligo v Limerick.

The winners here will face Cork and the losing Connacht finalist so it really is the perfect draw for the provincial runners-up.

, who will enjoy a three week break (CI am continually mentioning the importance of the home draw and midway through the 2014 championship is as good a time as any to show you why it confers serious advantage. The home venue in league football (all four divisions of the NFL) was examined some years ago in a survey and it absolutely established the greater win ratio for the hosting team.

We have played 12 Qualifier games already this year and on nine occasions the home team has won - a 75% rate of success. Of the six games this weekend (Rounds 2B and 3A) I further a expect four home wins.

I have no doubt a study of the championship will reveal the same trend and if you have the time to give to these matters of State study the trend over a period of say 5 - 10 years to truly establish how important coming out of the hat first really is.