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Provincial system unfairly lopsided

TWO All-Ireland finalists, two provinces, one big contrast.

Football champions Cork beat Clare (Division 4) at home in the Munster quarter-final and can clinch a place in the final (and, by extension, a guaranteed place in the last 12 in the All-Ireland race) by beating Waterford, who were relegated to Division 4 in April, at Pairc Ui Chaoimh this Sunday.

Meanwhile, All-Ireland runners-up Down were drawn away to Armagh in the Ulster quarter-final, with Derry awaiting the winners.

The qualifiers are in place to offer a second chance to teams who lose in the provincial championships, but it's irritating for a county like Down to find themselves headed for the back door already after losing to a Division 1 team, whereas the All-Ireland champions can reach their provincial final by beating Clare and Waterford.

Fair and equitable it isn't.

Irish Independent