Saturday 24 March 2018

Tyrone the only big guns in qualifiers draw

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

TYRONE will be the only Division 1 team in the draw for the first round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers, which will be made live on RTE Radio's 'Morning Ireland' on Monday morning.

The other seven counties in Division 1 this year won their first round games. However, all seven met opposition from lower divisions, unlike Tyrone who drew the short straw with an 'away' assignment against All-Ireland champions Donegal in Ballybofey.

That means 14 of the 16 counties who are heading for the opening qualifier round on June 29 are now known, with the remaining two to be decided next weekend in the all-Division 3 clashes, involving Wicklow v Meath and Cavan v Fermanagh.

Seven of the eight counties who spent last spring in Division 2 will be in the qualifier draw, with Wexford the exception.

Wexford were relegated to Division 3, but recovered impressively to put in an excellent performance when beating Louth in the Leinster quarter-final last Sunday. They also beat Louth in the league.

Galway, Westmeath and Derry lost to Division 1 opposition in the championship; Laois and Louth lost to fellow Division 2 sides, while Armagh and Longford were beaten by Division 3 teams.

Sligo were the only Division 3 team to lose to a lower-ranked side when they fell to London in the Connacht first round.

Four Division 4 teams, Clare, Waterford, London and Leitrim have all avoided the first round qualifiers by reaching their provincial semi-finals. Clare and Waterford each received a bye to the Munster semi-finals.

The counties in Round 1 are as follows:

Div 1: Tyrone.

Div 2: Galway, Laois, Derry, Westmeath, Louth, Armagh, Longford.

Div 3: Sligo, Antrim, Wicklow or Meath; Cavan or Fermanagh.

Div 4: Carlow, Offaly, Limerick, Tipperary.

Note: Derry and Westmeath won promotion to Division 1; Longford were relegated to Division 3; Antrim and Wicklow dropped to Division 4; Meath were promoted to Division 2; Offaly and Limerick were promoted to Division 3.

Irish Independent

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