Irish Derby crowd likely to be hit over clash with Lilies' qualifier against Tyrone
The Irish Derby was the big loser from yesterday's Round 3 All-Ireland SFC Qualifier draw as Kildare's mouth-watering tie against Tyrone (5.0) on Saturday in Newbridge clashes with the nearby Curragh showpiece (5.20).
It is the second successive year that Irish racing's showpiece has clashed with a big qualifier tie after the 'Newbridge or Nowhere' meeting between Kildare and Mayo in St Conleth's Park was the same evening as the Derby 12 months ago.
With the Curragh officially unveiling their recent refurbishment last month, numbers are likely to be down at the Kildare track due to the timing conflicts, although their racing manager Evan Arkwright doesn't believe they will be hit hard.
"I could try to gloss over it, I could, but I can't. It's not ideal at all but that's the way it is and there's very little we can do about it. Kildare GAA tried to get the game put back to 7.0 but to no avail," Arkwright said yesterday.
"It's our stand-out race day and people that planned to come will still come. We will have the game on big screens for anyone that wants to watch it.
"One of the reasons we originally moved the Derby was that we kept coming up against GAA and sometimes curveballs get thrown at you. As with anything, everything is up for review for next year but we are committed to our new slot."
Those travelling to either event won't have it easy with the major M7 roadworks - which started in January last year - causing chaos for drivers having rumbled on much longer than expected.
The meeting of Cian O'Neill's Lilies and last year's All-Ireland finalists is one of the juicier qualifier fixtures with their seasons on the line, while Kieran McGeeney's Armagh make the trip to Castlebar on Saturday to face James Horan's Mayo.
A place in the last 12 - leaving them one victory away from the 'Super 8s' - awaits for the winners while a big opportunity knocks for the remaining quartet.
Westmeath host Clare in Mullingar, while the Leinster duel between Laois and Offaly in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise completes the intriguing draw.
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 3 (Saturday, June 28)
Kildare v Tyrone Newbridge, 5.0 - Sky Sports
Westmeath v Clare Mullingar, 6.0
Mayo v Armagh Castlebar, 7.0 - Sky Sports
Laois v Offaly Portlaoise, 7.0