Wednesday 21 March 2018

Laois-Armagh qualifier to clash with Belgium match

Laois supporters on John St. prior to the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final. Photo: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile
Laois supporters on John St. prior to the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final. Photo: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The first qualifier game of the 2016 All-Ireland Football Championship will throw in just as Ireland's second European Championship soccer match is coming to a conclusion.

Laois and Armagh were the first teams drawn for the first round of 'A' qualifiers yesterday.

Their match has been fixed for O'Moore Park in Portlaoise on Saturday week at 3.30. The match will be televised live by RTE, who are understood to have requested that time.

Ireland's match against Belgium will kick off at 2pm and will finish about an hour and 50 minutes later.

In the recent past, the GAA have tended not to switch fixtures that came up against some of Ireland's bigger Six Nations rugby matches, but attendances have suffered at Championship matches that have clashed with big soccer games in the past, most notably 1988.

The draw is one of the toughest Armagh could have got but the fact that they avoided Derry in Celtic Park is one they will privately welcome.

Armagh and Laois met in the 2003 All-Ireland quarter-final when the current Orchard County manager Kieran McGeeney was captain.


Derry will host the losers of Louth and Meath, who meet on Sunday and will have only six days to recover after the qualifier was set for 5.0 on Saturday week.

Carlow and Wicklow will meet in Netwatch Cullen Park later that evening at 7.0.

The only 'A' first-round qualifier fixed for Sunday week sees Leitrim host Waterford in Carrick-on-Shannon.

The 'B' qualifier draw has also been made but CCCC have yet to release times and venues for those games, which will take place over the weekend of June 25/26.

Down have a chance to recover from their humbling loss to Monaghan with a home fixture after being drawn against Longford, while Antrim will host Limerick.

The losers of Offaly and Westmeath will meet London at home, while a trip to Wexford is on the cards for the losers of Donegal or Fermanagh.

Qualifier draw

Round 1A

Saturday, June 18

Laois v Armagh, O'Moore Park, 3.30

Derry v Loser of Louth/Meath, Owenbeg, 5.0

Carlow v Wicklow, Netwatch Dr Cullen Park, 7.0

Sunday, June 19

Leitrim v Waterford, Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, 2.0

Round 1B

(Games take place weekend of June 25/26)

Down v Longford

Antrim v Limerick

Losers of Offaly/Westmeath v London

Wexford v losers of Donegal/Fermanagh

Irish Independent

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