Saturday 20 January 2018

Open qualifier draw fairest option

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The draw for the second round of the football qualifiers had not been long made on Monday when the following email dropped in from a man whom this column would normally agree with on various issues.

"Will you please go to town on a system that allowed teams that have already met (Down and Derry, Cavan and Fermanagh) to be drawn against each other at such an early stage?

"It is beyond comprehension that such pairings were allowed and that corrective action was not taken to rule out such clashes. Give it waxie."

Sorry, no can do! A draw is a draw and the idea of restricting it so that provincial repeats are avoided in the qualifiers, as happened for some years, distorts the basic principle of fair competition, which is already hampered by provincial inequities.

Besides, what's wrong with Down v Derry and Cavan v Fermanagh rematches? Both will attract big crowds as a result of their recent clashes.

Irish Independent

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