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Rematches on cards in qualifier draw

THANKS to a rule change from last season, teams that have already met in their provincial football championships will have to play again if they are drawn to meet in the upcoming All-Ireland Qualifiers.

This means that if Donegal lose to Tyrone this weekend, and were drawn to play Armagh again, there would be a mouthwatering rematch of their earlier meeting.

Before this, teams that had met previously could not be drawn against one another again in the Qualifiers, but this rule change will make the Qualifier draws even more nailbiting this summer.

The first Qualifer draw will be televised from Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday week, after the Galway/Leitrim Connacht semi-final.

Another key difference in this year's Qualifiers is that, with teams given automatic Tommy Murphy Cup designation, no team has special 'home' status anymore, so whoever is drawn out of the hat first gets home advantage.

The draw involves all football teams who do not reach a provincial decider and the GAA could yet need to add in one preliminary game, if the Offaly footballers make the Leinster football final.

As a Division Four team they should go to the Tommy Murphy Cup when beaten, but reaching the Leinster final would earn them a spot in the later stages of the Qualifiers if then defeated, and thus necessitate an extra game to even out the numbers in the back-door series.

The Qualifiers commence on July 7, as does the Tommy Murphy Cup, but it is not yet clear if the draw for the latter will be made at the same time.


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