Wednesday 16 January 2019

Ulster tweaks welcome but there's a wider issue

Breheny Beat

Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan. Photo: Sportsfile
Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Ulster's decision to exempt counties drawn in the preliminary game in the football championship from playing in the same round for two years is good news for Cavan and Donegal.

It means that the burden of having to win four - rather than three - games to take the title will be shared more equally among the nine counties.

The bad luck of the draw has been especially tough on Cavan and Donegal since the turn of the Millennium. Cavan have had seven preliminary round games while Donegal had six.

They meet again this year in Ballybofey on May 13.

Their busy starts over the past 18 years contrast with Monaghan, who have had only one preliminary round game, Derry (2), Antrim and Tyrone (3 each). Fermanagh, Armagh and Down had four each.

The adjustment to the draw is logical but, as Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan pointed out, it makes little difference to the overall SFC.

His team need to beat Donegal, Derry, Down or Antrim to reach this year's Ulster final, while Roscommon, who were promoted to Division 1 with Cavan, can reach the Connacht final by beating Leitrim or New York.

As McGleenan says: "How fair is that?"

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport