Monday 26 February 2018

What qualifiers hold in store

They are all coming in through the 'back door' off defeats to face teams who won first-round qualifier ties, so how do the eight losing provincial semi-finalists shape up for Saturday's Round 2 games?

Kildare

Opponents: Laois (Portlaoise).

2011 C'ship: Kildare 0-12 Wicklow 0-5; Kildare 0-16 Meath 0-10; Dublin 1-12 Kildare 1-11.

Talking point: They've reached one All-Ireland semi-final and two quarter-finals via the qualifiers in the last three seasons so they're suited to long-haul travelling.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 14/1; Now 16/1.

The Big Question: How lasting is the headache after the Dublin disappointment?

Carlow

Opponents: Antrim (Casement Park)

2011 C'ship: Carlow 0-14 Louth 0-13; Wexford 4-12 Carlow 0-10.

Talking point: They needed a home tie to maximise their chances but the draw went against them. However, if they re-capture the form which beat Louth, they have a chance.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 1,000/1; Now 750/1.

The Big Question: Can they upset the odds and win a first qualifier tie for six years?

Galway

Opponents: Meath (Navan).

2011 C'ship: Mayo 1-12 Galway 1-6.

Talking point: A dismal loss to Mayo, where they scored just 1-6, leaves them seeking their first qualifier win since beating Louth in 2004.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 33/1; Now 80/1.

The Big Question: After only one win from their last 11 championship and league games, can they lift themselves?

Leitrim

Opponents: Down (Newry).

2011 C'ship: Leitrim 1-10 Sligo 0-10; Roscommon 2-12 Leitrim 0-6.

Talking point: Still seeking their first win in the qualifiers, they badly needed a home draw instead of a visit to the home base of last year's All-Ireland runners-up.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 1,000/1; Now 2,000/1.

The Big Question: How long more will they go without winning a qualifier game?

Armagh

Opponents: Wicklow (Morgan Athletic Grounds).

2011 C'ship: Armagh 1-15 Down 1-10; Derry 3-14 Armagh 1-11.

Talking point: They conceded 3-14 against Derry, the highest by any Division 1 or 2 side in the championship so far. That's a worry for them but it may be later in the campaign before that form resurfaces.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 40/1; Now 50/1.

The Big Question: Flattered against Down, flopped against Derry, so which is the real Armagh?

Tyrone

Opponents: Longford (Pearse Park).

2011 C'ship: Tyrone 1-13 Monaghan 1-11; Donegal 2-6 Tyrone 0-9.

Talking point: Five wins from their last 10 championship and league games is a long way from the form Tyrone used to enjoy.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 13/2; Now 16/1.

The Big Question: Are Tyrone in decline and in need of a radical overhaul or can they re-launch their summer spectacularly as they did in 2008?

Limerick

Opponents: Offaly (Gaelic Grounds).

2011 C'ship: Kerry 1-26 Limerick 3-9.

Talking point: John Galvin's absence through injury eroded confidence levels, which were never going to be helped by facing Kerry first time out.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 66/1; Now 250/1.

The Big Question: Can they even come close to the heights attained against Kerry and Cork last year?

Waterford

Opponents: London (Ruislip).

2011 C'ship: Cork 5-17 Waterford 2-8.

Talking point: Times have changed as they find themselves going in as outsiders against London, although it's not necessarily an accurate reflection of the teams' respective merits.

All-Ireland odds: Early May 500/1; Now: 750/1.

The Big Question: Can they win a qualifier tie for the first time?

MARTIN BREHENY

Irish Independent

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